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EU Throws Trade Might Behind Climate Action

The United States under the Trump administration may not take climate change seriously, but the European Union (EU) surely does – and they’re showing just how serious they are by backing up their climate policy with a trade policy.

“The European Union will refuse to sign trade deals with countries that do not ratify the Paris climate change agreement and take steps to combat global warming … The move effectively means the 500-million-citizen bloc is throwing its trade might behind tackling climate change.”

Kudos to the EU! In contrast, the Trump administration is trying to open nearly all offshore waters to drilling. And did I mention that Trump’s EPA is starting the process of trying to replace president Obama’s signature climate legislation – the Clean Power Plan – with something more “industry-friendly”?

Is this an example of the “new American exceptionalism”? We are the only country to reject the climate accord. In fact, we seem to be the only country whose government is still in denial about climate change.

President Trump’s declaration that the United States will get out of the Paris Climate Agreement – to say nothing of the other ways in which the Trump administration is trying to help the fossil fuel industry – puts us on the EU’s “No Trade Deals for You!” list.

And I believe that’s actually a good thing. The EU’s trade policy makes sure there’s a cost to Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the climate emergency. Even as Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress continue to ignore the effects climate change is already having, they will not be able to ignore or deny the impact of the EU’s refusal to make trade deals with the United States.

At some point, it will become impossible for the United States to maintain its climate-denying stance, as the weight of the evidence and the costs of ignoring climate change simply become overwhelming. The longer the United States waits, the greater that cost will be. I’m glad the EU has taken this action to add more “muscle” to the push to change our direction on climate action.

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