Fair and Unbalanced

img
Mike Littwin

"The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles."

Littwin: We walk away from Paris to take our place in back of the line

Littwin: We walk away from Paris to take our place in back of the line

The dirty little secret behind Donald Trump’s disastrous decision to walk away from the Paris climate accord is, in fact, no secret at all.

If we didn’t know before — and if we didn’t, shame on us — we have to know now, after watching Trump’s rambling speech defending the move, that he has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. And we also know that this non-alternative fact doesn’t seem to bother him in the least.

It’s not just the science. Most of us can’t make a coherent argument on the facts underlying the science. In his speech on climate change, Trump barely mentioned climate change at all. He didn’t call it a hoax, as he used to, or blame it on the Chinese, as he used to. In fact, he said several times that he was open, even if no one else was, to renegotiating the Paris accord, suggesting that Trump must believe in the need for some global agreement.

And yet, the anonymous Trump officials who briefed the press after the speech couldn’t — or wouldn’t — say what exactly Trump’s position was these days on climate change. Sean Spicer has said he’d never thought to ask him. What I’d guess is that Trump has no position to articulate.

If you watched or read his speech, you know his reasoning for walking away is that the agreement was a bad deal for America, which is always his go-to explanation. America is being swindled. Taxpayers are being robbed. He said our enemies, and our supposed friends, had ganged up on the United States to impose this accord so that they would take advantage of the helpless giant that he supposes us to be. Barack Obama was presumably hopelessly naive in signing on or, more likely, complicit in sabotaging America, which somehow, against all odds, manages to still be the largest economy in the world.

Trump put it this way: “The rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris Agreement — they went wild; they were so happy — for the simple reason that it put our country, the United States of America, which we all love, at a very, very big economic disadvantage. A cynic would say the obvious reason for economic competitors and their wish to see us remain in the agreement is so that we continue to suffer this self-inflicted major economic wound.”

That is something Trump might actually believe, just as he might actually believe that he won the 2016 election in a landslide. It fits his world view. It’s fair to say that his Paris speech was another version of his American carnage speech, except the topic this time was a global assault on the American economy by dangerous foreigners who, above all, have it in for West Virginia coal miners and anyone else who voted for Trump.

The timing of the speech is no mystery. In his latest run of self-inflicted crises, Trump needed something to offer his still-loyal base. And, in America, as in nowhere else in the world, climate change is widely debated. And, in America, as in nowhere else in the world, one major party absolutely rejects the notion.

And so, The Decision. And so, the speech. And so, the opportunity to once again offend those European leaders who had begged him not to leave the accord and who, to his surprise, just wouldn’t accept the fact that they were the bad guys here.

And nearly as disturbing as the speech itself was the eleborate setup for the speech. Trump told us he would make the announcement at 3 p.m. in the Rose Garden. The cable-TV countdown clocks would be set. The will-he-won’t-he, the will-Ivanka-or-won’t-she debates were set in motion. Global climate crisis meets Rose Garden-style reality TV. The potential for rising seas and rising global ridicule meets Trump at the White House podium.

The news would leak, of course, just as all news from the White House leaks, even, and especially, the most damning news. But this news was presented as if something grand were to happen. There was a band. There was Mike Pence giving the warmup speech praising Trump for his wisdom and strength in the way that all would-be tyrants require.

You can blame Republicans for Trump’s decision. They are the one who have made the science into a long-running ideological battle, as if melting glaciers had an ideology. The business community largely opposed leaving Paris. The Goldman Sachs CEO made his first-ever tweet in opposition to leaving Paris. Even much of Big Oil opposes leaving Paris. The science community is opposed, of course. The economic community. The world community. Trump’s Secretary of State. His chief economic adviser. They were all convinced it was bad for America, bad for the world and, in what you’d think would be a winning argument, bad for America’s place in the world.

It didn’t matter to Trump that Paris is a weak agreement, or that to get near-universal acceptance, it had to be. It didn’t matter that the goals are individually made and all voluntary. It didn’t matter that before walking away from Paris, Trump was already in the process of rolling back U.S goals for emission standards or that he was gutting the EPA.

None of it mattered because, to Trump, none of it mattered. He had campaigned on this promise, and it was one that no pesky judge or House caucus could undermine. Trump framed it as an America First decision, and yet you could argue that as one of only three countries now rejecting the accord, it puts us in a three-way tie for last. In other words, America can now honestly say it’s leading from behind.

Photo by Woody Hibbard, via Flickr: Creative Commons

 

 

 

 

 

Like this story? Steal it! Feel free to republish it in part or in full, just please give credit to The Colorado Independent and add a link to the original.

Got a tip? Story pitch? Send us an e-mail. Follow The Colorado Independent on Twitter.



About the Author

Mike Littwin

He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.
mlittwin@coloradoindependent.com | Twitter @mike_littwin

5 Comments

  1. Leslie gruen on said:

    Thank you for this excellent overview of why Trump decided NO to the Paris climate agreement. We saw it coming a week ago… Trump’s erratic behavior is becoming predictable oddly. We knew Trump would vote to please his fan base, roughly 38 percent of Americans, who were duped by Republicans into believing climate change is a hoax. Of course, it’s not – and though most of them sense it’s not a ruse, they are herded by the fear and conspiracy theories espoused by the right wing. Thanks, very thought provoking article.

  2. JohnInDenver on said:

    You left off that polling shows a majority in every state does not support leaving the Accord. A majority of all Democrats, Independents and even Republicans polled the same way. And a near majority of self-identified Trump voters wanted to stay in, with only about a quarter wanting to get out (and another quarter “not sure”).

    So, he’s doing it for someone — but not the common voter, even in his own base. I’m thinking the Kochs, Mercers, and a number of his backers who own independent resource extraction companies are delighted.

  3. Don Lopez on said:

    Clown car bids au revoir to Paris.

    “Hiding news that doesn’t fit an ideological or a partisan agenda is perhaps the worst form of media bias. And it’s one more reason the public holds the press is such low esteem.” – Investor’s Business Daily

    “(Mr. Trump) won’t be president. He was sliding in the polls before the video, and the video now means that he has no way to climb back. Which independent voter, which suburban woman, which Main Street Republican on the fence is going to vote for Trump now?” – Mike Littwin

    }{

    Mr. Littwin is a situational ethicist with situational beliefs that can be readily modified or ignored (e.g. Laquan McDonald) should the need arise. But this week he reached a new nadir by using his column to (what’s a nice way to say beg) solicit funds so he can continue to publish his “column” or as he so quaintly put it “chipping in a few bucks to keep our lights shining.” If his column is an example of a shining light, darkness might not be a bad option. But it does prove that Mr. Littwin can write his column while kneeling.

    Let’s be clear: Mr. Littwin is to journalism what Kathy Griffin is to humor.

    Here’s what else readers learned about Mr. Littwin this week:

    – He’s closer to making a withdrawal from a food bank than making a deposit in a real one.

    – He dislikes not only politicians who hide their agenda but also those who don’t.

    – He dislikes not only politicians who fail to fulfill their campaign promises but also those who do.

    – He dislikes big oil until he doesn’t.

    Mr. Littwin criticizes President Trump for withdrawing from the Paris accord despite describing it as, wait for it, “a weak agreement”. That’s right, Mr. Littwin is criticizing our president for withdrawing from a weak agreement that the New York Times said when it was signed “will not, on its own, solve global warming.”

    How important was the Paris accord to Mr. Littwin? Well, consider this: Last Friday was the first time (that’s right, the first time) Mr. Littwin devoted a column to discussing it. That’s how important he felt it was. He devoted an entire column to an eye-roll but until Friday not one column on the Paris agreement. Yet, amazingly, wants to portray President Trump’s withdrawal from the accord as a “disastrous decision”.

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    In the months following the December, 2015 adaption of the Paris climate accord Mr. Littwin was able to devote two columns to the Broncos, one column to why Democrats should love Donald Trump and one column on replacing Justice Antonin Scalia which contained this politically tone deaf but wildly amusing observation:

    “By ensuring that this appointment process becomes a political brawl, it also ensures that this appointment becomes a focal point in the 2016 presidential election as well as in U.S. Senate elections.

    This is a yuge problem for Republicans”

    So, how’d that work out?

    So what could possibly explain Mr. Littwin’s sudden interest in the climate? The answer is simple: politics. And there’s this from the National Review:

    “The fatalistic flip-out over Trump’s plan to exit from the Paris Climate Accord is the latest proof that the leaders of the political Left have learned absolutely nothing since November 8. Unlike Trump, who said during his Rose Garden announcement of the planned withdrawal that he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” these woke folks continue to overlook huge swaths of the American public as they try to win a global popularity contest, redistribute our wealth, and lecture us about how ignorant, uncaring, and unaware we are.”

    “There remains considerable debate about the merits of the climate agreement. It is far from clear whether it will have a significant effect on projected rates of global warming, given that key signatories (namely, China and India) made only nominal carbon-reduction commitments; the agreement’s usefulness as a diplomatic tool is uncertain; and it may have a retardant effect on domestic economic growth.”

    Here from the Wall Street Journal is an non-hyperventilating explanation of the Paris agreement:

    “Let us understand something: 195 countries will not be dragged kicking and screaming to sign any agreement that imposes a cost on them. Such deals exist only because they provide an international imprimatur to what politicians were going to do anyway.

    The oil countries like Saudi Arabia and Norway signed. They plan to keep producing oil. India and China plan to grow energy consumption until it is similar to the per capita consumption of the developed countries, at which point it will level off.

    Not only are the emission targets unenforceable, they have no intelligible relation to the temperature goal according to the very iffy science. By the shot-in-the-dark estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it’s even possible the rest of the century will bring little warming anyway.

    In the 30 years since global warming became a daily concern of the newspapers, one lesson has been reliably demonstrated for policy participants: There is no appetite in the body politic for the kinds of energy taxes and prohibitions needed to make a meaningful change in atmospheric CO2.

    Agreements like Paris arguably aim at the wrong target anyway. Only when technology can meet mankind’s energy demand at competitive cost will low-carbon energy prevail. Governments would be wise to invest in basic energy research rather than throwing money at energy technologies that are viable only as long as the subsidies keep flowing. But the latter is what brings in the political bacon.”

    November 08, 2016

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation
    Garysinisefoundation.org

    Veterans Day – November 11, 2017

  4. Will Morrison on said:

    Don Lopez: Get over your hatred of anything that Littwin says, thinks or believes in. It makes you look just as irrational as the rest of the right wing world.

    With such BRILLIANT logic as you’re espousing, we would never have ANYTHING because nothing has EVER been perfect enough for you to even try to start using or doing. Your lack of historical perspective is appalling. Cars were FAR from perfect when they came out, they aren’t perfect now. But you INSIST that technology has to be PERFECT before we can consider it’s use. Brilliant excuse, but it has NO bearing on reality or even the way things have ALWAYS been done. The computer you’re typing your screeds on isn’t perfect, nor has one EVER been. Stop using it until they get perfect, please.

    Your attitude is that we should do NOTHING falls right into line with all the stinking rich MORONS who want you to think, say and believe just such foolish nonsense. Who benefits from us doing NOTHING? Only those with money vested in NOT improving, upgrading, or even keeping up with the rest of the freaking world. Profits above all, eh, right wing tool?

    Sorry, but you’re on the losing side of this and damn near every topic you spout such hatred on. It’s really sad, and you make yourself look like a complete lunatic. And you have NO answers for anything, all you have is complaints. Typical right winger. I won’t even insult the term “conservative” because NONE of you is interested in conserving anything, just in destroying everything that has been built before you. You’re nihilists and anarchists, you’re NOT conservatives.

    You’ve bought into a line of crap from people whose goal was NEVER to imp0rove the country, but to rob it blind and destroy everything so they could steal it all. And they are damned close to it now. Stop supporting them and start thinking about YOUR OWN survival for a second, NOT the blasted 1%. They will be fine without further sacrifice from the rest of us. It’s a real point of issue that they STILL think they need more. Stop supporting them, they are destroying this country and don’t need YOUR cheer leading.

  5. Don Lopez on said:

    Mr. MORrissON,

    “So the rest of your comment means absolutely nothing to me. Nor does your opinion on anything else.”

    Does that quote sound familiar? It should. It was taken from a comment you directed at me on November 11, 2016 at 5:12 pm. You could look it up. It was the same day, by the way, you told me to “Eat it, pal” said I was not only a “miserable person” but a “JERK”. Always classy. But to save you some research time I’ve graciously included the link.

    http://www.coloradoindependent.com/162394/littwin-president-trump#comments

    Why has my opinion once again become important to you since it continues to differ sharply from your own? And your incoherent rant makes me wonder what in the wide, wide world of sports I said that has gotten you so upset. I’d like to know so I could include it all future comments. Was it this?

    “Mr. Littwin is a situational ethicist with situational beliefs that can be readily modified or ignored (e.g. Laquan McDonald) should the need arise. But this week he reached a new nadir by using his column to (what’s a nice way to say beg) solicit funds so he can continue to publish his “column” or as he so quaintly put it “chipping in a few bucks to keep our lights shining.” If his column is an example of a shining light, darkness might not be a bad option. But it does prove that Mr. Littwin can write his column while kneeling.

    Let’s be clear: Mr. Littwin is to journalism what Kathy Griffin is to humor.”

    Or this?

    Mr. Littwin is to journalism what Mrs. Clinton is to twerking.”

    Or maybe this?

    “How important was the Paris accord to Mr. Littwin? Well, consider this: Last Friday was the first time (that’s right, the first time) Mr. Littwin devoted a column to discussing it. That’s how important he felt it was. He devoted an entire column to an eye-roll but until Friday not one column on the Paris agreement. Yet, amazingly, wants to portray President Trump’s withdrawal from the accord as a “disastrous decision”.
    You can’t make this stuff up!”

    Or was it this quote from The National Review?

    “The fatalistic flip-out over Trump’s plan to exit from the Paris Climate Accord is the latest proof that the leaders of the political Left have learned absolutely nothing since November 8. Unlike Trump, who said during his Rose Garden announcement of the planned withdrawal that he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” these woke folks continue to overlook huge swaths of the American public as they try to win a global popularity contest, redistribute our wealth, and lecture us about how ignorant, uncaring, and unaware we are.”

    I’ve got some suggestions on how you could help Mr. Littwin and please keep in mind these are only suggestions:

    – Because your writing style is so remarkably similar to Mr. Littwin’s you should spend more time helping him defend his rather, well, wacky views and less time concerned about mine.

    – Remind Mr. Littwin from time to time that elections have consequences since he seems to forget that most basic political tenet.

    – Mr. Littwin needs someone of your stature to help him reconnect with reality because he is still in deep, deep denial about the results of the November 8th election refusing to even write “President Trump” which is something you have trouble with, too.

    – Now that he’s using his column to beg for money (“I ask you to help out by chipping in a few bucks to keep our lights shining”) you should make a shining light contribution.

    And finally, stay in your lane.

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>