The Sunday Mail
Is Mr Donald Trump running America like he is running a private company?
The American president who spent much of his life in the private sector, which is normally driven by nothing but the profit motive and self-interest, seems to be applying some hyperbolic free market principles in his attempt to achieve what he calls “making America great again”.
In his bid to leave no stone unturned to achieve the American dream, he has already repealed some of the policies of his predecessor, such as Obamacare.
He was about to sign an executive order to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, until he was petitioned to settle for renegotiation.
While we have no business in the above, it is his recent move that gets us worried.
About a fortnight ago, Mr Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, a United Nations agreement which seeks to deal with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and financing starting in the year 2020. Cry Al Gore cry!
Folks, science has already told us that if our planet’s carbon emissions continue unimpeded, atmospheric pressure will keep rising.
Eventually, the earth will become a literal living hell experiencing rising sea levels, droughts, violent storms, you name it.
A global response, through initiatives such as the Paris Climate Accord, was therefore a step in the right direction to try and ensure that every country contributed in the reduction of global emissions to prevent the adverse effects of climate change.
In his wisdom, President Robert Mugabe signed the Accord on 22 April last year, on behalf of Zimbabwe, at the United Nations to mark the country’s commitment to the environment. President Mugabe is on record saying, “My country is committed to playing its part in combating climate change impacts.
“We have, through our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 33 percent per capita by 2030.”
His sentiments agree with Section 73 of Zimbabwe’s constitution which gives every person the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being and to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations.
The same constitution also requires that legislative and other measures be taken to prevent pollution and ecological degradation, promote conservation and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting economic and social development.
In keeping with that, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri moved a motion in Parliament two months ago for the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
It was one of the few motions whereby parliamentarians spoke with one voice in support of the motion.
This shows that the country is really committed to take appropriate action in preventing or minimising the damage that climate change can cause.
But what is America’s Mr Trump doing about the climate in his attempt to take the American Dream to the next level by hook or crook?
He is only thinking in terms of jobs, that the Accord could cost America about 2,7 million jobs by 2025. He does not think beyond that.
You see, America is responsible for not less than 15 percent of global emissions and should actually be at the forefront of initiatives to reduce the dangerous fumes.
But Mr Trump, in his selfish conviction, knows that polluting less might imply less revenue, as some American factories might be compelled to go bust.
He forgets that the consequences of his actions in this regard won’t only affect the Americans he is putting first but will be borne by the whole world.
Should this way of thinking be tolerated in a world that is faced by such consequences?
Can we learn anything from America, which prides itself as a quintessence of progress?
What Trump forgets is that when he is saying “America First”, with such reckless abandon, he is merely talking about current Americans, and is not thinking about future generations, how they may have to cope with decisions that were made only to please one generation.
Is that the legacy that he wants to live? The envisaged withdrawal from the Accord by America therefore only serves to weaken the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development.
Mr Trump has engaged the inward-looking gear into overdrive and, at this rate, how much would he have done by the end of the year?
I would say the International Monetary Fund was particularly referring to America when it warned a couple of months ago that, “Inward-looking policies threaten global economic integration and the cooperative global economic order, which have served the world economy, especially emerging market and developing economies as well”.
Mr Trump is proving to be the chief architect of futureless growth, and setting a precedent for some of those American puppets scattered across the face of the earth, including some beyond the peripheries of our borders.
Futureless growth arises when the present generation squanders resources needed by future generations. The United Nations says rampant and uncontrolled economic growth in many countries is laying waste to forests, polluting rivers, destroying biodiversity and depleting natural resources.
It noted that this damage is increasing, driven overwhelmingly by demand in the rich countries and that, unless serious conservation and pollution controls are put in place soon, production will be long past the point of sustainability.
Folks, we must endeavour to meet the needs of our present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own. Economic growth in and of itself is futile if it does not give highest priority to the environment we live in.
America should be ashamed of itself for thinking only about its current generation.