June 07, 2017

Martin Wolf, if we are to save our pied-a-terre, that will not happen by pitting clean Obama against dirty Trump

Sir, I refer to Martin Wolf’s “Trump’s bad judgment on Paris” June 7. 

Wolf writes: “Above all, the earth is not just an arena. It is our shared home. It does not belong to one nation, even such a powerful one. Looking after the planet is the moral responsibility of all”. Precisely! I agree 100%!

But when Wolf suggests, “the remaining participants in the accord must… commission an analysis of how to deal with free riders. Everything must be considered, even sanctions.”, then I disagree, 100%.

That has clearly little to do with how to help our planet and all to do with furthering the ongoing polarization in the world, all to do with fighting it out in an “arena”.

Really, what does “free riders”, in a “non-binding” agreement, in which “no coercion was involved” mean? So if US had remained in the “framework” (because a framework is all the Paris Climate Agreement is), and not done anything, would that have been better?

I was like most against Trump (the US) pulling out of the accord, but, after it happened, I take it as the best thing that could have happened. At least now we will no longer be lulled into feeling more secure about our planet by something that might just be a dangerous illusion of a solution. Something that might just have been a huge political photo-op; and a congenial gathering of green subsidies distributors and customers. Now at least we all know better how little punch that Paris Accord really carried.

So, let’s take it from here. Let us inform the Americans that a revenue neutral carbon tax, like the one recently proposed by some republicans, might carry ten times as much environmental saving punch than the Paris Accord. Let’s inform Trump that if he helps to support a successful implementation of such plan he could become even a greater hero to the Greens than Al Gore… that he would have been touched by Abraham Lincolns’ “the better angels”.

Sir, I sincerely believe that the price signals of a carbon tax; with all its revenues distributed among citizens, instead of being redistributed by some few, is the best way to live up to our moral responsibility towards what I often lovingly refer to as our pied-a-terre. If Donald Trump helps that to come thru, I at least am more than willing to forgive most of his very much salon inappropriate behaviors.

PS. And really, what is a Paris Climate Agreement that was signed by a president but not put up for ratification by the US Congress? In 1920, it was the US Senate that said no to the League of Nations with a 49 to 35 vote.