Quitting Paris pact, Trump abdicates leadership of the free world


California Gov. Jerry Brown is flying to China today, partially filling a huge gap in leadership left by Donald Trump who, with his withdrawal from the Paris accord on climate change, has abdicated the American president’s long-established role as leader of the free world. Brown characterized Trump’s move as “deviant behavior” and “insane” — and the governor is right.

Trump has turned the United States into a rogue nation. Only two other countries, Nicaragua and Syria, have refused to sign on to the Paris deal. The Department of Defense, major business leaders — including many in the oil and gas industry — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and even Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, all urged Trump not to pull out of the climate change agreement, but he did it anyway. Apparently, Trump’s White House Rasputin, senior advisor Steve Bannon, and climate quacks like EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt sold him on the preposterous fallacy that the U.S. is a deeply aggrieved party in the deal.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, announced on Thursday that he is carrying out his threat to leave the White House business advisory councils in reaction to Trump’s foolish move. In a tweet, Musk wrote, “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”

Unlike Trump, who played a master of business on TV while bankrupting his casinos and stiffing suppliers in real life, Musk is a real business genius who understands the future parameters of economic success. While Trump wheezes on about coal jobs, Musk and every other smart business leader in the world knows that alternative energy will be the driver of the global economy in the years to come. Even now, there are hundreds of thousands more Americans working in solar and wind power enterprises than in the grim and dirty coal mines.

The question is, how much will these growing sectors of the American economy be damaged by Trump’s bone-headed decision to fulfill a mindless campaign promise to abandon the climate deal? Will China become the leader in producing solar power hardware? Will Germany take the lead — and the profits — in wind energy? Part of the reason Brown is heading to China is to protect his state’s booming alternative energy enterprises.

In his speech announcing that he was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, Trump said he no longer wanted world leaders to be “laughing at us.” That is hilariously ironic. After his boorish, ignorant performance last week in meetings with European leaders, those leaders have been quite literally laughing at him. Trump imagines himself as a tough, savvy leader, but America’s allies and adversaries know a buffoon when they see one. Already, the Europeans have pledged to implement the Paris accords without America. There will be no new deal for Trump, the boastful dealmaker, to make.

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