The Silver Lining to Pulling out of the Paris Agreement

by Natalie Michalski

Before you prepare to bash this article, let me explain.

I recently engaged in a friendly, albeit heated, debate with someone who flat out said they do not believe in climate change. She told me there was no scientific evidence to support humans causing the climate to change. Additionally, she told me that if climate change were real and posed a dangerous threat, the government would step in and protect us.

Everything she said stunned me.

I like to pride myself on being a person who is always open to new and opposing ideas, because that is how progress and change are made.

However, I struggled to keep my composure during that conversation. The science is there. The facts are real. Climate change is happening, and it’s happening faster thanks to us. Don’t believe me? Ask the 97% of scientists who agree on anthropogenic climate change.

After that chat, I began to realize that so many people in our country don’t know all the facts and think they do. The problem begins with people closing their minds to the possibility of being wrong. And what information they are fed, they listen and accept it without refuting it or challenging someone who is in a position of power because, like this person I debated with, people believe those in authoritative positions know what’s best for us.

I can tell you this: President Trump does not know what is best for us. If he did, he wouldn’t have announced his decision to pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement, joining only two other countries in the world. While this is no shock to many as he promised this during his campaign, it’s no less alarming.

Even though technically President Trump’s decision to pull us from the agreement wouldn’t take effect until 2020, his announcement shook the world, angrily. Heads were shaking, eyes were rolling, hearts were sinking.

What President Trump fails to realize and communicate with the nation is how voluntary the whole agreement is. There is so much flexibility for each country to set their own standards to achieve the overall end goal of not allowing global average temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius. In order for that to not happen, carbon emissions need to be reduced, drastically and quickly. Hence why now is such a critical time.

As the second highest carbon dioxide polluting country in the world, right behind China, it is our duty and responsibility to help the world prevent this disaster from happening.

Unfortunately, President Trump appears to be stuck in the past and set on investing where he sees immediate, tangible profit. Enter coal.

The fact of the matter is that coal is a dying industry. As researchers and institutions invest more time and money into ways that make the transition to renewable energy quicker, it also is becoming cheaper. The quicker it becomes cheaper, the more readily available it will be for Americans to incorporate it into their daily lives. More jobs will open up – in fact, they already are. Renewable energy industries like solar and wind are generating jobs 12 times faster than other sectors of the economy.

And so, here comes the silver lining: President Trump pulling out of the Paris agreement was a huge wake up call, and people in this country are hearing it.

On June 5th of 2017, a press release cited over 125 cities, 9 states, 902 businesses & investors, 183 colleges & universities pledging to uphold the Paris agreement, with those numbers continuing to rise every day.

The uproar from President Trump’s decision was loud and clear. There is power in numbers. And the more people begin to fully understand the facts, and question things for themselves, the more our voices can be heard. President’s Trump’s decision isn’t end-game for our country. It’s the spark our country needed to realize the severity of the situation we are faced with, and prepare to face climate change head on.