When I worked as a teacher I sometimes used games like Simon Says both as a reward and a tool to encourage the pupils to speak English, which was quite effective on children that didn’t say much during an English class. Different types of follow the leader or tags were popular outdoor activities. This seems like a relevant comparison these days because when I listen to media’s outcry about Donald Trump, I get the impression that we are doomed, forced to wander around without a wise leader to guide us. The truth is that previous leaders may not have been much more benevolent than what we have today.
I have referred to news as a narration in the past, and unfortunately there aren’t many journalists in my country that prove me wrong. A new narration developed a couple of days ago when Donald Trump hinted that he would withdraw the USA from the Paris climate agreement. The message is that Trump is a deserter and that the USA is no longer a leader. The largest newspaper in Norway claimed that Trump “has abdicated the USA from international leadership, now in the fight against climate change as well” Just how leading have they been?
The Bush administration ignored the Kyoto agreement, while Obama commited the USA to a 17 percent reduction of the 2005 emissions by 2020. Obama has the reputation for being the first US president to take the threat of climate change seriously, but it’s not as obvious to some people that he provided the leadership the world needed.
Emissions went down under Obama, which was partly because methane gas emissions were reduced. There is evidence that instead of a 10 percent reduction between 2002 and 2014, there was a 30 percent increase. There is also the investments supported by the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which is the official export credit agency of the United States Federal Government. It has supported polluting overseas projects that have sabotaged Obama’s green politics at home. I can understand why Trump makes people worried if everything that happened before November 2016 was leadership.
This reminds me of the leadership we had under Jens Stoltenberg. The present Secretary General of NATO was the Norwegian Prime Minister from 2005 to 2013, and his tale was one of the tallest in politics. He talked about Norway being a world leader in climate politics, and the biggest project was carbon capture. Stoltenberg called it our Moon landing because this grand idea was to be just as important to the world as NASA’s mission in 1969. The last thing Stoltenberg did before leaving office was to shut down this project because the technology was too expensive to use.
This is one of the problems with green politics. There are no governments that look for alternatives. They want to continue using fossil fuels, while reducing emissons, which is not profitable yet. It was Stoltenbergs dream to build natural gas and coal power plants without polluting because the CO2 would be stored in underground tombs. It failed miserably.
The Norwegian parliament has committed Norway to reducing the Norwegian emission from 1990 with 30 percent by 2020. We can have a little higher emissions because of the amount of trees, but it is estimated that the emissions will have to be 45-47 million ton in 2020. The actual level has gone down from 54,6 tons in 2000 to 53,4 tons in 2016, which is an improvement of course, but we are far from meeting our obligations. This leaves me with a question:
We have not withdrawn from any UN climate agreements. What consequences does it have for countries that either wihdraw or don’t try hard enough to respect the agreement? None! So what have we done? Maybe we have simply followed the leader?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support Donald Trump’s bizarre view of the world, but I wonder if it’s that much worse than the so-called leadership we have benefitted from thus far. The states, cities and factory owners in the USA don’t have to wait for federal leadership, and they don’t. They didn’t when Bush was president, or when Obama was president, so why start now? They can provide leadership themselves because it is in the country’s best interest. Everybody knows that politicians don’t save the world. We do, or don’t.