Dumas: The repudiation of Paris holds more ill symbolically than practically | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dumas: The repudiation of Paris holds more ill symbolically than practically

Posted By on Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 11:34 AM

Ernest Dumas writes a measured assessment this week on Donald Trump's repudiation of the Paris climate agreement.

In practical terms, it doesn't mean much, he says. The move to renewable energy will continue. It's a political decision, a part of Trump's rejection of all things Obama.

Symbolically it's another, very depressing, matter. Dumas writes.

It is a retreat, real not just ceremonial, from the United States's position as the leader not only of the free world but of the planet. 
And, I'd add, it's not the only issue on which Trump seems to be leading the U.S. to the rear of the world community.

His full column

By Ernest Dumas

If you are among the great majority of Americans and even larger share of the global population who share a concern about the future in a heating world, President Trump's announcement that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement left you furious or just deeply sad.

But there are two takeaways from the Trump retreat, one that is not nearly as worrisome and better for the mind and heart but another that is less wholesome. Let's leave the second for the end—an optional read for the strong of heart.

The first is that no one could have seriously expected Trump to embrace climate safety or any other legacy of President Obama and, anyway, sabotaging the climate accord may have little environmental impact. It will take four years for the country to extricate itself from the Paris accord and by then we probably will be back in it.

Meantime, the free market so beloved by Republicans will continue to drive power producers toward cleaner and less expensive ways to both generate and use electricity. And far from eliminating jobs in places like Arkansas, renewable energy and conservation will produce jobs, growth and consumer savings. It is already happening and to stop it Trump will have to do more than denounce Obama and the 194 other nations of the world that signed the accord. Arkansas's big power producers are investing in solar, wind and gas generation and preparing to retire or retrofit the dirtiest coal-fired units in the country. Most of the states and cities and major industries are ahead of us. Appalachia and the Powder River Basin, the coal regions, will catch up.

Koch Industries, which bankrolled climate-denial propaganda and the defeats in 2012 and 2014 of Republican members of Congress who worried about global warming, will still own the whimpering party and Trump, but to little avail. Other major oil producers supported a global treaty once it was revealed that their own scientists far back in the last century had raised fears that carbon emissions were heating the world.

Since Jan. 20, Trump has been guided by a single impulse, to rebuke the black man whom he insisted for years was a fraudulent citizen and to wipe out his legacy—by taking away health insurance from the 20 million covered by Obamacare, eliminating the taxes on the rich that extended the solvency of Medicare and Medicaid, removing the controls on Wall Street financial houses that drove us into the great recession, reversing EPA rules that protect air and water from industrial poisons, banning people seeking refuge from war and famine on our shores, halting the trade agreement with Pacific rim nations that ganged up with the U.S. against poor communist China, and, yes, banning Muslims from six Persian Gulf and Red Sea nations from traveling to America.

The travel ban was a specific rebuke of Obama, who had said nice things about Muslims in general, although the ban itself is utterly pointless. It bans travel only from six countries where Trump has no luxury resorts and that have produced no U.S. terrorists—not one. All the 9/11 terrorists were from countries where Trump has resorts and other business interests. The six banned countries have not caused the death or injury of a single person on U.S. soil while the states of South Carolina and New York, homes of Dylann Roof and Timothy McVeigh, raised right-wing terrorists who killed 177 and injured 685 citizens.

Nothing he does seems to have much direct effect beyond the political points for having ceremonially revoked Obama's gains, and the same may be true of revoking the Paris agreement. The immediate fear was that other big polluting nations, chiefly China, India and the European Union, would renege on their obligations if the U.S. was off the hook. But they rather jovially renewed their commitments. China has made such massive strides in solar, wind, nuclear and hydroelectric generation that the antiquated transmission system built for its coal plants can't distribute all the power. It is taking over the global solar-cell market from the United States. Let 'em have all those jobs, Trump says, while we reinvigorate Appalachian coal.

Which brings us to the depressing takeaway from Trump's climate retreat. It is a retreat, real not just ceremonial, from the United States's position as the leader not only of the free world but of the planet. The president had already signaled that retreat by surrendering leadership on trade to China, on security to Europe, Russia and China and on human rights to Middle East dictators. An op-ed piece by his two top advisers in Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal explaining the climate retreat spelled out why we are withdrawing as world leader. Hence, the United States will deal with every nation on the planet solely on the basis that Trump ran his businesses—what we can get from you, not what we can do for you or with you.

The United States had a good run, a full century.


Tags: ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Ex-Hog Darrell Walker spotlighted for collection of work by black artists

    Former Razorback basketball player Darrell Walker and his art collection get a mention in today's New York Times in an article about the rising profiles and prices of black artists.
    • Nov 29, 2015
  • Satanic Temple: Make Rapert pay for Ten Commandments monument

    A petition drive has begun to encourage a demand that Sen. Jason Rapert pay for the legal fees in defending his Ten Commandments monument proposed for the state Capitol grounds. It's more work by the Satanic Temple, which has fought church-state entanglement around the country.
    • Aug 28, 2016
  • Federal judge wants John Goodson to explain class action maneuvering

    A show-cause order filed Monday by federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith indicates class action attorney John Goodson has some explaining to do about the move of a class action complaint against an insurance company from federal to state court with an instant pre-packaged settlement that has been criticized as a windfall for Goodson.
    • Dec 22, 2015

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation