Today is a bad day for the US and the planet. Donald Trump just officially pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement 10 years in the making at the UN. We’re breaking faith with 194 other countries who signed the accord in 2015.
Only three nations have opted out of the Paris Climate Accord: Nicaragua, Syria, and now the United States. Of those three, guess which has the largest carbon footprint? Give up? Here’s a map that might help. It shows countries by carbon dioxide emissions in thousands of tons per annum, via the burning of fossil fuels (blue the highest and green the lowest).
There is a small group of optimists who believe Trump’s formal departure from the climate agreement may be better, or at least more honest than claiming to stay in the accord, which as Susan Matthews writes for Slate, “is largely a voluntary gentleman’s agreement.” As Matthews points out, “Trump has exhibited absolutely no gentlemanly interest in keeping the light promises America has made under the agreement, regardless of whether we pull out.” She suggests that the rest of the world might be less encumbered without America dragging everyone down by watering down and consistently failing to meet targets under the Paris agreement.
So, we can hope that the rest of the world stays on course and the departure of the world’s biggest cumulative carbon polluter doesn’t create an unraveling effect on the Paris agreement. Here at home, we will need to rely on forces outside the DC Beltway (and those disruptive heroes still embedded in federal agencies) to push toward carbon sanity.
Fortunately, there are many smart people in the public, private and nonprofit sectors who remain committed to work at various scales and across sectors to move our economies towards lower carbon emissions and adapt to the changes (e.g. higher temperatures, bigger storms) that are already here or coming. We’ll have a few of these smart people on hand next Friday for a discussion of what WE can do as an urban community to help pick up Trump’s slack on addressing climate change.
The Capitol Hill EcoDistrict Steering Committee will host a small forum on climate mitigation and resilience with panelists from the University of Washington, City of Seattle (OSE), Got Green and the Seattle 2030 District. EcoDistrict staff will outline the strategies we’re currently working on and host a conversation about what else we could and should be doing and how YOU and others can help. We’ll also discuss a pledge from the EcoDistrict to address climate resilience as central to its purpose going forward.
We invite you to join the conversation. Here are the details:
June 9: 9-10:30am, Pike Pine Room, 12th Avenue Arts
Please RSVP on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2rgXsT4. We’ll host as many people as we can fit in the community room at 12th Avenue Arts.