Comment: Trump, change your decision, save our future generations and the planet
The global community hoping for a greener Earth for our future generations must unite and make Trump change his decision, asserts Saravjit Singh Kahlon, general manager - international marketing, Tata Consulting Engineers, Mumbai, India.
The global community hoping for a greener Earth for our future generations must unite and make Trump change his decision, asserts Saravjit Singh Kahlon, general manager - international marketing, Tata Consulting Engineers Limited, Mumbai, India, in a spontaneous response to Trump's decision pulling the US from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement.
Donald Trump shocked the global community when he announced that he was pulling the US from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, striking a major blow to worldwide efforts to combat global warming.
The climate agreement, reached in Paris in 2015, after years of negotiation, aims to keep Earth’s temperature within two degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) of pre-industrial levels. Meeting that goal would have required the US to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gasses moves that Trump said would wipe out the jobs of millions of Americans. Many economists disagree with this.
The US is the world's second-largest emitter of carbon, following only China. Beijing, however, has reaffirmed its commitment to meeting its targets under the Paris accord, recently cancelling construction of about 100 coal-fired power plants and investing billions in massive wind and solar projects.
Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming sooner as a result of the US president's decision because America's pollution contributes so much to rising temperatures. Calculations suggest that the withdrawal could result in emissions of up to three billion tons of additional carbon dioxide a year enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.
An excess of carbon dioxide in atmosphere has trapped a century of extra heat pushing global temperatures higher and higher, reducing the polar ice caps to their lowest levels ever recorded, bleaching the Great Barrier Reef, and cooking cities and towns in sweltering summer heat waves.
Sea levels would rise and there would be droughts leading to a refugee crisis of a magnitude never seen before. The US president's decision will mean that the agricultural, economic and human repercussions will be felt in the years to come. Should global temperatures exceed the 2-degree Celsius target, the environmental consequences are well-known: higher seas, more powerful storms, longer droughts and diminishing biodiversity, to name a few.
On the health impact, people who pay attention to public health want to remind that a warmer planet will bring more air pollution, fuel the spread of infectious diseases and increase the incidence of certain cancers, among many other things.
It is clear that in a hurry to create Jobs, Trump has focused on short-term goals rather than long-term goals like saving the Earth. Under former US president Barack Obama, the US had agreed under the accord to reduce polluting emissions by more than a quarter below 2005 levels by 2025.
Many developing countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines and India, may abandon their promises, following the US. If these counties join Trump in reneging, India especially, then the world could keep increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for decades to come, and it would miss the last opportunity to hold an increase in global temperature below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That number, equal to two degrees Celsius, is considered the threshold at which changes to the global climate system would become dangerous and irreversible.
If solar and wind companies in the US falter and if the country moves down into a fossil-fuel-dominated economy in the 2020s then it may permanently deprive the American economy of a massive global opportunity. It could also undercut the US claim to a century of global leadership on scientific research and technological development.
The global community hoping for a greener Earth for our future generations must unite and make Trump change his decision. Reducing dependence on fossil fuels is the only way to save our planet.