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The Bannon assassination of the Paris Accord is a ‘Yuge’ decision for America’s Delta

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Steve "Cheshire Cat" Bannon, the brains behind the Paris Accord pullout. Modified from a Disney image.

Steve “Cheshire Cat” Bannon, the brains behind the Paris Accord pullout. Modified from a Disney image.

by Len Bahr, Ph.D.

On June 1 at 3:26 PM EDT our playacting POTUS pulled the plug on the Paris, the historic, non-binding Climate Accord that had been initiated in 2015 by Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi and signed by every nation on Planet Earth except for Syria and Nicaragua.* Trump took this action primarily at the behest of, and to the salivating satisfaction of his smirking, snarky, sucking up Cheshire cat colleague, Steve Bannon.

Until June 1st, this voluntary accord represented a tenuous and extraordinarily improbable international gentlemen’s** agreement to address what is arguably the most existential threat to humankind.

Forget the Bannon-based nationalistic, genocidal hatred that has been unleashed since January. Forget the toxic terrorist recruitment that Bannon’s alt-wrong mentality has inspired. Forget the casual manner in which the POTUS regards his newfound nuclear tipped sand box playtoys. In consideration of the life of my 13 month old grandson Hudson, with

PoppaLen and his Dr. Seuss-loving grandson Hudson Riefle Bahr Jones

PoppaLen and his Dr. Seuss-loving grandson Hudson Riefle Bahr Jones

whom I recently shared a reading of Green Eggs and Ham, this science-denying Trump pullout is truly horrifying. Its irresponsible and inescapable impacts on icebergs in Antarctica and on our efforts to salvage America’s Delta seem pretty obvious.

Some optimistic commentators are rationalizing the decision, in a diligent and determined, if desperate search for a silver lining. For example, on May 30 TheAtlantic.com published an intriguing essay by Robinson Meyer listing potential benefits of a U.S. withdrawal. This counterintuitive argument is based on the premise that a Trump decision to remain at the table would result in weakening and rolling back provisions of the agreement, rendering it toothless. Here’s the final paragraph from Meyer’s piece:

Meanwhile, China, India, and the European Union have all said they will uphold their commitments and stay in the treaty. So it will be left to them—and U.S. voters in the 2020 election—whether the American exit from Paris dooms that agreement to the same fate as the Kyoto Protocol, or whether it becomes merely a short hiatus from a long-term global solidarity.

A June 1 article by Susan Matthews in Slate.com agrees with Meyer that a U.S. withdrawal is probably preferable to our staying in as a signatory to a voluntary agreement that would be further weakened by the climate change deniers in Congress. On May 31 NewRepublic.com published an opinion piece by Emily Atkin that a Paris withdrawal would not mean the end of the world as we know it. After all, the transparently self serving pro-withdrawal diatribes by Sen. Mike Lee and EPA’s (out of his league) Administrator Scott Pruitt are exposing the depth of the bullshit being batted around by their brethren. I take little comfort in these arguments, however, which ignore the unprecedented crack in the global geopolitical door, for which former Sec’y of State John Kerry was so justifiably proud.

On June 1 Politico.com published an article by Nick Juliano on the meaning of the decision with an argument that even had Trump stayed at the table the prospects of success would not be ‘Yuge.’ Here”s a quote:

…prospects weren’t exactly rosy before Trump made up his mind. The emissions-reduction policies Obama put in place were insufficient to hit his U.S. target in the Paris deal even if they had been fully implemented — and Trump has already put virtually all of them on the chopping block, making any reductions more difficult to achieve.

And many scientists say the climate accord’s goals are too modest to limit global temperature increases to 3.6 degrees, and that to do so, global carbon emissions will have to reach net zero by the end of the century, a herculean task.

On May 31 Huffpost.com carried an article by Andrew C. Kaufman asserting that the decision was based more on ideology than anything else. That seems pretty obvious in that there was no science involved. Also on May 31 Politico.com published a pre-announcement report by Andrew Restuccia and Josh Dawsey on the then-pending decision.  Here’s the final sobering quote from their piece:

The agreement calls on countries to aim to limit global warming to “well below” 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit from pre-industrial levels, and it said countries should “pursue efforts” to keep temperature increases to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Under a business as usual scenario, global temperatures could rise by between 4.7 degrees Fahrenheit and 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, according to the United Nations, an increase that would have catastrophic consequences.

On the other hand, according to another May 31 note in Huffpost.com by Igor Bobic, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) is confident that even if climate change is real, God will take care of us. I feel SO much better.

* My original post listed Guatemala by mistake. My bad.

** and of course gentleladies’

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  1. Editor’s Note: A prominent cable news commentator and former Senator Joe Scarborough reported on June 2 that the Paris Climate Accord withdrawal shows that Steve Bannon has become the real POTUS. Here’s the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/steve-bannon-president-joe-scarborough_us_593175c0e4b0c242ca2344ab?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

  2. Anonymous says:

    Climate change denial is not as wide spread and most believe. Many of those who argue against the recognition and consequences of global warming know, at least on some level, that it’s true. The basic denial, however, is about limited natural resources and humanity having responsiblity for the fate and relationship with the natural world. Accepting responsibility for the fate of the earth represents a huge threat to the prevailing view that unlimited economic growth can continue without boundaries. This idea that nature is something to conquer, suppress, exploit, manipulate and control has become a fundamental belief. This failing belief is based on competition, winning, self-interest, comparisons and an ultimate goal of wealth. Believing we could live better within cooperation and a steady state or “ecologic economy” is foreign to those committed to the assumption of never-ending economic growth.

    Denying our limited nature has become a popular expression of existential insecurity keeping us from accepting responsibility. This denial is expressed as a half-empty glass of nebulous optimism relying on technology, God or human engineers to save us from ourselves. We walk through the graveyard on a moonless night whistling and shaking on the inside, afraid and ready to fight a partisan battle against any criticism or alternate vision of unlimited economic growth.

  3. riverrat says:

    The implications for Louisiana are serious, since a failure to limit sea-level rise will push the costs for coastal restoration and protection up and up, and they’re already rising. Of course, the GOP members of the state’s Congressional delegation are no doubt praising Trump’s decision, citing the fictions about job losses that withdrawal will supposedly avoid. But the current downturn in the o&g market, and job losses in the sector in Louisiana, are the result of low prices. Withdrawal from the Paris Accord will do nothing to help that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who’s worried about a 0.2 degree Centigrade rise in the next 80 years. None of us will be here. Can climate scientist predict when the next asteroid will hit. That’s what I worry about.

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