Speed Reads


John Oliver explains why Trump ditching the Paris climate accord is a huge disaster, and a tiny gift

John Oliver is livid that President Trump is pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement, and exasperated that Trump seems to understand nothing about the accord, but he isn't surprised. "Paris climate agreement" is a title "so off-brand for him it might as well have been called the Globalist Cuck Surrender or a light jog," he said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "Yet pulling out of this is a huge deal."

A 2 degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures, where we're now headed, is not "a fictional apocalypse," Oliver said. It's real. The Paris accord "was not perfect," and probably didn't go far enough, "but the key achievement was for the very first time getting virtually the entire world, including China and India, to commit to taking action," he said. Oliver walked through Trump's stated reasons for pulling out, shaking his head in frustration that the fate of the world might have been sealed by the combination of "Trump's lack of attention to detail with his deep-rooted paranoia."

He marveled at Trump's willful mangling of the Green Climate Fund, and bafflingly "ludicrous misunderstanding" of the accord's voluntary nature. "And at this point, you may be thinking, Well hold on, if it's all voluntary, then what is the harm in leaving?" Oliver said. "Well, the truth is, it's substantial," starting with the harm to America's standing in the world and economic future. China is already capitalizing on America's surrender on clean energy, he added ruefully. "In a way, Trump is fulfilling his campaign promise — he is creating millions of new jobs, he's just doing it for the wrong f—ing country!"

Since there isn't time to wait four years for Trump to go, American businesses and local governments have to step up, and many have. "That's right, this is a story where Walmart, Bank of America, and Philip Morris end up being the good guys," Oliver said. And it's up to you to find out where your mayor, governor, and state reps stand on climate change, and vote accordingly. In this way, "Trump may have inadvertently done us a tiny favor this week, because the problem with climate change is that it's always felt so abstract, impersonal, and far off into the future," Oliver said. "Finally, this week, the climate change movement may have gotten a symbol to rally around." Watch below — warned, there is NSFW language. Peter Weber