A friend recently shared two letters from the June 10 Reader on the Paris Climate Agreement (PCA) and asked me to help find common ground between two disparate points of view. Dan McDonald opposed PCA because it holds the U.S. to a higher standard than other nations, and will yield few results in return for its high cost. Art Piltch and Nancy Garth argued that climate change is a serious issue that we ignore at our peril, and that Trump’s arguments are lies that promote fear over truth. Interestingly, both letters agreed that climate change is real and human caused, we need to take sensible actions, and that the U.S. is making progress. Let’s build from this common ground.
McDonald is correct that the PCA has a strong economic component, and is only a small step. We made some bold commitments, but they were voluntary. We can slow down if they become too expensive. The PCA does hold the U.S. to a higher standard. It should! As the world’s most powerful nation, we have a greater obligation. The PCA is a small step, but a journey is a series of many small steps. Solving climate change is a journey that requires global teamwork and leadership that only the U.S. can provide.
Piltch and Garth are correct that climate change is a serious issue, most Americans accept its reality, and that Trump told some pretty big whoppers. For example, the PCA does not give China and India a “free ride” with respect to coal plants. Coal is not even mentioned in these agreements. Claims of job losses are also misleading. “Green technology” industries are one of the strongest components of the U.S. economy, increasing job growth. “Green technologies” are also a cornerstone of China’s economic expansion.
We can work together to grow our economy, protect our children’s future, and renew America’s global leadership. We can fulfill our moral obligations. We can solve this problem by influencing the billions of small decisions that people make each day. Change the nature of the global economy by “making polluters pay”. This will (1) encourage different choices, and (2) focus the power of American innovation on this challenge. The Citizen’s Climate Lobby has proposed an economic solution that attacks this challenge from a small government, business friendly perspective. Learn more about this grassroots movement at https://citizensclimatelobby.org/, we’d love for you to join us.