Perhaps Donald Trump thinks he’s being clever about his plans to take America out of the Paris Climate Accord; teasing reporters, putting out hints through surrogates, pretending there is something that might change his paranoid mind when it comes to climate change. We’re not fooled.
The climate-change deniers – like their brethren in the Flat Earth Society – can insist that the wild temperature swings, record drought followed by record rainfall, shrinking polar ice caps, global temperature increases, etc., are all cyclical. But we have more faith the thousands of scientists who debunk such simplistic explanations. Trump’s claim that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese would be laughable if not for his power to remove our government from the Accords.
Regardless, Trump cannot change the fact that the vast majority of Americans disagree with him. So does the rest of the world. There were 195 nations that signed the Paris Accord; only Nicaragua and Syria refused. Now it appears Trump would have us join them.
UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland writes in an op-ed posted on www.modbee.com Wednesday that we should not lose heart. More people now work in clean energy fields than in the entire fossil fuel industry. Roughly 400 cities across America have pledged to cut carbon pollution and 60 have set emissions targets that exceed the Paris agreement.
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From NASA to the American Geophysical Union to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, some 20 scientific associations worldwide have confirmed human-caused climate change. Leland and 20 other college presidents and chancellors have formed the Climate Leadership Network. Clearly, momentum is building.
In short, more of the world is thinking like Californians.
Legislation moving through Sacramento will require 100 percent zero-carbon electricity over the next generation. Others are working to insulate California from any White House attempt to roll back federal environmental standards, exploit public lands, punish whistleblowers or corrupt scientific data. Attorney General Xavier Becerra is preparing to fight any attempt to challenge the federal waiver that allows California to effectively set national fuel economy standards.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown headed for China to sell cities and provinces on California’s approach – renewable energy, ambitious goals and a cap-and-trade system for restraining greenhouse gas emissions. Some 170 jurisdictions worldwide have signed onto Gov. Brown’s pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Californians have truly embraced solar power, radically cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Our air resources board is pushing to have 4 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030 with California-based Tesla helping to make it cool.
For all of Trump’s claims that environmental rules have been job killers, California – the world’s sixth-largest economy – has shown that saving the planet and economic growth aren’t mutually exclusive. There were 100,000 solar jobs in California alone last year while only 75,000 people worked in coal mining nationwide.
It takes strength to ignore a master media manipulator like Trump. And it is disheartening to know our nation will not stand with the rest of the world in confronting this challenge. We once had a president who stood by Germans – on the planet’s behalf – with the statement “ich bin ein Berliner.”
Now we invite other Americans to stand with us. Our battle cry translates: “We are all Californians.”