US is not ‘us’ anymore

By Jack Kruf.

The decision of president Donald Trump (another one per decree and not via political and democratic debate and decision lines) to undo existing policies, pledges and contracts related to the commonly Paris agreed and signed innovative climate change approach, must give other countries reason to reconsider the trustworthiness and credibility of the United States.

Where promises, commitments and contracts can be broken so lightly (is there no democratic voting process needed and can one person decide this?), because of self concern, the works of Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469 –1527) are back on the table. His thesis that politics actual is about power and influence has been proven – again – to be so true.

From this decision more public risks will emerge and continue to do so, according most of the leading NGO’s, universities and research institutes. How can something so delicate, our common public domain ‘Earth’ – a balanced, cohesive and healthy society in a sustainable environment –  be considered and treated in such a way? The New York Times reported months ago:

“Trump’s Executive Order Pushes the U.S. Climate Pledge Further Out of Reach: During his first two months in office, President Donald J. Trump has rolled back key Obama-era greenhouse gas regulations. Without these rules in place, the United States is set to fall far short of its 2015 Paris Agreement pledge: to lower emissions by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.”

So again, can the US be trusted if promises can be broken so lightly?, and this without and above all without any care for other countries? We were a team, weren’t we? Or will the president after all appear to be not the leader of his country? If so, then it is ‘Houston, we have a problem”. The opposition against the decree though is growing vastly and swiftly. And lawyers will come in, I expect.

In the article Myopic Voters and Natural Disaster Policy, Andrew Healy, Loyola Marymount University, and Neil Malhotra Stanford University, come to the following conclusions:

“Do voters effectively hold elected officials accountable for policy decisions? Using data on natural disasters, government spending, and election returns, we show that voters reward the incumbent presidential party for delivering disaster relief spending, but not for investing in disaster preparedness spending. These inconsistencies distort the incentives of public officials, leading the government to underinvest in disaster preparedness, thereby causing substantial public welfare losses.

We estimate that $1 spent on preparedness is worth about $15 in terms of the future damage it mitigates. By estimating both the determinants of policy decisions and the consequences of those policies, we provide more complete evidence about citizen competence and government accountability.”

We all now it is time to act on climate change. The factor 15 in the research of Healy and Malhotra ‘predicts’ also huge financial consequences of not acting. You might expect that politicians know where they talk about, expect to be prudent and handle their responsibilities for society and nature with the highest care.

For now, the morning after the night before, the US can not be considered anymore a member of ‘Team Earth’. Maybe we need to find another abbreviation for the United States. It has become a ‘contradictio in terminis’. Above all not united – reading the many articles in the media last week –  and not anymore ‘us’.