Martin Wolf on US withdrawal from the Paris accord

Martin Wolf’s Wednesday column this week contains uncharacteristically harsh language, describing the US as a “rogue superpower”.

Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement on climate change was frightening and inexplicable. But who can control him? The US constitution in my opinion gives too much power to the leader of a supposedly democratic country. Last week’s decision to renounce participation in the Paris accord was not a decision of “the United States”. It was the decision of Donald Trump.

The US is a rogue superpower. Its decision last week to renounce participation in the climate agreement reached in Paris in December 2015 underlined this reality. The question is how to respond. ….

Hostility to science and a narrow view of interests laid the ground for Mr Trump’s repudiation of the Paris accord. But his speech was also a characteristic blend of falsehood and resentment. ….

Mr Trump stated that “as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country”. Yet a “non-binding” agreement can hardly impose draconian financial and economic burdens. ….

In the 1920s, the US repudiated the League of Nations. That led to the collapse of Europe’s post-first world war settlement. Now, it is withdrawing from a shared commitment to protect our planet. The echoes are disturbing. ….

The US cannot be made “great” by rejecting global responsibility and embracing coal. That is atavistic. Mr Trump’s appeal to irrationality, xenophobia and resentment is frightening.

Martin Wolf, “Donald Trump’s bad judgment on the Paris accord“, Financial Times, 7 June 2017 (gated paywall).



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