Editorials

Trump quits climate accord to bash Obama, but he hurts the US

President Trump is not a man fond of details, or accuracy for that matter. On the 2016 campaign trail, he vilified President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and vowed to repeal and replace it. Crowds cheered – though some in those crowds had insurance through the ACA. Now, Trump’s continuing to give the same business to the historic Paris Agreement of 2015 on climate change.

When Trump’s staff and Republicans in Congress finished rubbing their hands together in anticipation of fulfilling Trump’s campaign pledge on health care, they found that the ACA was working just fine for millions of Americans – 22 million of them – who would not have health insurance without it. The GOP “replacement” was short on detail but long on problems: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that in a few years, some 23 million Americans would be without health insurance under the foolhardy “fix” Republicans proposed.

Welcome to another stumbling Trump attempt to make good on another campaign promise – to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a hard-won deal negotiated among 195 countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and recognize the realities of climate change.

Trump blasted away at that agreement – and he’s now said the U.S. will pull out of it, saying it’s “unfair” to the United States in terms of competition, business-wise. He said he was open to renegotiating, which given the popularity of the agreement with oil companies and Trump’s own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is likely to happen. The truth is, Trump doesn’t care much himself, beyond pleasing his political base.

But the election is over, with the U.S. pulling out of the accord, it will be a setback for dealing with climate change, which already is having effects on the world’s environment. In the long term, it will have serious implications for North Carolina as well, with predicted rises in sea levels.

Donald Trump understands very little about climate change or the Paris accord. He’s just trying to keep a campaign promise to people who probably don’t care much about it, anymore, now that Obama is out of office. Trump really needs to put away the club he uses to bash all things associated with President Obama, and proceed with positive initiatives of his own, if he has any.

Trump flirts with an almost isolationist stance on too many issues, reflecting the “America first” theme of his shortsighted inaugural address. But the Paris Agreement was something years in the making, and represented a triumph of Obama’s diplomacy – to get so many nations to agree to such a policy was a monumental achievement.

Which is exactly why Donald Trump attacked it.

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