|Exit Glacier, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, 1995|
As you know, Donald Trump today announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. It's a dark day for Planet Earth.
The Agreement, which became effective on Nov. 4, 2016, has been signed by every nation on Earth except war-torn Syria and Nicaragua, which would have liked the Agreement to be even stronger. According to the terms of the Agreement, no country can begin the withdrawal process until three years after the Agreement enters into force and the withdrawal would not take effect for one year after that date. Therefore, the earliest the U.S. will be able to complete the withdrawal is Nov. 4, 2020, one day after the next U.S. Presidential election.
Trump just gave not only Democrats but all living human beings a strong motivation to make sure the Republican Party is out of the White House by the next term, if not sooner. Every weather catastrophe that happens over the next 3 1/2 years, every hurricane, every ice-sheet collapse, every drought, every flood - and there will be a lot of all of these - will be an unpaid political ad for the Democrats and for climate realists.
In a statement, California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom said "California will step into the Trump vacuum and step onto the international stage in partnership with other nations and regions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reflecting our state’s stature as one of the world’s largest and leading economies. We stand united and recognize our unique responsibility to increase our role as the President abdicates our nation's moral, economic, and environmental leadership."
The only hope for maintaining our planet in a habitable condition is if California and other forward-thinking states continue to work to curb emissions along with the remaining nations in the Agreement, and that by 2020, the CO2 levels are still low enough to avert the worst consequences of this crisis.