Importantly, the Paris agreement isn’t just about climate change; it’s also a symbol of global cooperation during a surge in nationalism. It is no coincidence that the EU is collectively rushing to support the agreement just as internationalist governments are regaining electoral power again.
In fact, support for the agreement – and the public’s awareness of it – has arguably never been higher. Trump’s announcement was a blow for the accords, but it has also served as a rallying cry for those who want to work together to leave a better world for their grandchildren. Rather beautifully, this seems to include the entirety of the rest of the world.
Multilateralism is taking on an unprecedented array of new forms. A bipartisan coalition of states, businesses, mayors, and magnates across America have not merely promised to work with the rest of the planet, for example. They are actively donating massive amounts of money to climate funds, investing heavily in renewable energy sources in their own territories, and – perhaps most impressively – they are already signing their own climate pacts with foreign nations.
California, most notably, has already set up pacts with both China and Germany, two of the world’s most powerful and polluting nations, in order to help cut carbon footprints and develop cutting-edge low-energy tech.
Meanwhile, the newly-elected President of France has offered American climate scientists four-year-long funding grants if they come and study in the Republic, and EU politicos have banded together to tell the White House that, contrary to Trump's claims, the Paris agreement is not up for renegotiation.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s not America itself that’s isolated on the global stage when it comes to climate change – it’s the Trump administration. Today’s vote is just another example of the divide between the wider world and the President and his cronies.