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Trump’s climate decision won’t change a lot: Thomas L. Friedman

Monday,Jun 12, 2017

From: China Daily



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Thomas L. Friedman brought his new book Thanks for Being Late and made a speech during a meeting held by the Center for China and Globalization in Beijing on Friday. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Thomas L. Friedman, the American journalist who is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of the international best-selling book, The World is Flat, predicts that many cities and states in the United States will continue to work on the Paris agreement and pursue a low-carton future against the backdrop of US President Donald Trump’s decision last Thursday for the country to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

Trump’s announcement that the United States was quitting the Paris climate accord, a signature achievement of former President Barack Obama’s two terms in office, was met with defiance from business titans and dozens of mayors who vowed to continue to support the goals of the accord to reduce global warming.

Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Tweeted after Trump’s announcement that he was "departing presidential councils". Disney CEO Robert Iger followed him, calling his departure from the president’s advisory council a matter of "principle." California Governor Jerry Brown blasted Trump’s decision to leave the Paris accord, describing it as a "crazy decision".

Speaking of Brown’s state, Thomas Friedmen quipped, "the real opposition party in the United States is not the Democratic Party, it actually has no power. The real opposition party is the state of California, because it has real power."

California has its own environmental rules and 30 other states and two Canadian provinces have basically followed their own environmental rules.

"So if Trump can go to Detroit, and say to Detroit, ’Make every gas guzzler you want. Boys, party like it’s the 1960s.’ But you can’t sell one in California," Friedman added.

In his latest book Thanks You for Being Late, Friedman puts forward an interesting theory that the only engine big enough to impact Mother Nature is Father Greed. People change when they have to — not when told to — and falling natural gas and clean energy prices give them the impetus to do that.

"Technology drives down the price of natural gas and other forms of clean energy every day. Wind and solar now is almost competitive in some places with coal. California has more green-tech workers than the entire workers in the coal industry in the US, "Friedman said.

In Friedman’s opinion, to a degree, the market is already at work on this, because some venture capitalists and companies understand that clean-tech is going to be the next great global industry.

It explains the choice of corporate titans to hit back at Trump’s decision to quit the Paris climate deal.

"Utility companies now don’t want to go back coal," Friedman said.


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