Paris Climate Agreement - Some Good News

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posted on Fri, Jun 02, 2017

This is not an opinion piece or to discuss the morality of the U.S. exit from the current Paris Climate Agreement.  There is plenty of that already out there!  It is to discuss what really drives our economy and the prospects of our world.  This nation and world does not prosper due to government intervention and policy.  It is the citizens with their innovation and resolve.

In the closing words of the Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln says, “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  To further the message by people who spoke exponentially more eloquent than me. In President Kennedy’s inaugural address he notes, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

The economy and our climate are not going to prosper or fail due to government policy.  We the people dictate the true direction.  You want proof?  At last count 29 states have committed to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement to keep global temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels and ultimately shoot for 1.5 degrees.  You want more proof?  Scroll down your social media feeds and count how many pictures of glowing green buildings you see across the world.  Wait, you want even more proof?  The CEO of General Electric tweeted out, “Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”  And for those more hip and younger readers, Mark Zuckerberg posted the following on Facebook (no way he is using twitter!), “Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children’s future at risk.  For our part, we’ve committed that every new data center we build will be powered by 100% renewable energy.  Stopping climate change is something we can only do as a global community, and we have to act together before it’s too late.”

So, what do we do now?

As a financial advisor I would suggest we don’t overreact as we don’t know the long-term effects yet.  And I never make decisions on short term noise.  Trump could renegotiate a new deal, there could be a new president in less than four years (or maybe sooner) and a million other things can and will happen between now and 2020 (the first real benchmark year of the Paris Climate Agreement).

As a human being I suggest you take real action for whatever you believe in.  Communicating your displeasure and vision on social media is a good start, but action and true conversation will move the needle.  Digging your heels in and yelling from the roof tops only further divides us.  Get involved, have discussions with people who have different views and figure out an appropriate course of action.  Be like Dale Carnegie from his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.  If you have a lemon, make a lemonade.