Trump will reportedly turn America into a planet-imperiling rogue state

What withdrawing from the Paris climate accord means for the country — and the human race

President Trump.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Image courtesy Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

President Trump is prepared to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accords, multiple news outlets are reporting. Though Trump himself has not yet confirmed the news — writing on Twitter that he'll make his decision in the "next few days" — it fits both with his belligerent style and his promises during the campaign.

Politico writes that this is a victory for the "nationalist" wing of the White House. On the contrary, it's a victory for precisely no one. It's a representation of how crack-brained thinking has turned the United States into an enemy of the human race.

It must always be emphasized that climate change is first and foremost a threat to human civilization — contrary to typical centrist media framing of the issue as some sort of boutique environmentalist hobbyhorse. Climate change means more drought, more flooding, more extreme weather, mass extinctions, tremendous disruption of agriculture, and sea levels rising by many meters.

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Climate change does not threaten America as much as it does India or China, but neither are we in as good a position as Canada, with its vast tracts of barely-inhabited taiga. But even that country is not secure in the long run if emissions are not ratcheted down quickly, starting now. Procrastination raises the likelihood of triggering one of many potential feedback loops, which could spiral out of control no matter what we do to greenhouse gas emissions, rendering much of the Earth's surface uninhabitable — and leaving wildly dangerous geoengineering schemes as the last Hail Mary chance at rescue.

If things go very wrong, the rapid, uncontrolled collapse of all the delicate world-spanning systems now used to feed and clothe nearly all people could drive human beings to extinction. It's a remote possibility, but it also can't be ruled out.

Most Republicans — including President Trump and a large majority of their members of Congress — deny the consensus science behind climate change. When they can't deny the science outright, they deny the possibility of doing anything about it. When they grudgingly admit it might be a problem, they still typically present it as being a net economic harm through which, say, China is going to steal an economic march on us.

In reality, procrastinating on climate is an act of self-harm on the order of Stalin's purges of the Red Army officer corps in the late 1930s, which left Soviet forces drastically weakened for Hitler's surprise attack in 1941.

Witness China, which contrary to yet more idiot babbling, is actually moving forward with tremendously aggressive climate policy — because it is unquestionably in its national interest. America, with its addle-brained president and diseased ruling party, is the only major nation which refuses to see the loaded pistol pointed right at its own face.

At any rate, none of this is much of a surprise. When America elected Trump we forfeited all claim to any global leadership of any kind whatsoever. Under this president, on the most important problem facing human society, we are an enemy of the human race, too powerful to be strong-armed into a bargain and led by people too stupid to be reasoned with. The rest of the world now has no choice but to press forward with the most aggressive climate policy they can muster, and hope that Republicans are thrown out of power soon (and that ongoing green industry upgrades and local action at least contains the damage).

All Democrats must loudly and consistently promise bold climate action — far bolder than anything President Obama did. Blue state and local governments, particularly California and New York, must press ahead with the most aggressive climate policy they can possibly manage. All this gives the world confidence that if Trump is tossed out, America will at least return to the community of rational nations.

It remains to be seen what damage this will do to the Paris accords. It might blow them up altogether — but perhaps it will merely confirm America's new status as essentially a rogue state. Only one thing is for sure: The modern Republican Party will go down with the 19th century Dixiecrats as one of the most horrible political parties in the history of the world.

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