There is a lingering question following President Trump’s meeting with European leaders last week whether or not the United States will fulfill President Obama’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement.
Drafted in 2015, the Paris document calls for a reduction of the global temperature increase and was signed by 195 countries, 147 of which have ratified the treaty.
The document is based on “the need for an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge.”
It’s worth noting, as I did in this space, that such specific urgencies have been predicted – falsely – since the 1970s.
In addition, the document notes “the importance…of the concept of ‘climate justice’, when taking action to address climate change.”
If you are not familiar with the concept of climate justice, the Mary Robinson Foundation defines it this way:
“Those who have benefited…from emissions in the form of on-going economic development and increased wealth…have an ethical obligation to share benefits with those who are today suffering from the effects of these emissions, mainly vulnerable people in developing countries.”
Expressed another way, climate justice is an attack on capitalism and an attack on the United States. Peacefuluprising.org puts it like this:
“The current system consolidates wealth in the hands of a corporate minority, while threatening the health and security of all people…To feed the US growth machine, once agricultural self-reliant economies are decimated…forcing many to migrate from their home. Some of these ‘corporate refugees’ come to the US looking for a better future for their children. And yet, when the economy tanks, our leaders pave the way for these migrants to be scapegoated and blamed for ‘stealing people’s jobs.’ Such scapegoating directed at the most impacted and vulnerable communities, will continue unless we tackle the root causes of climate change, by re-evaluating our current system and challenging leaders who lack the political courage and integrity to do the same.”
The current system climate justice advocates apparently feel needs to be reevaluated is the free enterprise democratic capitalist society that has given the world so many benefits.
Consider the statistics: At the beginning of the industrial revolution, the percentage of the world population living in poverty was 94%. Because of capitalism, by which new technologies, new companies, and new jobs can be created and developed, that number had dropped to 51% by 1992. As of 2011, global population in poverty was only 17%.
However, Article 9 of the Paris Agreement calls for climate justice financial payments to be made to developing countries: “Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention…As part of a global effort, developed country Parties should continue to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels…”
Moreover, the United States is required to regularly report our progress in making payments to developing countries as part of this climate justice initiative. More from Article 9:
“Developed country Parties shall biennially communicate indicative quantitative and qualitative information related to paragraphs 1 and 3 of this Article, as applicable, including, as available, projected levels of public financial resources to be provided to developing country Parties.”
The Paris Climate Agreement is as much an attack on capitalism as it as an attempt to reverse climate change.
The Agreement commits “developed” countries (read: United States) to financially compensate “developing” countries for all of the harm we have caused them due to climate change.
Nevermind the benefits the United States’ free enterprise economy has given to the world over the years in helping to reduce poverty. It’s no wonder so many countries have signed on to this Agreement. The document requires the U.S. to pay them.
President Trump should withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement immediately.