There are many advantages to being one of the biggest kids on the playground. Generally speaking, size can impose unchallenged authority and intimidation tactics to get what it wants, even if its reasons are…well, completely unreasonable. Sometimes, however, the little kids may actually be right. So goes the story of the United States and its supposed efforts to curb the effects of climate change. Since his election into office, President Trump has continued to reject the impending effects and lasting impact of climate change, and he has outright stated that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord arranged by the United Nations (and former President Barack Obama) due to its supposedly negative impact on the United States’ economy. Despite this claim, as of November, the other member nations of the United Nations have come about to agree to the propositions of the accord and to work toward global efforts of curbing greenhouse gases.
All 192 of them.
At some point, you have to wonder just how many of those little kids it would take to knock some sense into the big kid and get him to give up the unreasonable and extremely unpopular claims that he boasts. While the whole of the United Nations concerns itself with the likes of rising sea levels, increasing global temperatures and extreme natural disasters (disasters that have also made a great show of force on American soil), President Trump concerns himself with other matters such as dismantling fossil fuel regulations and amping up America’s presence in the energy race to spite the claims that the arena of climate change is simply a hoax to damage the U.S. Economy and give a leg up to China.
Meanwhile, agencies within the United States government, even without outright admitting it, have come forth to say that some change in policy and attitude toward climate change might actually be worthwhile, particularly as it pertains to national security.
The fact of the matter is that reports have demonstrated evidence to show no less than “128 United States military sites” to be threatened by rising sea levels. What makes this entire factoid all the worse is that this has apparently been working toward being a topic of discussion for the nearly the past 30 years. As early as 1990, institutes around the country have been urging the government to pay closer attention to climate change, starting with the U.S. Naval War College’s report that warned of potential dangers to half of all naval operations over the following 50 years…due solely to climate.
Despite this, change – and, indeed, even the desire to consider it – has been slow to come. Even in the face of more reports in 2003, former President George W. Bush also rejected climate change to the point of withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol that also called for a curbing of greenhouse gases.
Whether or not climate change may actually impact the economy of the United States, an almost 30-year warning from prominent military institutes should suffice in showing that joining a (literally) global effort to combat the extreme shift in climate change may still hold some promise for American interests, if only in the arena of national defense (which accounted for nearly half of the United States’ discretionary spending for the 2017 fiscal year, out of a total of $1.08 trillion).
They say no man is an island, but with the United States now making the only show of opposition toward the Paris climate accord in the entire world, we are a pretty big island. And we are in great danger of sinking, one way or the other.