Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement: An Un-American Tactic

June 12, 2017

Over the last 20 years, Bluesource has been a pioneer and leader in environmental markets. Along the way, we’ve occupied a front-row seat as America’s politicians have alternatively embraced and rejected climate science and consequences, occasionally advocating and opposing widely divergent positions within a matter of weeks.  We have observed mainstream America struggling with conflicting voices and agendas regarding climate change while personally experiencing its effects.  Our clients and customers, often the most successful in their business sectors, have worked through the cost-benefit ratio of early, and occasionally solitary, action supporting climate leadership.  Today, we observe the prevalent cultural view that climate change is negatively impacting both vulnerable and developed societies.

President Trump’s decision last week to cast off a world-wide climate covenant called the Paris Agreement took no one by surprise; then-candidate Trump made no attempt to disguise his contempt for the agreement.    The President contends that deal-making is at the heart of the phrase “Make America Great Again.” That America is great when it makes “really really great deals.”  That when America “wins,” this is the true spirit of our great country.

We strongly disagree with this perception of the essential character of Americans.  Are we competitive, ambitious, and resilient? Without a doubt. We also deal fairly, seek to live “with malice toward none,” and desire relational integrity in which our word is our bond.  We do not seek to disadvantage others for our own economic gain.  And more often than not, when others are at risk of harm, we have sought to protect and defend them.

This is also the very essence of the Paris accord, an agreement among essentially all organized inhabitants of our planet that alignment of purpose is now necessary in order to avoid the harm that climate change has brought and will continue to bring to the entire world. The Paris Agreement is an American Agreement in its nature, in the reform it seeks and in collective assembly it represents.

The Paris agreement was criticized across the political spectrum, both by those who felt it went too far and by those who felt that it did not go far enough.  But it represented a starting point in which, for the first time in human history, virtually every country in the world made some kind of commitment and acknowledged some kind of responsibility.  To withdraw from this hard-fought, world-wide alliance for some perceived incremental financial gain—and at the expense of future generations—is unquestionably un-American. At best, Mr. Trump’s action is an offensive and arrogant negotiating ploy. At worst, it is greed beyond measure.

For Bluesource’s part, our company and its leadership are dedicated to local, regional, and national efforts to bring about unity in America’s understanding of the realities and risks of climate change.  We have been at this work for the last two decades.  We will energetically and with intellectual diligence and economic fairness continue to deliver solutions for the common good.  In the face of the Trump administration’s repudiation of this agreement, we will work shoulder to shoulder with our clients and colleagues from the business, NGO and government sectors to ensure strong American participation in and support for actions to mitigate climate change.

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to
succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”
― Abraham Lincoln

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