On Thursday, President Trump announced he will withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. If that makes you mad, good. If that makes you outraged and disgusted, even better. We have good reason. Even for a president whose administration has quickly earned a reputation for reckless and morally bankrupt policies, this appalling decision stands out, and the reaction both here and abroad has been withering.
For the rest of the planet, the message is clear: Donald Trump has zero interest in being the “leader of the free world,” much less in international cooperation to solve global problems. In the dark and self-destructive world view of Steve Bannon and Donald Trump, the U.S. has no allies—only competitors. We don’t win unless other nations lose. That isn’t foreign policy; it’s Lord of the Flies.
For those of us who do care about our planet’s future, what happened Thursday should be a movement-defining moment. “Hold tight to your anger/And don’t fall to your fears,” is how Bruce Springsteen put it in his song “Wrecking Ball.” Trump’s action is unforgivable, but it should only make us more determined to protect our future.
The most important thing to remember is that although Trump can try to slow climate progress in the U.S., he is powerless to stop it. It’s true that the anti-environmental ambitions of his administration have exceeded almost everyone’s worst expectations. Equally extraordinary, though, are his administration’s astounding incompetence and obstinate refusal to accept reality—and I don’t just mean the reality of climate change. I mean the reality of 21st century America.
Every day, more U.S. cities, states, and corporations are committing to reducing carbon emissions and adopting clean, renewable energy. Just before Trump’s announcement, three additional coal plants came offline, including the two biggest ones remaining in New Jersey. Yesterday, more…