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viceversa magazine
viceversa magazine

Such a small America!

Always smaller, always more self-absorbed! The America that President Trump has promised to return to a grandeur, which for the moment exists only in his desires, has ceased to be a beacon of civilization, to become an isolated country, far from the rest of the world, cruel to the needy, the immigrants and, now, the Planet.

Politics is important because it is the space where emotions give way to rationality and, immediacy, to long-term programs. To govern, Politicians should be able to think, rather than about themselves, about the citizens who chose them at the polls and, particularly, about the future generations, who cannot choose but only suffer the consequences, positive or negative, of their decisions.

The world, in spite of those who fight and shout against globalization, has become small inevitably. There are countries however whose policies have a particular impact outside their borders. North America is certainly one of them. The decisions of its government, like stones thrown into a pond, create waves whose effects expand in the distance. This is all the more important when we talk about migrations and climate, very sensitive issues that belong to us all.

During his election campaign, Donald Trump promised war on policies aimed at limiting global warming. He began to act on the promise with decrees that disarranged the energy plans with which the previous president prohibited the extractions in coastal zones and new exploitations of fossil energies. He underlined that a few days ago, with a striking departure from the Paris Accords. Useless were the internal opposition led by his daughter Ivanka, the calls of the big companies, even of those involved in the energy sector, like Exxon and Chevron, and the intense diplomatic work of the leaders of the other countries. With a speech in which he tried to justify the unjustifiable, relying on nationalism, Trump said he represented the citizens of Pittsburg rather than Paris, and put an end to the United States’ participation in the Paris Accords. The only salvation for the planet shakes dangerously, the only meeting point that, after much work, 196 countries managed to agree upon to stop global warming. The only countries not participating therein were Nicaragua and Syria. The United States, the most polluting country on earth after China, now joined them.

It is such an irrational decision, so contrary not only to the well-being of mankind but also to the economic development of his country, that it is difficult to understand the true reasons that motivated his decision, beyond his statements sprinkled with his favorite slogan of «American first.» It is hard to think that the Chief of State of such a relevant country makes fundamental decisions only for the pleasure of trampling on the actions of a predecessor whom, far from diminishing, he himself is transforming into a superhero, a true beloved rock star longed for as never during his rule.

Probable reasons can be found in the Republicans’ most radical wing, as Stephen Bannon’s haunting shadow reemerges strong. In situations of internal tension such as those experienced by Trump from the moment he won the election, many leaders decide to radicalize their speech to secure a hard base, knowing that they cannot recover the other sectors.

It is interesting to note the reactions of the other major players on the international scene, following the decision of the US President. China said it will remain faithful to the Paris accords. The Chinese government and its entrepreneurs must be exulting in the face of the possibility of positioning themselves in the market of alternative energies, incredulous at the enormous spaces of action that America is leaving open to them. Europe, concerned about the ravages of climate change, tries to compact itself so as not to leave room for other desertions. Russia, on the other hand, seemed satisfied with Trump’s decision. Putin took the opportunity to say that he does not want to judge him, leaving his spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, the dirty job of underlining that, «although Russia attaches great importance to the Paris Accords, it considers that its effectiveness would be hopelessly reduced without the participation of the main actors».
And the role of the United States was indeed extremely important, considering that President Obama had agreed to a reduction of between 26% and 28% of pollutant emissions by 2025, as compared to 2005 levels.

Donald Trump’s decision can be a real catastrophe for the whole world. Warming has already reached emergency levels and, even if abiding by the Paris Agreements it would be difficult to keep them below the two grades. Now the danger is more serious: warming will increase, melting in the Arctic will accelerate and sea levels will rise with unimaginable consequences in many coastal areas and islands.

The effects of climate change are very worrisome for Latin America and the Caribbean. According to studies by UNEP (United Nations Environment Program), World Wildlife, ECLAC, FAO and other agencies, increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide are changing the atmospheric phenomena of the region, putting people, as well as flora and fauna, at risk. Heavy rains, and melting glaciers in the Andes, produce devastating floods that alternate with equally devastating droughts. The danger of typhoons, hurricanes, thunderstorms and tides is growing. This year we witnessed the ravages of the floods in Peru and Colombia, countries where the violence of nature has left hundreds of dead and huge damages. To this must be added the increase of the level of the oceans and their acidification, which are conditions that put at risk the islands, the coastal areas as well as the reefs and the survival of the marine fauna. The consequences of the damages that our nations can suffer however have a scope that goes far beyond their borders. Suffice it to say that, according to FAO data, the world’s largest arable land reserves are concentrated in Latin America and the Caribbean, which have one-third of the world’s renewable water resources as well. Ninety two percent (92%) of the forest is also found in this region, mainly in Brazil and Peru, countries that, together with Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela account for between 60 and 70% of all life forms on the planet.

The Earth knows not about limits and borders, and no country can be «big» if it decides to destroy the habitat in which we have to live today and in which the new generations will have to «survive» tomorrow. And that goes for everyone, whether they live in Pittsburg or Paris.

Photo Credits: possan

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