Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Climate change: The US walks away

The Trump regime has effectively walked away from the Paris Agreement by repealing Obama's emissions reduction policies:

Donald Trump launched an all-out assault on Barack Obama’s climate change legacy on Tuesday with a sweeping executive order that undermines America’s commitment to the Paris agreement.

Watched by coalminers at a ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, the president signed an order to trigger a review of the clean power plan, Obama’s flagship policy to curb carbon emissions, and rescind a moratorium on the sale of coalmining leases on federal lands.

But the move was swiftly condemned by environmentalists as a “dangerous” and “embarrassing” attempt to turn back the clock that would do little to revive the US coal industry while threatening cooperation with major polluters such as China and India.

The latter is important: China and India agreed to cut emissions because the US acted. Now the US has welched and the agreement has been broken. And while China has strong domestic reasons to reduce coal use (its people don't like air pollution - something US politicians may soon have to re-learn), politically its going to have consequences far beyond climate change policy. After all, if the US can't be trusted to keep its word on emissions reduction, it can't be trusted to keep it on trade, disarmament, or anything else.