Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to email@example.com; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
The legal implications of Trump announcing his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement iscomplicated.* But, the ultimate message is rather negative, though it is largely basic Republican in nature (if of the crude form that some rather not use). It is sometimes noted that we are in bad company respecting the death penalty, especially certain applications. Here, only Syria (civil war) and Nicaragua (thinks it too weak) didn't join.
When Chris Hayes live tweeted Trump's announcement (Pence later went on FOX to suck-up and continue the b.s.), he mentioned its voluntary nature. This led a few people to wonder why we should care. Hayes in a somewhat belabored metaphor cited a hypo of someone who promised that they would quit smoking and would provide scheduled announcements of their progress. It was an incentive. It also is an agreement smoking is bad.
The Paris agreement didn’t do enough. But you cannot do enough by doing nothing.
Just the fact that they brought nearly every country in the world to agree on this was a HUGE step. Acknowledging the issue, and acknowledging that developed countries owed developing countries a debt because a lot of their growth was based on polluting the world for current and future generations was a massive step forward. It allowed countries like India and China to start making major steps towards improving their climate change stories, to the point that both countries have announced target far more stringent than the Paris accords requirements, and both are on pace to beat even those stringent requirements.
Just the fact that almost every country acknowledged that climate change was a problem that we need to solve together lays the groundwork to start solving that problem together.
That the Paris Accords didn’t achieve everything needed to be done is a feature, because if a few meetings could have solved the problem entirely, it wouldn’t really be a major problem in the first place.
And, since Republicans -- and some Democrats really -- would not support something with more teeth, particularly something that required a supermajority passage as a treaty (the agreement worked within existing treaties to some extent and overall legally it is unclear just what Trump really could do right away*), Obama did what he could. Not enough, but something that helps things forward. This is a step backward though how much is up to the parties. For instance, localities are starting to pledge to work toward the goals of the agreement.
There has been some strong rebukes and it is deserved. But, it is left to the resistance yet again, the foreign flavor of that word fitting since the "leader of the free world" apparently is a woman -- the leader of Germany. We also have the new president of France with his older wife. And, local efforts too.
* It is also unclear he knows what he is doing:
The President also announced his intention to renegotiate the Paris Agreement if possible, apparently after notice of the U.S.’s intended withdrawal. While perhaps reasonable in a context such as NAFTA, which has only two other parties, in the setting of the global climate negotiations such a proposal is a red herring. The Paris Agreement is the product of a quarter century of intense negotiations, including the Kyoto Protocol which the United States declined to ratify. To expect the entire world to commence yet a new round of negotiations at the request of one state—even one as important to the issue and politically powerful as the United States—is simply not a reasonable expectation.