The President’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement is a tragedy born of his failure to appreciate the vital importance of U.S. leadership in the world. It’s particularly regrettable coming as it does on the heels of his performance in Europe last week, during which his refusal to embrace the fundamental underpinnings of NATO rocked the alliance.
By abandoning the Paris Agreement, Trump continues on a reckless path of pretending that the dire threat posed by climate change is no more lasting than a tweet. It’s one thing to campaign on a know-nothing platform on climate change that denies scientific reality, and another altogether to govern that way. If ever there was a moment for Donald Trump to listen to the consensus of scientists and 195 parties to the Paris Agreement, this was it, and he failed.
When George W. Bush announced in 2001 that the United States would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, it led to a lost decade of U.S. action on climate change. Now, President Trump’s decision will lead to a lost century on climate change, where the U.S. will give away the store to the Europeans and the Chinese, who are eager to lead the clean energy revolution.