Whether we like it or not, President Donald Trump possesses a depthless understanding and view of the peril of climate change against what majority of scientists suggest.
Prior to his election, Trump was reported to have signed an open letter with other world business leaders to President Obama ahead of the Copenhagen Climate summit. This suggest one thing: President Trump once believed climate change was real. However, throughout the period he actively canvassed for votes to become President of the United States, Trump repeatedly made mockery of climate change, calling it a “hoax” designed by the Chinese to remain competitive in global trade. With his nomination of Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier, to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), he seems to be solidifying his stance and view, rather myopically, on global warming. That single action of nominating a global warming skeptic like Scott, prompts one to believe that his climate change comments were just not the “usual” rhetoric to win an election.
President Trump does not believe in the Paris Climate Accord and has threatened to withdraw the United States from the agreement. Republican legislators seem to back Trump’s actions so far on Climate Change giving that they have not resisted his approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline Project even though environmentalists and scientists have made clear the devastation of the project on animals, oil production and climate change.
Without much options left, scientists are rallying the international community and diplomats, including UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May to pump sense into the skull of Trump who still believes that human activities do not contribute to global warming.
Writing from Africa and, for those who have had the opportunity of traveling across the continent, the threat (and stories) of climate change is disheartening. In the early 90’s when I was growing up in rural Ghana, rains would normally set in by late March and early April for the planting season to commence. In less than two decades, the trend has changed markedly and first rains could arrive as late as early June for the main agricultural season to start.
Why should we be worried about this trend? Food security is under threat. Rising temperatures threaten the survival of the savannah. Drought is imminent as already is the case in South Africa and other parts of the world. Devastating tsunamis will hit as a result of ice melting in the far south and north poles due to rising temperatures. The effects are innumerable.
Must we blame President Trump if he reverses or thwarts all of the efforts and gains so far made on Climate Change?
Big no! It is safe to say that his shortsighted view of global warming was due to his being ill-informed about the scourge of the phenomena. It is unsafe at this time to continue to lend him the benefit of the doubt. Now, Trump is surrounded with some of the world’s best scientists and minds in the White House anyone could ever have. If Trump continues to exhibit how bereft he is in knowledge and understanding of the climate threat, White House scientists – I argue – should be squarely blamed. It will be their monumental failure if they are unable to “educate” or “pump sense” into the President’s head. In fact, if White House scientists fail to get the President to rethink global warming, I am inclined to think that it would be a deliberate attempt to have Africa – which unfortunately suffers most from the scourge – to capitulate to the caprices of Western nations. That will be neo-colonialism redefined and the counter-productivity on Africa’s development as a direct consequence of such astigmatic Trump White House Climate Change policy cannot be gauged.
Africa deserves climate justice. We endure the brunt of a scourge we are not responsible for and to allow Trump and his White House scientists to exercise their whims or snooze on this issue is to see our destruction and do nothing to prevent it.
Your comments are welcome
Simon is a Mandela Rhodes Scholar. He was named among Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds and he is a recipient of the St Gallen Wings of Excellence Award. Simon is passionate about development issues on the African continent and the role young people can play to make Africa a better place. He is the founder of PeFHED and also runs a mentorship programme for African youngsters aged 18-25. In his spare time, he loves to travel and sightsee.