The magnitude of what President Donald Trump got wrong Thursday when he announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords will take several years to truly feel as our businesses lag behind other nations’, our economy flags, and climate change’s effects intensify.
But we’re talking about the Trump administration, where disinformation — or “alternative facts” — are the compass steering the ship toward Scylla and Charybdis.
According to a piece in Vox, the most telling thing President Trump said to justify his decision to pull out of the Paris accords wasn’t about climate change, but about the speedy advance of a non-existent tax bill in the United States Congress.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted:
However, no tax bill has been introduced to the US House of Representatives, the Senate, nor has the White House released a tax plan detailed enough to allow experts to assess its economic or fiscal impact.
Last week, Trump’s Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney explained that what most experts interpreted as a $2 trillion accounting mistake in the White House budget was, in fact, deliberate.
About it, Mulvaney said:
“It is and was too early to make any assumptions about what the final tax bill looks like.”
Trump also couched several assertions in conspiracy theories and flat-out lies.
“The world went crazy when the Paris agreement was signed. They went wild. This was because it placed America at a serious economic disadvantage.”
According to IFL Science, Trump is essentially basing this monumental decision on the assumption the world is conspiring to use the Paris accord to steal America’s money, not put regulations in place to mitigate man-made climate change. The world went crazy because we — the most powerful nation on the ailing planet — signed on to the most comprehensive multi-national climate accord in history, allowing us to help lead the world away from fossil fuels.
This conforms to another claim Trump made:
“This agreement is less about the climate and more countries gaining a financial advantage to the United States.”
The irony here is that for someone who talks a good game about the “American worker” and “bringing jobs back,” in one fell swoop he handed the other Paris accord signatories a financial advantage over us. They will be the ones producing new jobs, increasing efficiency, and saving money on climate change prevention measures. America will be footing a “yuuuge” bill attempting to prop up the coal industry.
Another claim Trump made:
“China can do whatever they want. They can build coal plants, and we can’t.”
Yeah, we can. The Paris Climate Accord is a non-binding agreement. It merely sets targets and expectations. We can still build coal plants in or out of the deal. China, however, is voluntarily making the switch to renewable energy.
Then there’s what businessman Trump said about “renegotiating:”
“So we’re getting out, but we’ll start to negotiate, to see if we can make a deal that’s fair. If we can that’s great, if we can’t that’s fine.”
IFL Science likens this to someone saying:
“I’m starving. If I get food, great. If not, who cares.”
We’re out. We don’t renegotiate something we just refused to be a part of.
Most experts are unanimous in the assessment that Trump’s decision is a mistake for the American economy and diplomacy. Our withdrawal also makes other countries’ endeavors to address climate change more challenging.
Featured image from YouTube video.