President Donald J. Trump pulled out of the Paris Accord on Climate Change today, revealing that he does not believe Climate Change is a threat to the planet and signaling the rest of the world they will have to go it alone.
This news should surprise exactly no one.
Trump's appointments to agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) foreshadowed this decision, as did the president's repeated declarations on Twitter and the campaign trail that he believed Climate Change was a Chinese hoax designed to destroy the U.S. economy.
But after the G7 Summit with European leaders, during which reports say the leaders pressured Trump to stay in the accord, there was a vain hope the president might have been persuaded to stay in the agreement, signed by 200 countries in an unprecedented attempt to stop Climate Change from destroying the Earth.
Such hope was clearly misplaced.
For the solar industry, pulling out of the Paris Accord will have little to no impact. Solar's momentum, which continues to gather steam in the United States despite having an Administration clearly hostile to it, almost makes its continued growth inevitable (unless an international solar trade war is joined, which unfortunately can't be ruled out officially until Sept. 22 – make sure to circle that date on the calendar if you care the least bit for the solar industry).
And while the president's decision has international implications, it shouldn't affect the international solar industry either. In fact, it might even accelerate solar's development overseas, given that other countries must now pick up the slack created when the United States leaves the agreement.
More broadly, however, the president's decision sends the message to the rest of the world that the United States can't be trusted to honor its treaty commitments, no longer believes in science and will make broad policy determinations based solely on domestic political concerns rather than paying attention to their larger implications.
Trump made a promise to his voters more than a year ago that he would “cancel” the accord. Combined with his executive orders designed to undo President Barack Obama's Climate Change agenda, including removing any mention of Climate Change from the EPA's website, it's clear the Administration does not believe the 97% of world scientists who have said human-enhanced Climate Change is real, nor the other world leaders who believe it is as well.
He has ceded international leadership on Climate Change to the Europeans or even China who, despite the “hoax” they created, seem to believe it is real and are working overtime to combat it. It seems an odd way to, in his words, “make America great again,” especially considering the effect this decision will have on U.S. relationships with the country's European allies. After President Trump's overseas visit, those relationships were already strained. This decision does nothing to soothe those rightly ruffled feathers.
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