The death of a global leader

The US, the most powerful nation on earth but with a terrible president in Donald J. Trump has just abdicated its global leadership role by opting out of the Paris Agreement.

This brought the US into the ranks of two rogue nations, Syria and Nicaragua, who voted out of the accord, while 195 other nations inked their assent in 2015.

And to think that next to China (20-percent responsible for total global pollution), the US is the next worst violator at 18 percent. Followed by Russia (7.8 percent), India (4 percent), and Japan (3.8 percent).

A juvenile argument was put forward that the Paris Agreement was designed slyly to reduce the competitiveness of American companies and lead to the loss of 2.5 million American jobs.

Earlier, Trump pointed the dirty finger to the other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for not fulfilling its commitment to allot 2 percent of its GDP as contribution to the organization and at America’s expense.

Critics have baptized Trump’s gambits as a “policy based on spite” and a general Trump paranoia as if all nations are trying to cheat America. It is that kind of self-limiting philosophy that ensures America would abdicate its role as a global leader and formalize its demise.

News of such death may not be exaggerated.

Frankly, the world does not give a frigging care if the “nationalists” (headed by presidential son-in-law Jared Kusher and wife Ivanka Trump) or the “globalists” (of the Steve Bannon types) are winning their political tug of war.

The brutal fact is that if the No. 2 polluter in the world will not march to the call of temperance to help keep the earth’s temperature no more than 2 degrees Celsius, the earth will be oven-hot by 2050.

We are crushed by this cavalier attitude of the Man in Washington over the future of all humankind, including Americans, mind you, by chickening out of the Paris Agreement.

This pains us, because while we contribute less than 1 percent of the emissions globally, the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable to disasters, like earthquakes, typhoons, and droughts resulting from climate change. We are pissed, and we should be.

The Filipina and UN champion for climate change, Sen. Loren B. Legarda, had warned that if the goals of the Paris Agreement are not met, half of the corals in this country will die by 2050, and fish capture in southern Philippines be cut by half as well.

The earth’s warming will melt the polar caps and cause a rise in sea level globally, threatening 1.3 billion people living along coastal areas. In the Philippines, that means 13 million Filipinos in the coastal areas in the 64 coastal provinces that will be hit.

We do not have to repeat that the extreme changes in weather conditions negatively affect people in terms of their lives and security, health, livelihood and development, and could result in the extinction of certain species.

It is man himself who has tried to kill Mother Nature. Due to excessive human activities from 1750 to 2017, this resulted in the 40-percent increase of the carbon dioxide in the air that stifles the atmosphere.

As we write, a big chunk of ice the size of the state of Delaware is seen to separate from the Antartic ice shelf called Larsen, its fourth-largest, perhaps leading to its collapse.

This will reportedly destabilize 16 other shelves in Western Antartica that holds frozen water and raise sea levels by 20 feet. The greatest meltdown is reportedly happening in Greenland, which is losing two-thirds of its ice.

The condemnation, therefore, against the US  has reverberated across the globe.

France and Canada call it an abdication of responsibility; Germany, a great disappointment; and Australia, a forfeiture of the claim to climate leadership.

But does the poster boy of “screw you” policies even care?

Trump is facing political extinction in the home front everyday due to the Russian controversy, the health-care fiasco, the antiimmigrant division and his prorich tax policies.

Perhaps by dropping the “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan and in Syria, did Trump expect to gain international prestige enough to win back local political support by playing Robocop once more?

Did the president commit a faux pas by rejecting climate change in the sense that even allied Republicans and financiers, certainly the Democrats, states, cities and businesses apparently slapped him in the face—by volunteering to spend for climate change mitigation on their own to offset the slant of Trump’s “I don’t care” policy? But for what political gain?

China, America’s looming financial and military rival, is filling the vacuum of leadership in this climate-change drama. This is an important afterthought.

When former Environment secretary Gina Lopez was asked why she cared so much for children and nature through a foundation, she said: “Being privileged takes with it grave responsibility.”

America’s turnabout here not only abdicates its role as commander of the fight against a worldwide plague that chooses no nation in its devastating wake, but also turns off the faucet for developing nations to secure badly needed funding from Washington for their adaptation and mitigation projects against the vagaries of nature.

It is an act truly unbecoming and totally un-American for the US to do so in the post-World War II global scenario. It is seen as a retreat into isolation. So much so that an American writer quipped that Trump is trying to “build a better horse-drawn carriage while Henry Ford was investing in mass-producing cars”.

So much for global leadership abdication.


Bingo Dejaresco, a  former banker, is a financial consultant and media practitioner. He is chairman of Finex’s Professional  Development and Broadcast Media Committees.  A Life Member, his views here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of Finex.


1 comment

  1. I agree completely with you. let’s the Philippines work more closely with my country, France, as leaders of a worldwide alliance on climate change and let’s do great things together !

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