Speaking from the Rose Garden, Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the United States will formally withdraw from the international climate change accord reached in Paris in 2015. The withdrawl process will take more than three years, and it may or may not ultimately have much effect on the pace of climate change here and abroad, but it’s is undoubtedly a significant symbolic statement about the current administration’s attitude toward fossil fuels and international cooperation. Trump’s centrist-ish daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly urged him not to withdraw from the agreement, and given that these thirtysomething dilettantes are—God help us—the president’s most trusted advisers, it was perhaps for their mollification that he made several rhetorical stabs Thursday toward the possibility of renegotiating a new climate pact. The highlight was probably this doozy of a run-on journey through the mind of a madman (video above):
I’m willing to immediately work with Democratic leaders to either negotiate our way back into Paris, under the terms that are fair to the United States and its workers, or to negotiate a new deal that protects our country and its taxpayers. So if the obstructionists want to get together with me, let’s make them nonobstructionists. We’ll all sit down, and we’ll get back into the deal, and we’ll make it good, and we won’t be closing up our factories, and we won’t be losing our jobs, and we’ll sit down with the Democrats and all of the people that represent either the Paris accord, or something that we can do that’s much better than the Paris accord, and I think the people of our country will be thrilled, and I think then the people of the world will be thrilled. But until we do that, we’re out of the agreement.
1. Not being able to name, or even coherently describe, the group of entities who you want to meet with may be a sign that you have not really thought in detail about putting a given agreement together. “We’ll sit down with … all of the people that represent either the Paris accord, or something that we can do that’s much better than the Paris accord.”
2. Even if this were a real goal, negotiating the Paris Agreement in the first place took four years, and it seems less than likely that an administration that has not yet even come close to passing major legislation through a Congress held by its own party is going to be able to herd 190-ish countries into a completely new pact. In fact, two key European signatories, and also Italy, have already said they’re not interested:
Will Trump really be able to “make [the global regime of cooperative climate change mitigation] good” and win back his daughter’s affection? Only time will tell! (No.)