This week we are supposedly going to learn if the United States will stay in the Paris Climate Agreement alongside nearly 200 other countries which, like the United States, are already parties to the deal. By the end of this week, we may learn that the United States has decided to join the two countries, Syria and Nicaragua, on the sidelines.
It is unclear why this latter course would make sense. It makes no sense to a whole range of major multinational corporations, however, such as:
Adobe, Allianz, Apple, BP, Chevron, DuPont, eBay, Exxon Mobile, Gap, General Mills, Google, Hilton, Intel, Johnson&Johnson, Kellogg Company, L’Oreal, Microsoft, Monsanto, Nike, Royal Dutch Shell, Salesforce, Staples, Starbucks, Symantec, Tesla, Dow Chemical Company, Tiffany&Co., and Unilever.
It makes good economic sense, it turns out, to embrace reality. Who knew? (That reality is something which, to be fair, has been ignored for a long time, in the sense that civilization itself depends on a stable climate and healthy ecosystems.)
Just last month, the planet’s atmosphere breached the 410 ppm (parts per million) threshold for carbon dioxide concentration, a height not reached in millions of years. This means our atmosphere is trapping more heat and accelerating changes in our climate. Scientists say we’re on track to create a climate unseen in 50 million years by mid-century.*
So it’s hard to see what kind of “deal” would be worth taking that kind of risk. In fact, Mother Nature doesn’t care a whit about the “art of the deal” and she has the upper hand for sure.
- Kahn, Brian, “We Just Breached the 410 PPM Threshhold for CO2, Scientific American, 21 April 2017, accessed at https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/we-just-breached-the-410-ppm-threshold-for-CO2/