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Klein writes: "It's time to communicate with this President in the only language he appears to understand: money."

Turning their backs. (photo: Jim Watson/Getty Images)
Turning their backs. (photo: Jim Watson/Getty Images)

Economic Pressure Could Jolt Trump Into Action on Climate Change

By Naomi Klein, New York Daily News

07 June 17


et’s just give up. That’s one way of responding to the reports that President Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord.

After all, without the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases onboard, what point is there in any of us doing our part to try to prevent catastrophic climate change? Time to focus on yoga and juicing and what the kids today call “self-care.” Or maybe there’s a recreational drug that will make serial disasters seem exciting. Oh, and if you are really rich, it’s time to join the movement of high-end preppers and invest in some land on higher ground.

No, wait a minute, that’s . . . monstrous. Monstrous to people in Sri Lanka, where hundreds were killed in recent days in the midst of deadly mudslides and flooding. Monstrous to people in India and Pakistan, where thousands have died in heat waves in recent years.

Monstrous to the people in the United States who cannot afford to escape the worst impacts of storms like Sandy and Katrina, and whose homes and communities are already disappearing because of coastal erosion, from Alaska to Louisiana.

Today, I feel the same way about the urgency of climate action as I did yesterday: The threat is so grave that it is immoral to waste even a moment pondering our chances of success. So long as there is any chance of keeping temperatures below truly catastrophic levels, we have an unbreakable responsibility to do everything in our power to increase those chances.

And that means deploying every tool in the policy, activist and judicial arsenal to lower emissions. Since Trump has effectively turned the federal government into a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, from here on in, the rule of thumb needs to be: Every domain that he does not control needs to fully commit to being ExxonMobil’s worst nightmare.

Mayor de Blasio just announced that he plans to “sign an executive order maintaining New York City’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.” That’s good news. So is the ongoing investigation by New York’s attorney general into whether ExxonMobil misled shareholders about climate risks. And we need more examples like these.

Large states like New York and California need to commit to getting to 100% renewable energy as fast as current technology allows (and fortunately, that’s very fast). We also need states and cities to show that policies that decrease emissions don’t have to drive up prices or drive down employment; on the contrary, they can be designed to bring better, cheaper services and unionized jobs to those who are currently the most economically excluded.

Universities, faith institutions, foundations and trade unions need to use their endowments and pension funds to starve out the fossil fuel sector and bet big on clean energy.

And if Trump does indeed pull the U.S. out of Paris, Americans should prepare themselves for the possibility that other countries will impose trade and economic sanctions on the United States. This idea is gaining traction quickly, especially because Trump has been so quick to threaten economic retaliation against anyone who doesn’t follow his America-first dictates. It’s now much easier to imagine major trading partners responding to a Paris pullout by imposing penalties on U.S. goods, particularly those with a high carbon footprint.

This kind of tactic, if it went beyond threats, could have painful impacts on the U.S. economy. But it might provoke Trump to reconsider — and if he didn’t, it could cause him serious political damage with the very sectors where he made the most extravagant job-creation promises.

It’s difficult for any country to accept the idea that it might deserve (or even benefit from) outside economic sanctions. But consider this: The United States has imposed sanctions on others — South Africa and Iran are two examples — when it felt the moral case was clear and the stakes were high. It’s impossible to argue that an existential threat like climate disruption, and a rogue action like Trump’s, does not far surpass that bar.

Over the past four months, America’s allies have tried to use charm to get Trump to see the light on climate change. He has been cajoled by European and Chinese leaders. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau snapped a picture with Ivanka sitting behind her father’s desk in the Oval Office and even took her to the theater.

We now know that none of it worked. It’s time to communicate with this President in the only language he appears to understand: money. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+17 # Wise woman 2017-06-07 10:31
Even the Pope tried to talk some common sense to trump. Obviously, it went in one ear and out the other. As we used to say back in high school, "because there was nothing there to stop it." We can't depend on trump to take the high ground in any of his decisions. That's a given. As a country and its people, matters of grave importance must be dealt with on a local level for the common good. Bernies message in a nutshell.
+20 # LionMousePudding 2017-06-07 11:07
Yes, renewable 100%. Quit this kick the can down the road of 50% by 2060, or whatever useless goal we are supposed to be satisfied with. Now. Everything. Grids are powered by solar, wind, etc. There are green options to your electric bill in many places. I've felt it's probably a scam to sign up; but if lots, most of us signed up it would literally be a mandate. Right now they can do 5% renewable and make 3% of consumers think they are making a difference. But if even 20% (I am pulling these numbers out of a hat but you get the jist) of us signed over to renewable, the power grids, after a period of lying I suppose, would have to change.

Demand electric cars. Demand power charging stations everywhere. Get on city councils to help make choices about public transportation.

I may be an armchair warrior (as necessary in my situation) but maybe my ideas can spur action. And as I am moving, I will see if there is a renewable option for my electric bill.
+3 # ericlipps 2017-06-08 17:38
You can demand everything now, and get nothing, or push for everything as fast as possible and have some hope of getting some or all of what you want in time to stave off utter catastrophe (I think it's too late to avoid disaster).
+22 # jwb110 2017-06-07 11:21
Foreign countries and the UN need to act and take Trump on his threats. The threat of leaving the Paris Accords shout be taken up by the remaining members by taking the US off the accords for Trump. He is now threatening to leave a committee in the UN
that has questioned Israel's threat against the Palestine issue. He wants the committee to take a pro-Israel stance or he'll pick up his toys and go home.
In both cases those organizations should just remove the US from the Accords and from that committee. The threat is meant to give him a bargaining position by never really following thru with the threat. Give him his walking papers and his threat becomes hollow and the Accords and the committee can get back to business. The US has not nearly the power that Trump seems to think it has if the countries he has threatened just take him out of the mix. These people trade with the US and they hardly see us as Partners now that they are faced with a bully. The rest of the world has little to fear if they only stand together. As an Empire the US is in decline. A new day Mussolini is not going to change that. Trump has decided that the US is not going to be the leader that it was to add resolve to global changes that need to happen. The rest of the world can do it and not have to be strong armed by the US any longer. Take a bully up on his threats and it is the sorriest day in that bully's life. The US will survive. Trump won't.
+1 # IAMMe 2017-06-07 16:10
Ok. How about a more specific suggestion? Please elaborate.
+6 # Inspired Citizen 2017-06-07 16:37
While states can and need to take the lead in energy transformation, that alone will not be enough. People need to CUT back on energy consumption in as many ways as we can manage. We the people can become a "parliament of consumers."
+8 # Kimc 2017-06-07 18:35
There are lots of new inventions out there on the horizon, waiting to help us go 100% renewable. We have one of our own, almost ready for market (after 8 or 9 years in development) and we are just "garage inventors", so there must be many out there we haven't heard of. We will change over successfully. The question that remains is, "Will the fossil fuel industry pull down the USA with it when it dies?" We should not chain ourselves to a dying industry.
+10 # lfeuille 2017-06-07 19:17
The thing is, Trump doesn't really care about the impact of the countries economy, he only cares about the impact on his own bottom line, so other countries would only have to impose sanctions on Trump industries, not the entire country.
-3 # RNLDaWy 2017-06-09 20:47
Keep selling the Koolade Naomi. More shameful gaming of Michael mann his minions on CO2 radicalizing climate. She does not know what she is talking about. To claim that is why there is radical weather which there always has been and will be and now puts the blame for natural weather disasters is the kind of inflammatory 'politics of fear' driven by the Dem Party and their false 'science' PR Minions!!!!!!!! !!!!1

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