Trump/Pence Regime Withdraws from Paris Climate Accord: Putting “America First”—Torching Humanity’s Future

Updated June 5, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


Here’s what you need to know about this now: On June 1, Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the 2016 Paris climate accord. Under this agreement, 195 countries put forward voluntary targets for reducing their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This and other greenhouse gases are the leading cause of global warming, which is already devastating the lives of millions and threatens the future existence of humanity and many other species.

The Paris agreement was drawn up by the U.S. imperialists and other world powers, and comes nowhere close to halting the planet’s environmental crisis. But that’s not why Trump withdrew. He claimed it was because the Paris accord “took advantage” of America, stole its jobs, and hurt its economy. These are lies: America has been the world’s biggest polluter and predator—taking advantage of everyone else. Trump’s withdrawal was really another big move to consolidate fascism.

This move pours gasoline on an already raging fire, cementing his regime’s attacks on the environment and paves the way for even worse ones. It is a horrendous crime against humanity and the planet that must be met with mass defiant actions, and a determination to DRIVE THIS FASCIST REGIME OUT. As people join together in this urgent fight, the question of the roots of the environmental emergency and what kind of society humanity needs to get out of this madness must be part of the dialogue.

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“The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord.” With those 10 words, Donald Trump escalated the immediate threat to hundreds of millions, and the grave, existential threat to the future of humanity and many forms of life from human-created global warming.

This crisis is already accelerating at perilous speed: the last three years have been the warmest on record. Seas are rising, glaciers disappearing, and Arctic ice sheets melting. Droughts, flooding, and extreme weather are more frequent. Many species of life are being driven extinct.

In his withdrawal speech, Trump never uttered the words “climate change” or “global warming.” Meanwhile, his surrogates continued to outright deny or obfuscate the scientifically established fact that human activity is driving catastrophic changes in the climate.

Instead, Trump delivered a lie-filled fascist rant. He was rejecting the Paris accord on cutting carbon emissions, signed by 195 countries, claiming it hurt American workers, jobs, and the economy and had been negotiated “to the exclusive benefit of other countries.”

“This agreement is less about the climate,” he declared, “and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.”

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt said America was already taking care of the planet: “We owe no apologies to other nations for our environmental stewardship.”

Bad Deal for America? No, America’s the Worst “Deal” for the Planet, and Trump Wants to Make It Even Worse

America being taken advantage of? Already taking care of the planet? Here’s the reality:

The U.S. makes up four percent of the global population, but has poured far more CO2—carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels causing global warming—into the atmosphere than any other country! America is responsible for 30 percent of the planet’s excess CO2 (twice as much as China, which has four times the population). It’s America and its capitalist-imperialist system that has “taken advantage” of everyone else, treating the planet’s atmosphere like a CO2 dump, and making the rest of the world pay dearly.

This is already having devastating impacts in the oppressed, often impoverished countries of the “Global South.” And as one environmentalist put it, “The countries that have done the least to cause the problem are suffering first and worst.” Yet Trump claims the Green Climate Fund (set up to give the appearance that the world’s big powers were addressing global warming’s disproportionate impact on the Global South) “is costing the United States a vast fortune,” and declared it would no longer contribute. Fact: so far it’s cost the U.S. a pittance—$1 billion, a third of what it spends every month waging its unjust, imperialist war in Afghanistan. As Amnesty International stated, Trump is saying “Let them drown, burn, and starve” to billions of oppressed people.

No, the Paris accord was not forged to benefit “other countries.” The Paris process was led by the Obama administration, along with other global powers, who were attempting to “manage” the climate crisis in ways they thought would best preserve their oppressive systems and advance their global interests. Each country picked its own targets for reducing carbon emissions, and all were voluntary.

And no, the Paris accord did not impose stifling restrictions on the operation of global capitalism to stop the climate apocalypse. Limiting global warming to a 1.5 degree Celsius rise above preindustrial levels is essential to limiting its catastrophic impacts. Yet even if every country’s targets were actually met, which is highly unlikely, global temperatures would still rise 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F)—which, as the New York Times pointed out, is “the threshold deemed unacceptably risky.” And right now, temperatures are currently heading toward a cataclysmic rise of 3 degrees C or more.

Any Recognition of Climate Change or Any International Regulation Intolerable for Trump Fascists

The Trump/Pence regime certainly isn’t breaking with the Paris deal because it doesn’t sufficiently address climate change. (Trump’s talk of renegotiating the Paris accord was, if anything, a threat to try and wreck any meaningful international climate regulation.) As we’ve noted, “In Trump’s view, and in the view of his most hard-core supporters, even recognizing that there is a problem of global climate change is unacceptable.”

Trump’s rejection of the Paris accord represents another leap in the Trump/Pence drive to consolidate fascism. A core element of that fascist program is removing even the most minimal constraints on U.S. capitalism-imperialism’s predatory exploitation and plunder, including environmental regulations. The regime has already begun gutting the EPA and regulations on coal-fired power plants, auto emissions, oil and gas drilling, and more, while accelerating the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

The Trump/Pence regime may have feared the Paris accord could have created a legal basis for court challenges against Trump’s rollback of environmental regulation, as 22 Republican Senators claimed in a letter to Trump. But others have argued that since the Paris accord’s targets are voluntary, Trump could have rolled back regulations and still stayed within the agreement.

This points to the larger—fascist—reasons for repudiating the Paris accord: it is part of the Trump/Pence regime’s drive to more aggressively assert U.S. global power and dominance around the world, including by setting new terms with other global powers—without being constrained by existing international law, norms, treaties, or the like. This is all being done under the rubric of the “reassertion of American sovereignty,” as if the world’s most lying, double-dealing super-predator is suddenly its biggest sucker and main victim.

Welding a Fascist “America First” Social Base

Trump’s “America First” rejection of the Paris accord also marked an emphatic declaration that the Trump/Pence cabal remains hell bent on beating back its opponents—”obstructionists” as Trump called them—and continuing its forced march to consolidate the fascist regime.

Trump’s pledge to put “no other consideration before the well-being of American citizens” and his demagogic promises of jobs and wealth are also aimed at further welding a fascist base in society. A social base cohered around white supremacy, male supremacy, and America First jingoism—a social base which doesn’t give a fuck about humanity or the planet, only their most narrow, perceived interests. A base for which anything goes in the name of “Making America Great Again”—including whipped-up legions like the unrepentant Portland Nazi slasher who screamed from jail, “Death to the enemies of America. ... You call it terrorism. I call it patriotism.”

That’s what Trump is counting on to bludgeon, terrorize, and silence his opponents—not votes, legal niceties or winning over public opinion. And let’s face it. “America First” is just Hitler’s “Deutschland über alles” (“Germany above all”) translated into English.

You Won’t Oust Trump/Pence and Save the Planet by Putting “America First”

The enormity of the danger posed by the fascist Trump and U.S. capitalism-imperialism to the planet is nearly impossible to overstate. It is not just threatening billions in the here and now, it’s threatening future generations—even jeopardizing the existence of future generations.

In 2016, a study published in Science Advances magazine found that if the world kept burning fossil fuels as it is, global temperatures could rise twice as high as previously predicted, pushing “Earth’s climate out of the envelope of temperature conditions that have prevailed for the last 784,000 years.” Leading climate scientist Michael Mann said this study “does indeed provide support for the notion that a Donald Trump presidency could be game over for the climate.”

This must not be allowed to happen. The withdrawal from the Paris accord should be met with mass defiant actions and growing determination to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power and halting its escalating assault on the environment and humanity’s chances of survival.

This should also be a time millions reflect on why we’re in such a dire situation and what to do about it. This means confronting the fascist nature of the Trump/Pence regime, but it also means facing the fact that just going back to the Democrats and the Paris accord will not stop the climate crisis and save the planet either. The problem is deeper, rooted in the very nature and workings of the capitalist-imperialist system—which the Trump/Pence regime is an extreme expression of, as Hitler was an extreme expression of German imperialism at a time of stress and crisis.

As the Revolution/ special issue on the environment pointed out, “Capitalism as a system cannot deal with the environment in a sustainable and rational way—even if an individual capitalist, or group of capitalists, sincerely wanted to. Capitalism cannot cope with the many-sided effects of its own production. Capitalism cannot plan for future generations.”

But there IS an actual alternative—a society with a different economic and political system, different relations between people and values, which would enable humanity to deal with the environmental catastrophe now looming. This is socialism—and the Constitution for such a society, written by Bob Avakian and adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America)—lays this out, as well as addressing the myriad other contradictions and horrors that the current capitalist-imperialist system just cannot deal with.

This Constitution stresses that in all spheres of government and social activity, the new socialist state will energetically address the environmental emergency, uniting with people around the world to do so. For instance, one of the three core principles for guiding social production and economic development will be “Protecting, preserving, and enhancing the ecosystems and biodiversity of the planet for current and future generations.”

As people go forward to drive out the Trump/Pence regime, the question of what kind of society humanity needs to get out of this madness must be part of the dialogue.




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