Vegans and the Paris Climate Agreement
This installment of Politics & Protest will focus on the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.
President Trump Intends To Pull Out Of The Paris Climate Agreement
If only his father had done the same.
A central theme in much of the content found on The Misunderstood Mammal is a complete and utter disgust for the actions of the Trump Administration, on many levels. The Politics & Protest series focuses on how the Trump administration has harmed the vegan movement, as well as the whole of humanity, both directly and indirectly. Our greatest threat is the Trump administration’s approach to the environment, which is abysmal and harmful to the entire world.
What Is The Paris Climate Agreement?
In a nutshell, the Paris Climate Agreement is a global commitment between world leaders to address the climate crisis. The Agreement involves 197 countries as well as the European Union. Currently, 187 parties have ratified the agreement. The countries agree to set emission reduction targets, mitigation plans to begin conversion to renewable resources, and to develop specific strategies to achieve those goals.
The Paris Agreement’s primary goal is to limit the global temperature rise this century to “below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels“, and preferably 1.5 degrees if at all possible, as well as addressing Greenhouse Gas Emissions. This is a lofty goal that requires the collaboration and cooperation of many. However, that’s all it is, a goal. The Paris Agreement doesn’t require anything of the US. The planet is in a dire situation and at the moment coming together to develop plans and initiatives capable of mitigating the damage is the best we can hope for.
Why Should Vegans Care?
Everyone should care, this affects every living organism on the planet. As the global temperature rises and more carbon is released into the atmosphere, we are seeing a chain reaction taking place which extremely alters our ecosystem. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is currently higher than at any time in the past 800,000 years and has increased by 40% from preindustrial levels, this is frightening.
The oceans are heating, as well as absorbing one-third of the human-released Carbon Dioxide, which dissolves into the sea to form carbonic acid. This has increased 25-30% from pre-industrial times. The high carbonic acid concentration raises PH levels and causes ocean acidification. Ocean Acidification is currently higher than any point in the past two million years. This is killing the Great Barrier Reef as well as oceanic organisms.
Ocean Acidification Side Effects
Carbon Dioxide is absorbed by the ocean and dissolves, becoming carbonic acid, carbonate, and bicarbonate, and this requires a delicate balance for sustaining life in the sea. However, as the ocean becomes more acidic from an abundance of carbonic acid, this creates an imbalance of carbonate and bicarbonate, causing a depletion of carbonate. The shells and skeletons of marine life are formed from carbonate, the abundance of bicarbonate causes shells and skeletons to literally dissolve. It’s like we’re giving the ocean osteoporosis.
Sea creatures are weird, some have shells, some have claws, some have fins or tentacles… not to mention those with little weird glowing doohickeys and large teeth. Ocean life is hard to relate to, especially for non-vegans who have problems relating to any animal that doesn’t look like them. So, this may not seem like a major concern to someone who does not think animals matter morally, especially if they don’t eat sea creatures. Many non-vegans would laugh at the osteoporosis line, although, it’s not intended to be funny. Maybe something that affects everyday human life will help to make the connection. No matter if someone is a vegan, environmentalist, or just another mindless consumer, this information is good for all to know.
Coral Polyps & You
Coral Polyps are tiny sea creatures that spend their lives building the coral reefs which protect our coastlines from erosion and flooding. Coral reefs are the most biodiverse ecosystem on the planet. Coral Polyps are no longer capable of maintaining the coral reef systems due to the lack of carbonate and the reefs are dying, along with all of the species they house. Just how much does this affect human life on land?
As a vegan, I won’t be using the fact that the United Nations have concluded that sea life is the primary protein source for nearly 4 Billion people worldwide (especially in developing and impoverished countries) as a reason people should care about coral reefs. This is appalling in and of itself and will be tackled in another post concerning advocating a vegan lifestyle in developing and impoverished communities. However, even without taking into account sea life as a food source, humans are dependent upon those coastlines because so many of us live and work on or near the coast.
Entire industries are dependant upon the continued existence of these coral reefs, to the tune of $375 billion each year. It’s surprising that a greedy troll like Trump wouldn’t take notice of this, especially since his beloved Mar-a-Lago resort is one of the properties in the danger zone as it is protected by the Great Florida Reef. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, around half a billion people live within 62 miles of a coral reef and depend on those reefs to survive, even if they don’t know it.
Climate Chain Reaction
This is a complex problem, however, the concept is really quite simple to understand. First, you must understand the carbon cycle. Carbon is an element that is found everywhere on this planet, and every living being is made of carbon.
Carbon is the fourth most abundant element we have discovered. Earth contains around 65,500 billion metric tons of carbon stored in rocks, in the water, air, vegetation, soil, and most importantly, those wretched fossil fuels. These are known as Carbon Reservoirs.
The Carbon Balance
Carbon moves between these reservoirs as it is used, this is called the carbon cycle, and it was balanced for millions of years before the Industrial Revolution. Humans have caused a great imbalance in the carbon reservoirs, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and agricultural pollution. This releases more carbon into the atmosphere than the ecosystem can manage. This results in an imbalanced cycle. The Paris Climate Agreement hopes to reconcile that balance.
There are two carbon cycles, a short-term, and a long-term carbon cycle. This is important to remember because the uneducated people to your right claim that we’ve had ice ages which contradict the climate change threat, or they experience a phenomenon known as “winter” and think global warming is a hoax. However, the carbon cycle works to balance the Earth’s temperature in both the long and short-term.
Basically, this indicates that for a short time period, such as a hundred thousand years the Earth’s temperature can fluctuate, but all of the carbon is never released into the atmosphere. This is because in the short-term most of the action is happening on the surface of the planet rather than underground. Whereas, when researching Earth’s history over the long-term, up to tens of millions of years, things are a bit different.
Over tens of millions of years, much is happening below the surface of the land and oceans, it’s just at a slower pace than humans experience on the surface. The movement of tectonic plates has a massive impact on how much carbon is released from the interior of the Earth. So, when the plates shift (which isn’t often) there can be massive changes that have just been waiting to happen. This is evidenced by the last 50 Million years when the climate changed from the warm Cretaceous era to the cold glacial climates of the Pleistocene era. These were naturally occuring climate changes due to the carbon cycle.
In the atmosphere, carbon is found attached to oxygen. The molecules combined create Carbon Dioxide, or Co2. Vegetation absorbs the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converts it to energy to grow. Then, in turn plants release oxygen back into the air, but the carbon doesn’t just disappear, it is stored in the plant. Another common myth the people to your right like to purport is that fossil fuels are just a bunch of dead decomposing dinosaurs. Fossil fuels are primarily created by dead plants that have been buried for millions of years.
TL;DR: Climate Change
To recap, before human intervention with the Industrial Revolution, the planet maintained a balanced carbon cycle. Most of the carbon was stored in rocks, what wasn’t stored in rocks was used to create life. Plants absorbed carbon dioxide from the air, converting it into energy to grow. The plants died and decomposed, releasing some of the carbon into the soil or were buried deep for millions of years converting it to fossil fuels.
Some of the carbon in the atmosphere also makes it to the surface as carbonic acid, a weak acid known as acid rain. The acid rain penetrates and dissolves the surface of the rocks, releasing calcium, magnesium, potassium, or sodium ions. These ions are washed into streams, rivers, and oceans where they combine with the other elements of the ocean then settle on the bottom to form rocks such as limestone, which store carbon.
Cue the Industrial Revolution
As described, carbon dioxide isn’t a bad thing, but an abundance of Co2 in the atmosphere is. This, coupled with other factors, is what will kill the human race. Co2 is absorbed from the atmosphere by several methods. First, carbon allows infrared rays from the sun to enter our atmosphere and warm the planet, if it didn’t we would all freeze to death. However, it works like a one-way valve. It lets the rays in but not out. This is what creates the greenhouse effect.
The greenhouse effect causes temperatures to constantly rise; each year sets a new record for the hottest year. This is dangerous for humans and animals for many reasons. The heat alone causes heat-related illnesses in humans such as heat stroke and cardiovascular issues. Those most susceptible are they very old and very young. But, it also affects the ecosystem in other ways, and it is a compounding problem which will result in disease and death.
The Industrial Revolution brought about the use of fossil fuels. Burning oil and coal releases an abundance of Co2 into the atmosphere. This abundance of Co2 didn’t happen before human intervention, before Capitalism. Capitalism is a driving force behind all exploitation, it doesn’t matter if the topic is human exploitation, animal exploitation, or exploitation of the planet and environment. The dependence on fossil fuels and deforestation has a direct explanation, greed. Deforestation such as the burning of the Amazon is a compounding issue. Why is deforestation a problem? Trees are necessary to filter the Co2 from the air.
Amazon Next Day Carbon Filtering
The Amazon absorbs 2 billion tons of CO2 per year (or 5% of annual emissions). Fewer forests lead to less Co2 filtering, leading to more Co2 in the atmosphere. This has the obvious and unavoidable result of increased temperatures.
But wait, that’s not all! There’s more! As the temperatures increase, the surface becomes arid as droughts occur more often. Again, another obvious result, this is all simple common sense, no science degree is needed to grasp this information. The vegetation and underbrush begin to dry out due to the lack of moisture and abundance of heat. Next, the widespread and devestating wildfires begin. As the state of California goes up in flames, or the Amazon rainforests, the billowing towers of smoke send even more Co2 into the skies.
Wildfires not only compound the problem but they destroy lives. Families are driven from their homes, people die, and the insects and animals who called those forests home perish. In the interim, as the forest tries to heal, invasive speices take over and create an imbalance in the ecosystem wiping out entire species. Doesn’t this sound fun?
Not to mention the other effects of climate change. The abundance of greenhouse gasses is also affecting the Jet Stream, which is a fast-flowing, narrow band of very strong predominantly westerly air currents that control the weather for the Northern Hemisphere. The Jet Stream is controlled by the temperature. As it flows from one part of the hemisphere to another the warmth or cold direct the Jet Stream.
Again, this is a compounding proplem. Sea ice reflects light, whereas dark ocean water absorbs the light and heat. As the temperaturs increase sea ice melts revealing the dark water. Global warming due to climate change causes the water to heat up and melt glaciers. The increasing temperatures of the Arctic disrupt the jet stream which is why some areas of the Northern Hemisphere now receive extreme periods of heat and drought while others are experiencing flooding.
Extreme Weather & The Jet Stream
The jet stream has been changing rapidly over the last 15 years, developing an extreme pattern that is leading to more weather extremes. This is the cause of the heat and wildfires in California and Central Europe, flooding in the Eastern U.S. and unsustainable heat in the Scandinavian Arctic region. These extreme weather cycles lead to further ecosystem imbalances. For example, heat and flooding, mixed with superstorms, creates a breeding ground for mosquitos in some regions, leading to the spread of disease.
Rising sea levels, flooding, drought, wildfires, superstorms, arctic winter weather, melting glaciers, death and, disease. These are all symptoms of climate change, and they are working together in this chain reaction to ensure the planet will not be a hospitable place to live in the very near future. Anyone under 50 years old should be gravely concerned. This is the Information Age, maybe humans weren’t aware of the damage they were inflicting 150 years ago, but we are now. There is no rational justification for continuing this madness.
With all of this information, why would Trump want to pull out of the Paris Agreement? He claims that he is doing so in the best interest of the US economy. He claims that America was not treated fairly in the agreement and that the US takes on too much responsibility and cost. Trump tries to paint America as the whipping boy of the world. Not because it is true, but because he wants to paint himself as America’s savior, which is also not true.
Trump cannot officially do anything until November 4, 2020, the day after the next presidential election. However, what he has been able to do is decimate our standing as a world leader with his obstinance and constant obfuscations. To better understand, one must deconstruct his reasons for not wanting to be a part of the Paris Agreement. The false-President gave a speech in the Rose Garden outlining the reasons he will withdraw from the agreement. The man seems to suffer from dementia, so most of the speech was incoherent gibberish.
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. –Dale Carnegie
First, the President seems to think that all of the allies to the US are out to get America. He’s afraid of minorities, afraid of our national bird, and afraid of change, and he wants Americans to be afraid too.
“We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair.”
This is another lie being purported by the President. There are no further negotiations for the Paris Agreement. For the first time in human history, practically every world leader has been able to come to an agreement, and they’ve gone on record as stating there will be no further negotiations. However, since each country is allowed under this agreement to set their own goals and commitments, Trump could easily ratify the Paris Agreement, and then alter the Obama Clean Power Plan to better meet America’s needs. So, his logic is, as usual, flawed to the point of falsehood.
“China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020.”
Another lie told to the American people by this president. The Paris agreement does not prevent the US from building coal plants. However, if we are going to continue to build coal plants we may as well just commit mass suicide as a nation. Coal is a dying industry in America but not because of the Paris Agreement.
The truth is, America is transitioning to natural gas thanks to the furthered use of fracking. While fracking in itself is controversial, it is undeniably cleaner and more efficient than coal. This is what is driving the coal plant closures in America, the free market. Trump literally doesn’t understand how a free market works. Furthermore, China is investing nearly 400 Million dollars in renewable energy thanks to the Paris Agreement. They are literally leading the way toward a sustainable future while Trump drags his Neanderthal-knuckles in the dirt.
Second, he thinks it’s going to hurt the US economy. For a so-called businessman, he has a very poor grasp of how the economy and free-market actually work. Trump’s claims are utter nonsense. In fact, 25 of the largest corporations in America actually took out a full-page ad in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post urging Trump to reconsider and many companies are following the market and making the emissions cuts themselves.
“China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years, 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.”
This man just makes things up to meet his needs and his supporters believe it because they don’t fact check things, or believe facts. China plans to reduce carbon emissions by up to 65%, while India plans a 35% emissions cut. It is important to keep in mind that these are also developing countries that have a priority obligation to raise their citizens out of poverty. America is historically the highest carbon emissions offender because we’ve already done our damage. It’s asinine to expect India to match our goals.
“Compliance with the terms of the Paris accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs — not what we need.”
It’s obvious Trump doesn’t understand credibility. As evidenced by his reliance on the Crowdstrike conspiracy theory. He cited information he obtained from sources that are notably biased against the Paris Agreement. He stated conflated “Facts” which make wild and extreme assumptions as to how the goals will be met.
His position also does not take into account how the free market will adjust as benefits from the lower emissions and new renewable resource industries emerge. To make matters worse, Trump’s actions will allow India to become the third-largest solar power market in the world by 2018, second to the US and China. America could have had those jobs.
“The green fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars of which the United States has already handed over $1 billion. Nobody else is even close. Most of them haven’t even paid anything — including funds raided out of America’s budget for the war against terrorism. That’s where they came.”
When the President is using words such as “likely” and “potentially”, or if his mouth is open, there’s a good chance he’s lying to the American people. This occurrence is no different. 43 governments have agreed to contribute funds of $10.13 billion. The US has contributed $1 billion of the $3 billion allotted from a foreign assistance program, the State Department’s Economic Support Fund.
“Believe me, we have massive legal liability if we stay in.”
This is Trump deceiving the American people again. If he were being honest with the American people he would have said is this, “Believe me, I have a massive legal liability if we stay in. I don’t want the courts to use the Paris Agreement against me as I battle against the Obama Clean Power Plan. Both of which will help to mitigate the climate crisis. However, I don’t believe in the climate crisis because I’m a scientifically illiterate orangutan.”
Third, and most importantly, he doesn’t understand climate change, or much else (aside from Big Macs, fraud, and porn stars).
“Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree — think of that, this much — Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount.”
This is a logical fallacy known as the “appeal to futility fallacy”. He thinks that .2 degrees aren’t meeting the goal so why try at all? He may as well state that since people are still killing each other with guns we may as well not try to address the problem with legislation. Actually, that may be his stance on common sense gun legislation.
First, .2 degrees celsius is nothing to laugh at. It could literally save millions of lives. As mentioned previously, our situation is dire and compounding daily, and this will affect human health and animal wellbeing, especially for the very young and very old and the impoverished. If we can buy an extra four months with .2 degree savings it will mean the world to so many. Literally life and death.
Second, the president is under the assumption that initial emission cuts proposed in the plan are the end of the road. However, this is just the beginning. The Paris Agreement is acknowledged to be simply a starting point, each country will report back periodically and make further pledges to continue our growth toward a sustainable future.
“As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States, which is what it does.”
It may make you throw up in the back of your throat a bit when he spews this deceptive drivel. Trump is the least environmentally-friendly leader the US has ever had. He’s a senile old man who has no idea what he is talking about.
The man pushes verifiably debunked conspiracy theories as fact for God’s sake. There is nothing to support his claim. He’s doing all in his power to roll back environmental protections at a dangerous pace, decimating the power of the EPA, destroying the leadership in the organization, and allowing a multitude of environmentally unfriendly things to happen. Such as the Keystone Pipeline, which is still leaking oil into North Dakota drinking water.
For a more in-depth fact-check on the lies told by the false-President concerning the Paris Agreement withdrawal, check out this detailed article by the Washington Post.
The Senile Leading the Screwed
The poor decision making and leadership skills displayed by Donald J. Trump are appalling, to say the least. He has endangered the future of all mankind with his lack of intelligence and his selfish nature. No rational reason exists for what he is doing. He is giving the future away to other world powers, but for what?
The only logical answer is that he wanted to piss off the Left in order to mobilize his scientifically illiterate, gullible constituency. This means that, much like he betrayed American Democratic values by forcing the Ukrainian President into a Quid Pro Quo to investigate his primary political opponent, he has betrayed Americas (and the world’s) safety, health and well-being purely to further his own political career and nothing more.
Another factor to consider is, who is susceptible to all of the above mentioned calamity? The Common Man, that’s who. The rich are going to suffer in the coming years due to climate change. However, the plight of the elite will be paltry in comparison to the hardship, disease, and death which will befall the rest of society. The elite are wealthy, insured, and prepared. Whereas the Common Man, especially the impoverished and minorities, are incapable of adjusting to these disasters. The impoverished and minorities are the two subsects of society Trump hates the most. Could Trump be trying to use climate change as a passive-aggressive form of genocide? Donald Trump is a menace to society.
Vote Trump Out In 2020, It’s Our Only Hope!