Mary Ellen is an adjunct professor of sociology and anthropology at Palomar College,
San Marcos, CA.
Naturally, I was disappointed when the President, in yet another remarkably stupid decision, announced his intention to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. As a man obsessed with setting records, he has earned the title #worstpresidentever at record speed.
Still, I think it's worth noting that the President's announced intention to pull out of the Accord is not in itself the most serious offense he's committed vis-a-vis the environment. The fact is, he had already reversed the environmental protections that President Obama put in place in compliance with the Accord, so in actuality, we were already back on the path of becoming the planet's worst polluter. In other words, Trump's announcement was consistent with what he had already done. In effect, he acted like a man who's been cheating on his wife since they married and who now proclaims his intention to get a divorce. Surprise, surprise.
In the end, the only thing the President will "accomplish" by this action will be that he will have succeeded in turning the world's nations against the US. Since the terms of the Paris Accord prevent any signing nation from formally withdrawing from the agreement until 2020 (the year when Trump may come up for re-election, assuming he lasts that long), Trump's only way out of the Accord before 2020 was to break the contract, an act which would be, on a global scale, entirely consistent with how he's operated as a businessman throughout his sordid career. Whatever credibility and respect we may have earned as an ethical nation in the global community under Obama will have been lost. Still, did anyone really think that Trump would ever magically morph into an honest, wise, and honorable man?
Yes, this move is very sad, very painful, very wrong, but no one should be surprised. We knew he was a snake.