Will he or won’t he?
That’s the question every policy wonk who cares about climate change has been asking since election night in November. With the he, of course, being Donald Trump. And the topic being the Paris Agreement on climate change – and whether the US President plans to bail.
For weeks, Trump and his administration have been taunting the media and global leaders with possible deadlines – which then are retracted – and with meetings of senior Cabinet officials, which have been postponed. First, the decision was going to come before the G7 meeting in Europe. Then, on Saturday, Trump tweeted during that meeting that he will make his “final decision” on this all-important climate accord “next week!” (Punctuation his).
This eternal back-and-forth prompted John Upton, a writer at Climate Central, to say Trump is drawing all of us into his “game show.” Narrative tension, set. Tune in for the showcase showdown – except instead of cash or cars the question here is whether the all-important Paris Agreement will survive and, consequently, whether the planet is likely screwed.
Of course, it’s not new for the reality TV host-turned-president to be critiqued for using cliffhanger TV production techniques to keep the American public craving new episodes in his presidency. But it’s worth stepping back for just a moment to remember exactly how much is at stake in what Trump calls his forthcoming “final decision” on this matter.