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We'll Always Have Paris

The President has withdrawn the US from the Paris agreement, a 200 country effort to limit global warming to 2 degrees celsius (3.6 degrees F) over the pre-industrial era. We’re currently about 1.5 C above normal. There isn’t much wiggle room, and it isn’t a good time to thumb a nose at working together to keep the planet livable.

Pulling out is significant, in that the US had already agreed and signed on. It’s also a cynical, easy way to toss a bone to Trump’s base - quit something and claim a major accomplishment.

Pulling out of the agreement is also less significant than it appears, though, as we’ve reached 2017, the year in which scientists had previously said would be a tipping point, unless significant changes occurred. Here’s our story from 2011 on that prediction. http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20111109130053972 Recall that this was a “conservative” estimate at the time.

You can see that we’re in bad shape whether the Paris climate accord is signed or not. The “immediate and drastic changes” called for in 2011 have not happened. The country didn’t work together on a grand plan in 2011, and isn’t about to do it now. Politicians from both parties have not been interested in doing much at all. For decades. And now we’re also being jerks about it.

The good news is this continues to be an issue that doesn’t require presidential permission. States can work on the issue, and so can towns and individuals. Brattleboro has been wading into these waters for over a decade. We have an Energy Coordinator and Committee, we’re reducing our carbon footprint, and starting to plan and design for a “greener” way of life. More people drive electric cars and ride bikes. We like to eat locally.

Not everyone is on board, and not all towns are Brattleboro. This is a problem that will require universal cooperation. Hating one another will not be helpful. It’s time to get along better than before.

President Trump, in his backwards way, might be providing the impetus for citizens to stop waiting for politicians and do the work themselves. Like a wet paint sign that cries out to be tested, Trump disliking something seems to have a powerful galvanizing effect on opponents. If he likes it, they are against it. And if he is against it, they’ll make it happen.

This is different than previous presidents, whom citizens tended to tune out or trust blindly. Trump taking a dump on an issue doesn’t shut it down - it creates fertilizer and growth.

Trump’s decision and our relative inaction thus far is a depressing reminder of our inability to get out of our own way, and that our leaders are not paying attention to us (79% supported staying with the Paris agreement.) Still, it might bring more rapid and significant changes than if we had patted outselves on the back for sticking with the agreement and returned to business as usual.

Of course, we humans can be lazy. We like our comforts and don’t like changes that take away those comforts. Alternatives exist but we still fuel our engines primarily with petroleum products. It gets hot and heat-producing air conditioners get turned on. We want goods shipped from around the globe, and to fly to remote locations. We like cutting down old trees.

Rather than focus on a Paris accord, perhaps it is time for a personal accord.


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Shooting himself in the foot

With this blunder, he has lost a credibility with world leaders.
China and Japan are the winners here.


What credibility?

Has he ever had any credibility with world leaders? He's a joke and the US has become a joke because of him. You only need to look at the body language and facial expressions of world leaders when they are forced to interact with him to know that he is not respected (nor should he be), liked or barely tolerated.
I think everyone sees him for what he is- an uneducated, hateful, ignorant bully who has no more right to be "leading" a country than a bird has. He is feared because he has no idea what he's doing and he's reactive and vindictive.
His administration will go down as being the worst one in history and I say that without even knowing who might come next. It will take decades to recover from the
disastrous and ignorant decisions he has made.


Draining the Shemp

All true. And I loathe him as much as you do, but it should be kept in mind that we as a nation seeded the ground to make his administration possible..

Bush was anti-intellectual... Fox News was established during Reagan Era... Shows like Life styles of Rich and famous, Housewives of Beverly Hills, Keeping up with Kardashians, etc.. all gave a twisted view of wealth many bought into as voyeristic escapism... Using profession sports a recruiting tool for the military (flyovers at every big game). No Child Left Behind...The list is practically endless.

In so many ways, the downward spiral was a collective decision. And adding to the fact, Chris' observation, we as a populace were in no big hurry to take on Climate Change ...Delaying Electric cars, manipulation of gas prices...

Woes R' US


I agree that there are many

I agree that there are many places to lay the blame for this total disaster that now wanders the halls of the White House- tweeting away and ringing his little bell for one of his minions to bring him another diet coke.It is a vision as creepy and nefarious as the one of Nixon wandering around in the dead of night conversing with the portraits in the halls. But, I don't agree that we can blame the glorification and justification of excessive wealth on this cluster *%#*.
We have always been fascinated with wealthy people and always have constructed dubious pedestals for them to reside on. I see nothing glamorous about Trump's portrayal of wealth- his obscene lack of class; dignity and manners are all evident in the garishly overdone buildings he owns and the bordello like decor that he loves so much. He made promises to a large group pf people that felt voiceless and overlooked and it worked- they were either too tired of feeling like they were on the short end of the stick or too stupid to realize nobody would live up to all those promises. I agree with Chris that far too many of us took a " we've got plenty of time to fix this" attitude about the environment and climate change and now we're all seeing the error of our ways.
The bottom line for me is that this is a person hellbent on destroying anything good, compassionate or progressive that has been accomplished. He came into office with a plan to simply destroy anything that Obama had accomplished and he's checking off his list. I think he is the worst thing that has come down the pike in my lifetime and he needs to be removed from his position of power in whatever form that takes.


American Bastille Day

You hit the nail of this disaster right on the head. It's definitely the Louis XVI, or King Leopold moment for the USA. And the spite, the small mindedness, the danger is clear enough.

But..We are a complacent, and spoiled people. All hot and bothered as long as it doesn't inconvenience us too much. Not everybody of course.. But enough, so that a critical mass is fairly unreachable. If you consider the mechanisms of the 25th amendment, the entrenched corruption of DC, how far down the line of succession the venality runs..we are in big trouble.

I don't want to be a downer, but it seems better to look at the situation for what it is..My hope, and it's a mixed blessing at that, is that a confluence of events, ecological trouble, international isolation, continued overt plundering and bloviating, will keep the gears gunked until some sort of mid-term redress, then a house cleaning of another order down the line. That's IF... we can dodge the nuclear bullet, the shredded safety net, the dumbification of the next generation.

I worry for my kids and their prospects. And I'll do what I can, but am not holding my breath. Empires have gone down before and we seem hellbent to join that legacy.


Present line of succession

I'm afraid, you're the one who "hit the nail of this disaster right on the head." Look at this United States Presidential line of succession. Which would we like to see replace Trump?? {Wikipedia}

The most recent law about the line of successions passed in 1967. Right below is the current line of succession for the United States:

No. Office Current officer
1 Vice President
Mike Pence (R)

2 Speaker of the House of Representatives
Paul Ryan (R)

3 President pro tempore of the Senate
Orrin Hatch (R)

4 Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson (R)

5 Secretary of the Treasury
Steven Mnuchin (R)

6 Secretary of Defense
James Mattis (I)

7 Attorney General
Jeff Sessions (R)

8 Secretary of the Interior
Ryan Zinke (R)

9 Secretary of Agriculture
Sonny Perdue (R)

10 Secretary of Commerce
Wilbur Ross (R)

11 Secretary of Labor
Alexander Acosta (R)

12 Secretary of Health and Human Services
Tom Price (R)

13 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Ben Carson (R)

– Secretary of Transportation **
Elaine Chao (R)[a]

14 Secretary of Energy
Rick Perry (R)

15 Secretary of Education
Betsy DeVos (R)

16 Secretary of Veterans Affairs
David Shulkin (I)

17 Secretary of Homeland Security
John F. Kelly (I)

** Not a natural-born citizen (acquired U.S. citizenship by naturalization) and thus ineligible for the Presidency


Anyone ever watch the TV show

Anyone ever watch the TV show " Designated Survivor"? Not a great show but I'm liking the premise more and more. Our current line of succession is seriously depressing and would ensure a continued disastrous moral and political fail in this country. Where's Keifer Sutherland when you need him?


Forked Tongues

It’s disingenuous for most people to claim they are concerned about humanity and their shared environment. Most humans speak out of both sides of their mouths.

How do you get 8 billion people to go along with anything? Universal cooperation is an impossibility. While all of them have individual consciousness, there is no such thing as global consciousness. Statistically, it’s impossible to get billions of people to agree on anything. Most individual consciousness bearing humans, by default, must look out for themselves. It’s easier to give lip service to the cause than it is to join a unified effort to save themselves as humanity as a whole.

Why do you think that people, people with wealth mostly, are scrambling to get the hell out of here? When Stephen Hawking talks about the urgency to go spacebound as a means to save humanity, he is not talking about you and me. He knows it takes only a few fertile humans to kick start humanity elsewhere there is a goldilocks planet. And, the wealthy breeders certainly know this. They don't breed for you and me.

This human birth digital counter does not stop: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

We are fast approaching 7.6 billion, all of whom will merely live and die. You can depend on them to live for today and they will cling to the “grid” that supports them for as long as they can.


German Ingenuity

I laughed this morning watching the EU official barking about how the USA can't just pull because I just had to sell my diesel VW wagon because German owned VW has been cheating on emissions forever!


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