Trump and Climate

I know this is usually a music blog, and apologies to my regular readers for the change in topic today – this is just a one-off. I’m hardly qualified to be a political commentator but wanted to vent a little.

I was appalled but not surprised by Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord today, making the USA the only country apart from Syria and Nicaragua to not support it. I find it very difficult to take any arguments against the reality of human-accelerated climate change seriously – it’s possible to see symptoms all around us, 97% of scientists agree, while it seems logical that there’s a consequence from the combination of deforestation and burning fossil fuels.

Despite myself, I couldn’t help being impressed by Trump’s election win in 2016 – he was able to essentially deflect attention away from policies by using the “Crooked Hilary” tagline and slogans that appealed to voters (“Make America great again”). Voters also gravitated to him as an outsider choice – someone who wasn’t tarred by political corruption and constrained by political conventions. Trump’s ability to tap into the political zeitgeist of a dissatisfied America has been impressive, and he’s continued the approach of an independent thinking outsider in his tenure as president.

Trump has run a successful business empire, but that doesn’t qualify him to handle the other issues that he has to deal with as the president of the USA. My perception of Trump is of someone whose values and policies are stuck in the 1950s, the years of his childhood and adolescence – while much of the world has moved away (at least publicly) from racism and sexism, Trump still exhibits these traits. And while the rest of the world is moving toward environmental sustainability, Trump seemingly wants to revive institutions like the American automotive industry of the 1950s. A forward-thinking leader would be embracing new technologies and building clean industries around them – according to the Independent, in the USA solar power already employs more people than oil, coal and gas combined.

It’s not surprising that his lone wolf approach and his old school values have led him to lead America away from the Paris Accord – he’s gone on record as saying that he believes climate change is a NASA or a Chinese hoax, and his vision of the revitalisation of traditional industry is obviously at odds with the Accord. But it’s simply wrong, its potential effects on the rest of the world are potentially devastating, and it’s likely to be the thing he’s most remembered for. It’s also short-sighted, as accelerated climate change and the resulting increases in extreme weather patterns will reduce productivity and economic growth, and the best thing we can do is move towards reducing carbon emissions now.

As someone in New Zealand, I don’t know what I can do to oppose Trump’s wrong-headed decision, and writing this public blog post is the best thing that I can think of.


Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. Aphoristic Album Reviews features reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.


  1. I’m an American and I can tell you many of us think that the ascension of this fourth-rate, brainless, moron to a job for which he is ill-equipped is our darkest hour. I will pull no punches. There is no question in my mind he is personally guilty of treason and should be hauled off to prison for the rest of his life. As to the climate issue, our good, worldly former president made.a statement on Paris which you should find and read. It provides hope.

    • I was actually happy when he got the Republican nomination, as I just assumed there was no way he could ever get elected and you’d have a Democrat government again. But I was obviously wrong.

      It’s also scary the amount of division there is between the two sides at the moment – from here it looks like each side has its own set of media, which just feeds the division further. From where I sit it looks like the left is rational and the right resorts to slogans and name calling – for instance I saw something about global warming being caused by “libtard’s” heads exploding recently – but I’m sure it feels different if you’re part of the right.

      • In fairness, there is some hysteria and misinformation on both sides. Also, for the record, I called my representatives’ office in Congress recently. Although it’s clear to anyone with their eyes open that there was massive collusion between tRump (not a typo) and Russia, I did not ask for impeachment. I asked for a special counsel which, lo and behold, happened that day. If by some magic cHump (not a typo) is innocent and the fools around him are guilty, so be it. But despite the utter stupidity and willful blindness of the idiots who continue to follow him, this situation is not some media creation. And yes, each side has its own set of ‘facts.’ As the so-called president himself might say, sad. My only hope is that if he does last four years, the damage can be contained. He is a cancer on the world.

  2. And you made your point extremely well. As a Brit living in the U.S., I’m deeply saddened by the news today, particularly because my homeland has been promoting and succeeding in reducing carbon emissions. It wasn’t ever likely he was going to sign up to the Paris accord (after all he believes climate change is a hoax).

    The U.S. is further distancing itself from the rest of the world, with his xenophobic rhetoric, and jingoistic tendencies. America will suffer deeply from this man I’m afraid.

    • It feels like New Zealand’s been pretty lax on cutting emissions so far, but hopefully we’ll get on it. We’ve had nine years of right wing government, so we might get a left wing coalition involving the Greens this year – it’s hard to know what will happen, as neither party has a charismatic leader.

  3. I tend to shy away from writing about politics on blogs, but good on you for posting this. As a Canadian, I watch what’s going on south of the border and wonder how far it will go. There was talk about whether he even can withdraw, if the wording won’t allow it – I’m sure legal teams are checking it round the clock. In the meantime, he can be seen to be doing something for his base without actually doing anything.

    Forgive my ignorance, but if ony Nicaragua and Syria didn’t sign it, does that mean even North Korea did? Or did nobody even ask them?

        • Actually, despite most of the world’s wishes, tRump can and did pull out that easily. It does not require Congressional approval. (The irony is that the thing is voluntary anyway. cHump and his lackeys are using this to reinforce their pathetic ‘America First’ chant that appeals to their troglodyte followers.) The interesting thing is that it takes several years to withdraw and so (more irony), the withdrawal won’t take effect until the day after the next Presidential election in 2020. So theoretically, if someone wins who isn’t mentally deranged a la Putin’s puppet, he or she could reverse that decision on taking office. But that’s only if A) the rest of the world community still wants us and b) China hasn’t taken our place on the world stage. (BTW, it will likely by a ‘he’ that is in charge next time again. Many people in America hate women including many women. 53% of them voted for a misogynist “pussy-grabber.”) We are a completely fucked-up country.

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