The television clip showing American president, Donald Trump, pushing aside the prime minister of Montenegro at the last NATO meeting, just about sums up the character of the man, and the nature of his presidency up to now. The clip caused a sensation on social media, and rightly so. I even saw a remix of the clip, showing a Trump midget trying to get through the same crowd – and failing. French president, Emmanuel Macron, defended Europe at a private meeting, by giving Trump a handshake that he will never forget. You could even see Trump’s knuckles whitening and see him clenching his teeth. Also of note, is seeing Macron walk up towards the group of leaders, swerve past Trump and avoiding a potential thump and niggling injury. In doing so, he greeted the leaders of Germany and Italy, long before the aggressive Donald, who was desperately looking for a handshake by extending his hand. Despite this cautious approach, Macron did receive a belated “friendly” tap on the shoulder from Trump, as if to say “Don’t do that again, sunshine.” Maybe, just maybe, we will regret, one day, having got rid of intellectual elites and replacing them with demagogic bullies.
If Trump had been playing football (soccer for all you Americans), his opponent could have made a meal of the whole incident, fallen to the ground in agony – like most professional footballers do – and poor old Donald might have got a yellow card. In fact, being so close to the front of the line and visible to all, Trump might even have seen red. From a football fan’s point of view, Donald Trump reminds me of the Leeds United and England legend of days-gone-by, Norman Hunter- all muscle and no brains. He was nicknamed “Bites Yer Legs” Hunter, originating from a banner seen in the 1972 English FA Cup Final. There was a beautiful savagery about the man, and he admitted proudly to having “the odd clash” with opposing centre-forwards. “If you can’t get the ball, get the man”, seemed to be his motto.
Unfortunately, there´s nothing beautiful about Donald Trump’s style of play. This is epitomised by his attitude regarding climate change which, in my view, is like a slowly advancing tumour, which if left untreated, will kill the planet. His reaction to the genuine concerns of other G7 leaders on the matter was nothing short of childish and arrogant, but not necessarily in that order.
The international climate change conference that took place in Paris, in December 2015, led to 195 nations pledging to tackle climate change by significantly reducing fossil fuel emissions. Article 4.11 of the agreement states that, “A Party may at any time adjust its existing nationally determined contribution with a view to enhancing its level of ambition, in accordance with guidance adopted by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Agreement.” The United States, by signing the agreement, promised to reduce its fossil fuel emissions by just over a quarter of their 2005 levels, by 2025. The final objective of the treaty is to completely eliminate fossil fuel emissions by the end of the century. The Paris climate agreement put 2 degrees Celsius as the maximum global warming our planet could take. Staying well below this level is the ultimate goal of the agreement and takes the form of ever-increasing reduction pledges by participating countries. The worst Donald Trump could do, is annul American participation in the agreement. This would be a catastrophic event, because it could also lead to other countries following his example. However, he could decide to remain in the agreement, but reduce the pledge that was signed by Obama at the Paris Conference.
In asking for more time to think over his response to climate change, Donald Trump was possibly doing one of three things, all of which are deeply worrying.
Firstly, he may be genuinely ignorant of the consequences of climate change, which in itself is kind of scary. Maybe someone in Silicon Valley should design a PS4 game entitled It’s Getting Hot Dude – Global Warming Massacre II, with a really thick user’s manual. It is pretty obvious to most people that climate change is not a hoax and has been researched into, over the last few decades. That it is man-made, is also no secret, even for Trump who, in 2012, stated that global warming, like everything else, is made in China. He tweeted, “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” In any case, who needs scientific evidence when billions of people cannot remember the last time that they had a white Christmas. Trump also tweeted on 6th December 2013 that “Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee – I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!” Unfortunately for Trump, Californian children still missed out on a white Christmas because on 25th December, local TV reported that, “after opening their presents, some Southern California children took to the slopes of their local beaches. The warm Christmas Day weather made their venture more worthwhile than a trip to the mountains.” But I’ll be fair to Donald Trump, he does care about the world. To prove it, he insists that the most pressing environmental issue is that of maintaining the world’s clean water supplies. If Trump has his way, not only will we have plenty of water, but we will have boiling water straight out of the tap, to make a cup of tea, if tea plantations have survived, of course.
It is also possible that Trump is still having heated arguments with his daughter, Ivanka – a senior White House adviser – over withdrawing from the treaty. She is not the only one who is deeply emotional about global warming. After having seen a commitment on global warming endorsed by 195 nations, the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, was literally in tears. So there’s no guarantee of what Fabius would do if Trump were to chicken out of the agreement, less than two years later. Well, take my advice Donald, having heated arguments contributes to global warming – so just cool down and listen to reason.
The worst case scenario, is that Trump has already decided to withdraw from the treaty but did not want to admit it in front of his so-called allies, too scared that he would acquire a black eye in the process. He prefers sending an anonymous Tweet, that may go unnoticed, telling the whole wide world that the USA is the only country that matters to him – and the rest of us can stock up on those ultra-thin summer t-shirts, sell our mountain chalets, snow-boards and ski-boots, and just lump it. Well, he is probably right on one thing, at least. The USA is the only country that matters to Donald Trump, because it is the only country that could accept a man like him as its leader.