It may be that whatever response we were making to the challenge of climate change was insufficient. But at least most governments were trying, most citizens cared, most corporations had policy responses – and even lip service indicated a recognition of the issue. Paris allowed for progress.
But this is different. Not only is the withdrawal from Paris by the Trump Administration a setback, it goes further: it’s a sign that, in denial, America will consciously allow climate change to worsen. Indeed, it will deliberately do so. Coal will be burnt as a statement, atmospheric carbon will be increased as a gesture of contempt, and true believers in Trump must double down on rejecting reality.
This then raises an existential question. If Trump and those who follow him are now, without apology and without pretense, prepared to accelerate climate change, what is the allowable moral response?
If, as change in the environment becomes ever more apparent, ever more chaotic, ever more disastrous, and the prospect of civilizational suicide ever more likely, what is not just allowable but demanded of citizens of the world?