Yesterday, President Trump announced the United States is “getting out” of the Paris Climate Accord. The US is responsible for one-fifth of all global emissions, putting it in second place behind China. But it will no longer be part of, much less lead in, the solution to a problem it has helped create. The US is shirking its moral obligation to the people of this planet and its own citizens in its refusal to accept truth and its unwillingness to hold up its end of the bargain.
“So we’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”
By viewing international relations as a zero-sum game in which America must always come first, Trump fails to understand that global climate change will only be solved through compromise and collaboration. For him, it’s “fine” to lose precious time fighting climate disaster if it means we “win.” It’s “fine” to let the rest of the world clean up after us. It’s “fine” to put short term profit first and let our children and grandchildren figure out how to deal with the long term consequences of that decision.
“We’re getting out.”
We’re getting out of our responsibility to the planet that is our home. We’re getting out of our responsibility to our children and to their children, and to their children’s children. We’re getting out of our fair share of the work we need to do as a global community to try to stop this massive ball we set in motion from crushing us all.
Because “that’s fair.”
It’s fair to let countries like El Salvador pick up the pieces. A country that has done little to contribute to the problem (it is responsible for 0.03% of global emissions), and a country that likely stands to suffer the most as a result (El Salvador is consistently ranked among the world’s most vulnerable to climate-related impacts).
This decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord is fundamentally unfair. In his words, Trump is “putting America first” when in reality he is putting America last in the global battle against climate change. He is putting future Americans last by making them suffer the consequences of his reckless decision. And he is putting countries like El Salvador last by making them pick up our tab and do our dirty work. President Trump is putting President Trump first. Not only is it not fair, but it’s dangerous for the rest of us.
Climate change is a reality in El Salvador, not a hoax. And it is felt more with every passing year. 95 percent of its population lives in areas considered to be extremely vulnerable to climate change threats.* Extreme weather events, including flooding and severe drought, not only threaten El Salvador’s fragile ecosystems but also threaten the livelihoods of underserved and vulnerable rural communities.
It is now up to the rest of us to do what we can to stand in solidarity with these communities. Climate change is a global problem with local consequences, and local organizations are leading the charge to confront this issue. EcoViva works with these community organizations to strengthen their resilience in the face of a rapidly changing climate. By mobilizing funds and technical assistance to help our partners protect and restore critical areas of mangrove forest and ensure viable, long-term livelihoods, we are helping build climate-smart communities.
If the President of our country refuses to do his part, you can still do your part. Join the fight.
Donate now to stand with communities in El Salvador as they stand up to climate change by restoring their mangrove forests and preparing for natural disasters.
*Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, 2010: 96. Cited in Winds of change for facing climate change in El Salvador: Foundations for a National Strategy, 2012.