In an act of heroism, US President, Donald Trump has sacrificed his own credibility, not to mention that of the White House, in a deliberate attempt to unite the world. Meanwhile, the war against climate change wages on, with the US almost wholly behind it, only brave Trump, pretending to be a non-believer, and Theresa May, pretending to care about the future, standing out.
It is not hard to find flaws with the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis, all you need is imagination, a paranoid distrust of experts, or a desire to be a contradictory so and so, who takes delight in showing off his or her cleverness by proving that black is, in fact, the same as white.
The climate change hypothesis is not 100 per cent proven, very few ideas are, who knows, maybe we live in a simulation, but it is telling that the core argument cynics used to make was that global temperatures had stopped rising, conveniently forgetting about the effect of El Nino, which was especially extreme in the late 1990s. But now that global temperatures have begun rising again, they tell us that this is irrelevant, that we need much more data to draw a conclusion. This may or may not be right, but it is important to be consistent. You cannot hang your hat on a tiny amount of data to make one argument, and then, at the point when the data contradicts you, say there is insufficient data to draw a conclusion.
But the point that climate change cynics overlook, and it is a point that makes them a very dangerous breed of animal indeed, is that it may turn out to be far worse than the scientific consensus suggests. Bear in mind that for every theory, no matter how well researched, there is always a gainsayer. The anti-climate change lobby seize on any error, no matter how tiny. For that reason, when scientists talk about climate change they tend to make conservative predictions. The possibility that climate change will be worse than predicted is quite high. And if this does indeed turn out to be the case, we are talking about a development that could pose an existential threat to humanity.
Climate change denial is irresponsible, and those who do it, pose a threat to our future.
The odd crackpot refers to warnings of an ice age in the 1970s, but there was never a consensus on this – indeed scientists who warned of a possible ice age were in a tiny minority.
There are two pieces of good news. Piece number one is that the war is winnable, thanks to the falling cost of renewables, the falling cost of energy storage, and other new technologies, the cost does not even have to be that high. In fact, the final bill may be negative, as new technologies may lead to cheaper energy down the line.
Piece number two is that most people in authority understand this.
Among those who do is Mr Trumps’ very own daughter, Ivanka.
And now the world unites, China and the EU emerge as the world’s super powers in fighting the war that matters. Russia is on onside as is India.
And so is the US – mostly.
Three states have already rebelled – California, New York, and Washington. Others will follow because very few leaders want to be considered as global vandals.
This is what makes Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Accord so brave – he cares not how history will remember him – he just wants to unite the world.
Leading CEOs in the US are furious. Elon Musk is quitting the president’s advisory council.
Goldman Sachs’ CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, tweeted: "Today's decision is a setback for the environment and for the US's leadership position in the world.”
Jeff Immelt, boss at General Electric said: "Industry must now lead and not depend on government."
In Europe, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, said: “The Paris agreement remains irreversible and will be implemented not just by France but by all the other nations. We will succeed because we are fully committed, because wherever we live, whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again.”
German chancellor, Angela Merkel, talked about the agreement being essential, but then she had already made her feelings on the matter known. Last week, from a beer tent in Munich, she said: “I can say now that we Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands—naturally, in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain, as good neighbours wherever that may work, with Russia and other countries. But we must understand that we must fight for our future, as Europeans, for our own fate—and that I will gladly do with you.”
Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, said: "China in recent years has stayed true to its commitment."
A statement from the Kremlin said: "President (Vladimir) Putin signed this convention in Paris. Russia attaches great significance to it."
In the UK, while the likes of Jeremy Corbyn tweeted their disquiet, Theresa May was surprisingly silent. She did eventually put out a written statement saying she was ‘disappointed’ but that was as far as the condemnation went.
Is that what it is like in Brexit Britain? Let’s put making planet earth great again on the backburner, it is far more important to sidle up to uncle Don. Very few, including, one assumes, the next president of the United States, whoever that may be, are impressed.