Is Paris Burning?

June 1, 2017


We won’t  know what Trump’s take on the Paris agreement is till this afternoon, but here are some alternative takes.

Ken Ward in The Hill:

I welcome pulling out of the Paris agreement because it will disrupt our complacency and strengthen the most vigorous avenues of climate action left to us, which are through the courts and direct citizen action. It lends much more credence to the Our Children’s Trust legal argument  that the federal government has utterly failed in its responsibility to consider the long-term impact of carbon emissions. It advances the arguments of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund in their federal lawsuit for the right to a livable climate. And it strengthens the case for climate activists attempting to raise the “necessity defense” as a justification for citizen climate action, as I and my fellow “valve turners” are doing as we face criminal charges for shutting off emergency valves on oil sands pipelines.

It’s also true that withdrawal from Paris deprives mainstream environmental organizations and the foundations and funders that guide them of a key deliverable, and that could risk eroding support for them. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. Many of them have pursued an utterly bankrupt strategy of understating the climate problem, negotiating with the fossil fuel industry, and cherry-picking small victories to showcase organizational accomplishments at the expense of a functional movement strategy.

Pulling out of Paris takes false hopes off the table, and opens the way for building an effective climate movement. So as committed climate activist who knows we’re running out of time, I say, let’s get on with it.

Ken Ward is a former deputy director of Greenpeace going on trial next week on felony charges for shutting down an oil sands pipeline to prevent harm to the climate. 

Important to recognize that just saying “we’re pulling out” does not make it so.

Meanwhile, the momentum behind the agreement is overwhelmingly moral and economic, not legal. So tearing up the contract does not make it go away.

Alex Steffen on Twitter:

It’s vital to see what a turning point Paris was: The first time the leaders of all humanity chose an ecological future for our planet.

Yes, Paris is insufficiently ambitious. Yes, it lacks teeth.

It is, nonetheless, a landmark agreement.

The cheers in Paris at the signing of the Paris Agreement were also the death knell of fossil fuels.

That’s what agreeing to 2º means.

Y’know who’s super-clear about that?

Oil investors.

They know boldly pursuing 2º would mean never developing another oil field, again.

They know that 2º means shutting down coal plants, blocking pipelines, refusing new extraction, ending massive dirty energy subsidies

They also know it means that their holdings are worth a fraction of what they’re claiming—what finance experts call The Carbon Bubble.

They also know wind, solar, batteries, EVs, green building design, rapid construction, and low-car cities are experiencing breakthroughs.

A zero-carbon future is not only achievable, it’s getting competitive enough to disrupt fossil fuels on purely economic grounds.

Drops in valuation are drops in power. A falling industry loses the political leverage it needs to stave off disruptive competitors.

Tha ability of fossil fuel industries to maintain the perception of future value’s critical to the political power to continue business.

Because, when push comes to shove, burning fossil fuels is morally wrong, extremely dangerous & largely unnecessary in practical terms.

Which is why Paris is not dead, even if the US leaves.

Indeed, I expect we’ll see more aggressive action, even CO2 tariffs.

It’s also why any journalist/pundit who isn’t treating Trump’s entire energy/climate stance as one big con is being played for a sucker.

It’s all one big attempt on the part of a bunch of carbon cronies, to get one last big score before the whole thing crashes.

t’s reckless and immoral. It will delay climate action, and thus do harm to billions of people. But at its core, it’s still just a con.

Russia’s part of this, as I’ve written.

But there are victories, the great California poet Robinson Jeffers wrote, that breed their own defeats.

I’m a futurist, so let me foretell: Trump trashing Paris will enrage & inspire a new, radically ambitious American climate movement.

Trump’s gang may think they’ve won, because they’ve created the perception that little can now be done, that fossil fuels are inevitable

They’re wrong.

I expect they won’t even keep us out of Paris for longer than his term. We’ll re-join.

More, they’re ensured that now is the moment when climate politics begins to grow and accelerate.

Climate will central in 2018, 2020.

And when we come, we’re not going to be coming looking for a few gestures—some subsidies, a little cap-and-trade, a few weak regulations

Nope, this movement’s going to demand the building of a carbon-zero nation, starting now.

The GOP has chosen to stand between a huge majority of the American people and our jobs, our values, our security, our kids’ futures.

So don’t mourn Paris, ready yourself—gather your allies, hone your thinking.

The most important political fight of your life has begun.




6 Responses to “Is Paris Burning?”

  1. vierotchka Says:

    In full agreement.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    IMO, it’s time to say “bring it on” and slug it out. The Pussy Grabber just keeps doing and saying one outrageous thing after another with few real consequences, and sooner or later , people will need to rise up in anger and REALLY do something to stop him. Sooner is better in the case of climate change, since we are running out of time and even just a delay while the Orange Asshole plays his ego games may prove fatal for the planet.

    I’ve saved my 3 signs from the Climate March, and I’m going to be holding them up on the north side of the White House soon. They say:


  3. Sir Charles Says:

    Tens of thousands of science teachers in the US have recently received an unsolicited booklet titled “Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming”, which looks like a scientific report. It was published by the Heartland Institute (self-described as a “free-market think tank”), which plans to send a copy to every public school science teacher in the nation—more than 200,000 K-12 teachers.

    => Report Heartland Institute sent to influence US teachers on climate change earns an “F” from scientists

    • Would have been an ideal opportunity to save mailing costs and include a report on healthy cigarettes and a free carton of product to sample. Heartland really missed the boat on that one.

  4. Sir Charles Says:

    World’s Biggest Companies to Trump: Stay in Paris Agreement

    But Trump says goodbye to the agreement his country once signed with the result that the world is now saying goodbye to the US.

    World Doubles Down on Climate Action, Prepares to Lead Without U.S.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: