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Trump wrong on climate pact

July 13, 2017
Peter Mandell
San Francisco

John McCord’s letter of June 22 was only partially correct, and in some cases used measures irrelevant to the Paris climate agreement going into effect. Mr. McCord justifies Trump’s withdrawal based on some posed fiscal disaster. The accord requirement and success were judged rightly on scientific facts and the need to avoid a much greater environmental disaster.

One-hundred-ninety-seven countries signed the accord, including Russia, China and India (they used declarations, but agreed to the accord, contrary to Mr. McCord’s claim). Only two countries did not sign: Nicaragua, which wanted stricter measures, and Syria, now joined by the U.S. under science denier Trump. Even Pakistan and the rogue state of North Korea signed and ratified. One-hundred-fifty-one countries have now ratified, and closer examination of the list of those who have not yet ratified is vital but missing in McCord’s details. The list includes numerous countries either under dictatorships, amid civil wars, or totally unstable. None of the official documents even mentions pledged funds. It’s based on number of countries and percentage of global emissions affected by pledges.

Apples and apples. Pledged funds might be a handy way to support Trump’s withdrawal (based more on his hatred for Obama than any scientific or fact-based reality). But the historic accord was judged worldwide an historic success, far exceeding the required numbers to go into force.

Like many of Mr. Trump’s actions, when you look at the facts, not the alternative kind, the arguments just don’t hold up. Trump’s actions are isolating the U.S. and reducing the world view of the position of leadership we always strived for.

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