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Kunin: Climate Activist Energy

It was not unexpected. Still, when President Trump announced that the United States “was getting out” of the Paris Accord, it felt like he was describing an alternate universe, not the world I live in - or one I wish for our children and grandchildren to live in. The United States has become a global outlier, turning up its nose at some one hundred and ninety five other countries who stand by the agreement.

The president has been bamboozled to believe the long discarded assumption that regulations destroy jobs – that any regulation is bad. But if he were to look at objective economic studies, he’d soon discover that Green alternative energy jobs are growing at a rapid clip, while fossil fuel jobs are petering out. That’s one reason Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Trump to keep us in the accord, and incidentally, why the Secretary’s old stomping ground, Exxon, agreed.

I’m shocked by this action, but I’m also embarrassed as an American. In his an nouncement Trump expressed satisfaction that other countries will now no longer be laughing at us for signing on to the accord in 2015. He’s right. No more laughter. Today we hear scorn and disrespect. By giving up our membership in a global accord to rescue the planet, we’ve given up world leadership and respect.

The vacuum of our withdrawal is already being filled by other world leaders from China, Italy, Germany and France. The newly elected French President Macron, didn’t wait even one day to address the United States.

“Wherever we live, whoever we are,” he said, “we share the same responsibility to make our planet great again”

California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, is now our unofficial climate change Ambassador, having taken off for China, to deliberate how both countries can forge ahead without Trump.

Climate change issues will not melt away, so it’s up to us to take responsible action any way we can: to continue to invest in science and to educate the public about climate change; to debunk the fantasy world in which climate change deniers live.

Above all, we do not have to choose between jobs and the environment; we can have both if we persevere, state by state, city by city and town by town and tap America’s most productive energy source – the energy produced by citizen activism.