WHEN Donald Trump decided that the climate change accord was not good for the US and he pulled out, I was shocked but not surprised. After all, it was what he had promised the many disenfranchised who had voted for him. He had made all these promises about jobs he was going to restore. According to Trump, climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese -- to what advantage I don't know, but to the unemployed miners and oil workers it was something they wanted to believe, because it would bring back their jobs and standard of living.

But he'd made so many promises in his off-the-cuff campaign speeches and he'd left so little space to manoeuvre that he had to follow through with many unresearched and unsubstantiated promises.

Climate change was one he obviously felt he couldn't renege on, having made so many bizarre statements about it, like his lack of understanding of the difference between climate and weather. Trump said on Fox News, discussing a severe cold snap that set records across the country: "This winter is brutal," adding that climate change was a "hoax" perpetrated by "scientists [who] are having a lot of fun".

Apparently the Paris agreement was unfair on the US because the costs to it would be too high. This is wrong, as US emissions, which have been in the top three for total and per capita emissions ever since records began, haven't dropped. So Trump is attempting to weasel out of fair responsibility for emissions.

Advertisement

Like anyone who is aware of climate change and its consequences, I was stunned that Trump hadn't been properly informed about this, but then his closest advisers are wilfully ignorant of climate change.

There has been an upside to his ignorance -- a huge outpouring of support for the Paris agreement. New York governor Andrew Cuomo, California governor Edmund Brown, and Washington State governor Jay Inslee have ignored Trump's "I'll take my ball and go home" and said they are forming a coalition of states committed to fighting climate change. Even big business is beginning to see the light. As Jimmy Kimmel said on his show, "Exxon, Shell and Walmart ran the numbers, and if climate change destroys life on Earth it will be bad for business".

Emissions commitment: A Walmart store in Dallas, Texas. Walmart, which launched a programme in April 2017 to remove one gigaton of emissions from its supply chain by 2030, said after Trump's announcement that its own commitment to renewable energy and lower emissions was good for business and the environment.Photo/AP
Emissions commitment: A Walmart store in Dallas, Texas. Walmart, which launched a programme in April 2017 to remove one gigaton of emissions from its supply chain by 2030, said after Trump's announcement that its own commitment to renewable energy and lower emissions was good for business and the environment.Photo/AP

Trump's withdrawal from the Paris accord has inadvertently caused such a backlash that more people than ever before realise how critical climate change is.

What we have to do now in New Zealand is to get our government to stop being so wishy-washy about climate change. We need to take action and stop the carbon credits fiasco and put a decent price on carbon. This will be the quickest and most effective way to cut our emissions.

John Milnes is a conservationist, grandfather and advocating to improve our future environment.