I’m finding it increasingly difficult to hold down a full time job and keep up with the damage caused by President Trump. Last month I wrote about his firing of FBI director James Comey. I had hopes of writing followups but just couldn’t get to it.
Last week I read, along with the rest of us, that President Trump has decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. I’ve been writing this blog post in my head ever since, and I’m determined to post it regardless of the fact that President Trump has continued to create chaos and pain following the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London.
Perhaps when I retire I can do this full time, but for now I can’t keep up. Nevertheless I think an article on the Paris Accord still needs to be written.
For the last several decades most of us have recognized that our ongoing burning of fossil fuels harms our planet. We burn coal, natural gas, and oil to create heat. We use that heat to warm our homes and power our transportation. And to be fair, in the last 200 years these fossil fuels have allowed us to take for granted our ability to be warm (or cool, given air conditioning) and travel anywhere on our planet within a few hours.
But in the middle of the 20th Century some scientists began to notice that burning fossil fuels emitted the gas carbon dioxide, or CO2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas which means it “traps” heat that comes to us from the sun. A greenhouse gas allows heat into the atmosphere but prevents it from leaving. Greenhouses are used by botanists who want to grow plants and flowers in cold climates.
But when understood globally, greenhouse gases trap heat in a way that raises the temperature of the entire planet. We’re already seeing record warming of the Artic region that is melting polar ice and we face the reality that this will raise global sea level and flood low lying landmasses. Because climate change is a global reality it needs a global solution.
Last year countries from all over the world gathered and agreed on the Paris Accord. Simply put it meant that all countries would work to limit greenhouse gases.
Since World War II the United States has been called the Leader of the Free World. No longer.
President Trump attempts to play this as a bad deal for the United States. It isn’t. The only thing his move will do is remove us from a seat at the table and marginalize us.
Climate change is real and it’s not too late to for us to turn away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. But President Trump and others who deny clear science do not protect jobs. They just look like idiots. More later.