Environmental Justice and Trumpism in the world
Make The World Great Again
By Götz Kaufmann, 2017-06-06
Since President Trump was elected, media and politicians around the world have been in hesitation and doubt how far the new White House will go. On June 1, 2017, the President of the United States (POTUS) has announced the withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord as Bloomberg Politics reported:
At this point, Trump's politics or rather the politics of Trumpism has reached direct policy impact. The analysis is interesting insofar as the Paris Agreement can hardly be called a good day for Environmental Justice, as we argued in December 2015 earlier: "Most NGOs and activists have stressed that they have been excluded from the process in Paris when it took place. Powerful stakeholders have agreed on the bare minimum and without any binding requirement. This means that who, when, and to whom payment has to be made is not included in the agreement. Who shall govern it, who contributes, who can claim it, and for what? The main concern should focus more on the 'ifs' than on the written text. As the quoted Dr. Ancygier admits: 'Even if the Agreement (of Paris - editor's note) is set to enter into force in 2020, we cannot afford to waste the coming 5 years with the introduction of the framework required for a global energy transition.' The first barrier of a success as a fact though is not the consent of the current political class. Considering upcoming elections (at least in the democratic countries), the value of an agreement must be put on probation, if such an agreement enters into force at a time when those that have agreed to it, may not be in power anymore."
Unfortunately, there is nothing good in being right here. The more interesting aspect is that there was no neoliberal reason for backing off the Paris Accord. As has been argued, no contribution from any state was binding. The Trump administration could have simply stopped any payments and changed its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and there was nothing what the international community could have done about it.
Even more damage would have been caused to the process as the US administration were still part of the agreement's parties. Why did this happen then? Large US companies are against it; even climate sceptics didn't see a reason not to be part of a non-binding agreement like this one. Why did the administration join the only two countries (Syria and Nicaragua) that have not signed this toothless agreement?
In a seldom joint action France, Italy, Germany, and even the UK opposed Trump stating that the "Paris Agreement remains irreversible" and will not be re-negotiated:
Canadian television broadcast CTV discussed the impact of US pulling out of the Paris agreement, stating that it is going to weaken America's position in the world and may put businesses in trouble as businesses require consistency for proper planning of investment but may have to reshuffle again when Trump's term ends.
Less pessimistic is Joshua Meltzer of the Brookings Institution. He sees US's policy change will not impact the greenhouse gas emissions of the next four to five years. As he argues the industry goals have already been set and will continue to be carried out.
A more balanced discussion on the advanatages and disadvantages is reported by THE CONVERSATION. The article refers to a debate by leading scientists like Christian Downie, John Dryzek, Mark Howden, Luke Kemp with author Jonathan Pickering at an event held by the Australian National University's (ANU) Climate Change Institute.
Every politician is always and continuously twisted between inner politics and international affairs. This is true even more for the person Donald Trump who did not only take on the liberal elites and the so-called establishment in Washington DC but the whole Grand Old Party (GOP), the Republicans, at once.
We have portrayed Donald Trump earlier as the re-shaper of US politics and "[e]verything that Donald Trump has said could have been a joke" even though our analysis didn't rely on this. Post-rational-choice theories often assume that there is some rationality behind every action which is particularly true when considering institutional constraints due to international links.
Liberal media continue their attempt to apply the established policy establishment discourse to the new US administration, without any doubt in an entertaining manner:
The missing key point resides in lack of class based analysis. Contrary to most leftist argumentation, Trumpism in the US and the Trumps of the World, in the shape of BREXIT or Le Pen in France is "no fascism, no ideology, no storm troopers, no fascist organization" (Noam Chomsky). The discussion about discrimination and disadvantaging people misses the point when it ignores that "class is most relevant". In the globalized world, we have every year more losers than winners. In less industrialized countries, this results in the growth of radical organizations like Al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other ideologies that aim to explain why the Word System Differential (download chapter here) appears to be universal where in fact it is beneficial only for a few. When we look at these 'few', we learn that these are not the women (sexism), not the people of color (racism), not people of Jewish or Muslim belief, old people(ageism), people that do not match the current beauty ideal (lookism), not gay people (heterosexualism) but that these are always the poor people. Truly, as critical research intersectionality can teach us, a non-proportional amount of women, people of color, and old people (among others) are also poor. The logic of arrival, the logic of what comes from what, however, is not bidirectional but unidirectional. A lot of people in the first world suffer from growing inequality caused by globalizing the chain of production and leaving this growth in the hands of the market alone.
Donald Trump has realized this fact, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats' establishment have not. Socialist, social-democratic and popular parties have forgotten their constituency in the past decades. Their establishments have gone through a process of continuous disconnection from the people they claim to represent. This is true not only for the US. France, Germany, Italy, UK, and most of the countries in the world share this experience, an experience of an expectation gap. What is promised is not what is delivered. Globalization is supposed to be good for everyone. The majority does not see it like this anymore. Progressive parties and organizations, research themes on transformation, radical reformism (Herbert Marcuse), critical Theory, and, first and foremost, Environmental Justice Research have failed here. Our complaints of social reality are accompanied by our own lack of recognition.
As long as politicians and researchers both privileged and progressive always defend the status quo as the best of all possible worlds when people are dying and suffering because the market cannot regulate the social alone, we are responsible for the Trumps of the world too. Trump is carrying out an idea of a world where a country can be run like a multi-billion Dollar company. No one can truly believe that this can work.
The problem is that Trump is not cause but effect of social relations. Terrorism in Muslim countries, refugees that try to swim over the Mediterranean by risking their life, suicide attackers like recently in London are not cause but effect of a system that systematically disadvantages a particular class.
Looking at France, Noam Chomsky calls "Macron (...) a good example how the established institutions have collapsed". There is to add that society is contract made by its members (Rousseau). Research is asked to go beyond moral complaints of individuals' actions but go back to critical theories that explain and frame the world.
Image: © FRANKELOP