Electroshock

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The declaration of Mr Trump to withdraw from the Paris Accord, is a sort of  « Pearl Harbor »: an electroshock which is galvanizing opinion in the fight not only for civilization as in 1941, but for humanity.

Electroshock

The news that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Accord was received like an electro-shock by the whole worldi. Certainly we knew that Trump has maintained that the battle against climate change is a Chinese Hoax; but you have to have quite a nerve to shout such  »alternative facts » from the roof tops. Despite the voluntary blindness of the American administration, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the vast majority of scientists affirm that Climate Change is the biggest challenge for humanity at the inception of the 21st century.

In 1938-39, mobilization against the Axis forces was required in the face of Hitler’s menace. At that time, the isolationism of many Americans kept the USA out of the conflict, while Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and other countries of Europe were subject to the Nazi blitzkrieg. At that time, president Roosevelt wanted to join the Allies; but American public opinion was fervently opposed. Eight decades later, faced with this new crisis for humanity, public opinion is up to the situation, but the Trump administration is retreating from the battle for spurious reasons.

Yet the Paris Accord is far from perfect. Numerous experts like Dr. James Hansen say that the Accord, with its “voluntary” (non-binding) carbon emissions reduction, will never limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Hansen goes as far as saying: “this is half-assed and it’s half-baked”ii. In an article in Le Devoir on the 6th of June, François Delorme writes: “However, listening to Trump’s bellicose speech announcing the withdrawal from the Paris Accord, observers like me henceforth hang on to that empty shell like the last buoy in a vast flood.”iii

As before the war, the Trump administration is refusing to let the U.S.A. engage in this essential battle. However, a large part of the population of the U.S., businesses, governors such as Jerry Brown of California and the mayors of 76 important American cities have chosen to enforce the clauses of the Paris Accord, despite the repudiation of Mr.Trump.iv

The reaction of other world leaders was scathing. Among others, M. Macron, the new president of France, ironically paraphrased Trump’s slogan: “Make the planet great again!v. And China is swiftly positioning itself to fill the vacuum left by the absence of American leadership in green energies: “Ironically, by deciding to pull out of the Paris Accord, President Trump allows China to restore its climate reputation, while appearing henceforth as the responsible power which defends the organization of the world. As a diplomatic humiliation, one couldn’t do better!”vi

To counter Mr Trump’s negationist talk, the American democracy has an immune system which is actively challenging the “alternate facts”. Some children have even succeeded in bringing before the courts their right to sue the government and those businesses which they accuse of putting at risk their right to live in a healthy environment when they are adultsvii. That big business voluntarily puts the full weight of its legal apparatus against a legal challenge from kids, speaks volumes about the strategic importance of this case!

Let’s not make the mistake of underestimating Trump’s idiocy, as Naomi Klein says in an article in The Guardianviii. With the help of the super-rich, and “think tanks” to manipulate public opinion, he wants to steer the United States “Titanic” through the icebergs of climate change. In this sense, the declaration of Mr Trump to withdraw from the Paris Accord, is a sort of “Pearl Harbour”: an electroshock which is galvanizing the opinion of all “men of goodwill” to succeed in the fight not only for civilization as in 1941, but for humanity.

Gérard Montpetit

Member of “Comité des citoyens et citoyennes pour la protection de l’environnement maskoutain”

June 17, 2017

vii http://www.businessinsider.com/kids-suing-government-for-climate-change-2016-11?IR=T

The group initially sued just the government, but several fossil fuel industry groups — the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, and the American Petroleum Institute — legally intervened after suit was filed, arguing that the outcome would impact their business interests. The fossil fuel industry was permitted to voluntarily join the federal government’s side of the case, meaning the kids are now suing them, too.