So, now that President Trump’s decision on Paris has sunk in, what is the worldwide reaction?
Like so much that involves Trump, there’s plenty of material to choose from.
To start with, the president made lots of what the Washington Post calls “fishy claims” about the Paris Accord. Their “Fact Checker” analysis did a good round-up of his misstatements—such as the claim that China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants while we cannot. This is flat-out false, “there is nothing in the agreement that stops the United States from building coal plants, or gives the permission to China or India to build coal plants,” the Post notes. (What’s more, China had previously announced earlier this year that it was canceling its existing plans to build more coal plants.)
But facts didn’t seem to bother the president, not even after he was subjected to fiery debates within his own White House. “He stayed where he’s always been,” said one insider, despite pro-Paris appeals from firms such as Apple, IBM, Dow Chemical, Tesla—and even ExxonMobil. (!) Nor did he listen to the Group of Seven world powers, or his own daughter. Tellingly, Kellyanne Conway said: “He started with a conclusion…”
As for domestic reaction, just the headline of the New York Times’ lead editorial says it all: “Our Disgraceful Exit From the Paris Accord.”
And in his column, the Times’ Paul Krugman captured the underlying tone of Trump’s move well, noting that the president’s action has nothing to do with serving America’s national interest, nor with saving jobs. Instead, it involves “deep hostility to any notion that some problems require collective action beyond shooting people and blowing things up.”
So far as the international scene goes, disappointment seems to be the norm, along with a stubborn determination to carry on in spite of Trump’s short-sighted decision, observed The Atlantic.
But when it came to succinct, trenchant observations, the late-night television hosts were the standouts, as the Guardian showed. The paper singled out the words of The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah: “What makes it worse is that every country in the world agreed to this. Even countries you wouldn’t expect. Russia agreed to this. North Korea agreed to this. Even Israel and Palestine are on the same side when it comes to global climate change.”
But perhaps the most memorable comment came, appropriately enough, in the form of a tweet.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) tweeted: “Dear planet, we’re sorry. Please just hang on for three-and-a-half more years and we’ll fix this. We promise.”
The Bulletin elevates expert voices above the noise. But as an independent nonprofit organization, our operations depend on the support of readers like you. Help us continue to deliver quality journalism that holds leaders accountable. Your support of our work at any level is important. In return, we promise our coverage will be understandable, influential, vigilant, solution-oriented, and fair-minded. Together we can make a difference.