We survived U.S. failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gas emissions and will survive if Republicans drag us out of the Paris Agreement after the 2020 general election, as was announced June 1 in Washington, D.C.
Make no mistake: it is a disappointment that Republicans plan to exit the agreement.
Outside the symbolism for their political party — which I can only characterize as a finger-involved and not-safe-for-work gesture to the rest of the world — the engine driving greenhouse gas reductions is picking up velocity and will not be stopped by any one person or group.
The United States is not the only country on Earth. 194 countries remain in the agreement as the U.S. joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only states outside it. China, India and the European Union have said they will step up to fill the leadership void the U.S. created by its announcement.
Here’s the bottom line: even without the federal government involved, cities, states, businesses, colleges, and citizens across the US are driving a shift to clean energy and bringing down emissions. Just like the Paris Agreement intended.
With Republicans stepping back, it’s up to the rest of us to step up in a big way and keep this momentum going if we want to protect our environment.
Earth is our only home. Consumerism, irresponsible development, environmental degradation and global warming have negatively impacted where we live.
Our work goes on. The Republican decision to exit the Paris Agreement is not the end of the world. Not even close.
~ Published in the June 8, 2017 edition of the Solon Economist