The Meadows School

What we owe to the world

There were representatives of one hundred and ninety-six parties in France when the Paris Climate Accord was ratified, with one hundred and seventy-four of the UNFCCC members becoming party to it. There is a universal agreement that climate change is a threat to the global community and that without drastic measures taken against it, there are several extremely serious possibilities that the world will face grave changes.

On June 1, 2017, the 45 President of the United States of America announced that “the Paris accord will undermine (the U.S.) economy…and puts (the U.S.) at a permanent disadvantage” and withdrew from this pact. Although according to Article 28 of the Paris Agreement, the United States cannot withdraw before November 4, 2020, the implications of the decision are just as serious as the day it was announced.

One of the key industries that the president wishes to protect by nullifying several environmental protection acts is coal. Coal provides for around 30 percent of the total sources of electricity generation in the United States in 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, coal employed only 76,572 people, including miners, office workers, sales staff and all other employees in 2014, which is half of the car wash industry which employed 150,019 in the same year.

Although the president maintains his stance that he will “put our miners back to work,” since November 8, 2016, more than six coal plants have announced their closing, and forty more are expected to close. By the end of 2016, the coal industry employed only approximately 50,000 which is the lowest number of coal miners in 125 years. According to the Washington Post, industry experts have reported that employment in the coal industry will continue to decline, with an expected forty plants closing before 2020.

Although “45” wishes to advance the U.S. economy by ignoring the repercussions of climate change, his cutbacks from the Environmental Protection Agency budget cost 15,000 Americans their jobs, resulting in a total decrease of 41,572 people unemployed since 2014. Thus, not only has ignoring the repercussions of climate change not assisted the United States economy, it has also caused serious environmental repercussions.

According to the New York Times, due to the two billion dollar cut from the EPA, research in screening for chemicals found in “pesticides, plastics, shampoos and cosmetics” as well as many other daily items which has been linked to “breast cancer..and hypospadias.”

Facing the issues set by overuse of resources actually assists the American economy by increasing competitiveness in the global market. 35 percent of Fortune 500 companies and 6,000 organizations nationwide work with the Energy Star program and have reported that it assists their businesses in marketing as well as in saving costs for further employment.

The pullback against this decision has been enormous; 141 countries spoke out against this decision. 25 of the world’s largest companies, employing more than 1,631,000 and providing health insurance to more than 106 million Americans. General Motors has also stated that their “position on climate change has not changed…[they] publicly advocate for climate action.” Goldman Sachs CEO has described this as “a setback for the environment and for the U.S’s leadership in the world.”

Thus, it is clear that although the president, the vice-president, and the speaker of the house would have you believe that the removal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accord is the correct decision for the economy and for the coal industry.

Not only is this action detrimental to the domestic economy, it has caused increased tensions in foreign affairs as the president and his actions are being condemned by one hundred and forty-one leaders of countries which are necessary for the maintenance of domestic affairs. The implications of this for the global community as a whole immediately begins with a loss of jobs for thousands of people and ends with serious climate repercussions for the world.