Paris Climate Accord

Huffington Post
L. Hunter Lovins
February 2017

This article has been submitted as part of the Natural Capital Coalition’s series of blogs on natural capital by Hunter Lovins, President, Natural Capitalism Solutions, Professor of Sustainable Management, Bard MBA and Time Magazine Millennium “Hero of the Planet”.

As I write, the U.S. Administration is announcing that it is leaving the Paris Climate Accord. The environmental and business communities are outraged. Advocates of withdrawal claim that it will put America first. Little could be further from the truth.

This used to be the position developing nations took at international climate negotiations: rich countries got rich burning coal and oil. Why should we sacrifice our economic development for the good of future generations? Despite Mary Robinson’s plea that poor countries would better meet their aspirations using renewable energy to save the world from climate chaos, they’d reply, “We’d rather get rich now, thank you, even if we all roast later.” Or sooner: 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded. But if people are hungry and don’t yet have the luxury of worrying whether their second house should be in the Azores or St Moritz, you can see the logic, robustly urged on by the coal companies. Coal miners in West Virginia and Pennsylvania said much the same in electing this Administration: we don’t care about the climate, we want our jobs.