It’s hard to keep talking about climate change because it’s depressing and relentless and the more we learn, the more we realize how much trouble we’re in. It’s also challenging from an individual standpoint; we’re each a tiny gear in an enormous machine, and it’s difficult to feel relevant or effective.
That’s why it’s so important for governments to lead the way in taking action. They can set the standard, raise the bar for what to aim for, draft goals and provide the resources to help everyone reach those targets, and most importantly, establish firm rules and take corporations to task that fail to meet those rules. No other entity in the world has the ability to do this. If you believe that market forces will be sufficient, the behavior of oil companies is a very clear indicator that this is not the case. The interest of the shareholders is rarely in line with the needs of the environment.
Trump has abandoned the country – and the world – on this issue, and for no clear reason. No sane person believes that coal is coming back. What’s good for the people and the environment in America is also good for the rest of the world – there is no reason to make this an issue of protectionism.
This is how America ceases to be relevant. This is the sound of faltering progress. History will not be kind to us, and the future will not be kind to our children.