On the Outside Looking In: America Pulls Out of the Paris Agreement

When you try to be the smartest person in the room, quite often you come across as the dumbest. In a move characterized both by its inherent denial of climate research and pursuit of profits, Donald Trump announced at 3:00pm that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. According to CNN, the United States is abandoning a global coalition of 195 signatories - a group previously destined for success, with America at the forefront of progressive climate policy. 

Credit: The Independent (UK)

Credit: The Independent (UK)

A statement from Politifact reiterated the only other nations having rejected the Accords are Syria and Nicaragua, the latter of which deemed the Accords "not tough enough." The Trump administration believes the Agreement detrimental to both national job creation - and, ironically - global perception of the United States. Now, we are at odds from both a scientific and moral standpoint with the rest of the world. 

Many Republicans in Congress have announced their widespread support for the decision, citing lack of evidence for global warming. Furthermore, lawmakers in support criticize the Agreement for its economic impact on American citizens. While the Trump team parrots the notion that other countries should pay their fair share - just as the ludicrous concept of a flat tax once found its niche in our domestic policy discussions - it is clear America has always been an international leader. We have the means to lead the way. We have the influence. Instead, we have alienated ourselves and withdrawn into the shadows. 

U.S. influence on the world stage, via economic strength and political hegemony, has guided the development of global policy. As a result of today's decision, it is clear America wants to kick back, grab a cocktail, and pretend its actions have no consequences on the world stage. Another dangerous thing is the logical fallacy - either believed or manufactured - that domestic outcomes will improve. 

Credit: New York Times

Credit: New York Times

In an ongoing effort to vehemently overturn the policies of the Obama presidency, the Administration has suspended our active involvement in global betterment. In a policy move emulating the Bush-era rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, in perhaps the biggest irreverence towards scientific findings since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, congressmen and women on Capitol Hill have decided it prudent to deny the United States post-industrial technological advancements.

It is understandable for many conservatives in Washington to dismiss criticisms, however, while fossil-fuel lobbyists continue to line their pockets. This was never about jobs or prosperity for the average American. Successful leadership stems from forward-thinking initiatives, not paradigms once prominent during the Industrial Revolution.

Internationally, we were somewhat ignorant to the risks back then. Today, the scientific community is well-aware of the drawbacks of unmitigated industry. In short, this decision is morally reprehensible in terms of our future and to future generations. 

Speaking during the campaign trail and beyond, President Trump has repeatedly called climate change a hoax - manufactured by the Chinese. It is incredibly ironic that while the United States has consistently been the biggest contributor to worldwide carbon emissions, China has shifted it's environmental priorities. The largest industrialized nation in this world has been consistently introducing policies to reduce its overall carbon footprint.

Chinese lawmakers understand that renewable, green sources are key to a sustainable future. These sources, requiring immediate and future development of new energy infrastructure, will be major catalysts for employment. This benefit threatens to evade the United States, should we not embrace the merits of sustainability. If such an occurrence was a hoax, China would not be ramping up its sustainability initiatives. 

The United States is on a tumultuous path to losing international standing. World leaders from Europe and beyond are expressing disappointment and angst towards the decision. Business leaders nationwide, whom the deal may presumably benefit in Trump's mind, are calling the decision wrong. Due to the Administration's actions, the coming years will undoubtably constitute a "Chinese Era" in international influence.

If there is any silver lining, it is that the Agreement is presently surviving despite the announcement. Let us hope that world leaders represent our collective interests moving forward, while we putter along laboringly like a tired diesel engine to 'renegotiate a deal.'