‘Planet First’: the Paris Climate Agreement without Trump
Today I had several meetings in Gamla Stan, the beautiful Old Town of Stockholm. I took this picture in one of the many streets with bright colored houses and cobblestones. In each meeting, the conversation soon drifted to the decision of the President of the United States to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The former world leader now leaves it to Europe, China, and every other nation to solve the biggest challenge that the world has ever faced.
Trump infamously tweeted that climate change is a Chinese hoax. He ignores the warnings of the scientists about the melting of the Arctic, increasing droughts, and sea-level rise. Military experts warn for the security consequences. Although China is still the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, it is also the world’s biggest investor in renewable energy. It develops a clean, modern, competitive industry. It provides more new jobs in wind and solar companies than investment in fossil fuels will ever do.
It is now up to 194 countries to cooperate for a ‘Planet First’ policy. Future historians will be challenged to explain to their readers what happened. The United States lacked the vision and drive to continue its leadership. Instead, the government decided to join Syria in rejecting the landmark Paris Agreement that united all countries in the world.
The good news is that this ‘America Last’ policy is not supported by many American states, cities, businesses, and individuals. They are increasingly united to be among the first movers to a circular, innovative and sustainable economy. If the rest of the world increases cooperation with each of them, it will increasingly be President Trump that is isolated and not the United States.