Health Data Buzz Editorial
There are not many worldwide efforts, generally, where most nations overwhelmingly agree. The Paris climate agreement is one of those. And it’s a doozy: the future of human health at stake.
The goal is to reduce air pollution, have cleaner technologies, improved air quality, or as a Harvard news article put it a few years ago, the prospect of “fewer droughts, low-carbon, (a) climate resilient future, less disruption to agriculture and food supplies and a dietary shift to less meat and more plants.”
“This is a strong agreement for public health, probably one of the biggest we’ll sign this century,” María Neira, director of the World Health Organization’s Department of Public Health and Environment, was quoted at a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health meeting.
The world was so happy when China and the United States formally joined the Paris agreement, with those two countries, Russia, India, Japan, and Germany accounting for over 55 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. ranks second to China as the nation’s top greenhouse gas emitters.
“The Paris Agreement is an ambitious, dynamic and universal agreement. It covers all countries and all emissions and is designed to last. This is a monumental agreement. It solidifies international cooperation for climate change. It provides a way forward,” United Nations officials said in a Q and A,
“The agreement provides a pathway forward to limit temperature rise to well below 2 degrees, maybe even 1.5. The agreement provides a mechanism to increase the level of ambition.”
Part of that effort is the Green Climate Fund described as a “unique global initiative to respond to climate change by investing into low-emission and climate resilient development.” It adds: “Given the urgency and seriousness of the challenge, the Fund is mandated to make an ambitious contribution to the united global response to climate change.”
“Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. The human impact on our planet is unprecedented. Long-term changes in the earth’s climate system are significant,” the fund states.
Many pro-earth organizations have been unabashed in their support of the Paris agreement.
“Dozens of American mayors—spread throughout the U.S.—sent an open letter calling on the President to continue being an active participant in the Paris agreement. These local elected officials know that their constituents want more action on climate and that global action is needed,” National Resources Defense Council wrote earlier this year. “States and provinces around the world also benefit from the mechanisms of cooperation that the Paris Agreement has built. State, provincial and local governments in the Under2 Coalition, led by California, have secured commitments to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050 across 165 different jurisdictions. These areas represent close to $26 trillion, or one-third of global GDP.”
To all this and much more, President Trump’s response: “We’re getting out.”
The go-with-the-gut President announced his decision for the U.S. to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and as The Washington Post reported today, “relied on dubious facts and unbalanced claims” to make his case.
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he said, making his announcement. “I promised I would exit or renegotiate any deal which fails to serve America’s interests. Many trade deals will soon be under renegotiation,” Trump said. “Very rarely do we have a deal that works for this country, but they’ll soon be under renegotiation. The process has begun from day one. But now we’re down to business.”
Trump said the Paris accord was “yet another scheme to redistribute wealth out of the United States through the so-called Green Climate Fund — nice name — which calls for developed countries to send $100 billion to developing countries all on top of America’s existing and massive foreign aid payments.”
“So we’re going to be paying billions and billions and billions of dollars, and we’re already way ahead of anybody else. Many of the other countries haven’t spent anything, and many of them will never pay one dime,” Trump said.