Home > Uncategorized > The United States is the world’s second largest economy: when it comes to climate change, it matters

The United States is the world’s second largest economy: when it comes to climate change, it matters

from Dean Baker

The New York Times has an article on the Trump administration’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The first sentence wrongly describes the United States as “the world’s largest economy.” Actually China passed the United States as the world’s largest economy early in the decade. According to the I.M.F. its economy is now more than 25 percent larger than the U.S. economy. It is projected to be more than 50 percent larger by 2024.

This matters because China actually has moved aggressively to adopt clean energy. It is now by far the world leader in the use of solar and wind power and electric car sales. The fact that the Trump administration is determined not to cooperate in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is unfortunate, but the fact that the world’s actual largest economy is taking big steps to curb emissions is hugely important.

  1. November 7, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    ” The fact that the Trump administration is determined not to cooperate in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is” not merely unfortunate but shameful.

  2. Clement-Pitiot
    November 7, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Eorope is also out of the Silk Road and its members’ concerns… western world put itself out of History, thinking only about the End of History logo of the 90s.
    Sad ineretia

  3. Helen Sakho
    November 9, 2019 at 12:06 am

    Shame on them all. The Western world has always polluted more than its fair share and continues to do so. It is extraordinary how one million Indians die of smog and pollution related problems in the capital city, and their protests are ignored. We are still waiting for the US to give us its alternative to Kyoto. One reckons something useful might come out of the current Davos in the Desert gathering! Perhaps some more arms deals and related oil contracts can help out the environment.

  4. Ken Zimmerman
    November 10, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building more wind and solar power and more EVs is one widely accept way to head off climate change and mitigate some of its consequences. But it’s not the only way. Many of the wealthiest people in the world believe they can protect themselves from the effects of climate change through their wealth. As in past instances of climate change in the written history of Sapiens, the newest instance is likely to have uneven results and change in severity over time. The wealthy are already in the process of purchasing lands forecasted to be relatively safe from the coming impacts of climate change. And armies to protect that land from intruders. Interesting how this scenario follows closely the path set out by science fiction writers of the 1960s and 1970s. Once again novelists are more insightful than scientists. A third way to stop climate change and/or mitigate its effects is God. Many of the religious faithful believe God will either stop climate change altogether or stop its consequences for the faithful. Uncertain even how to begin to test this contention.

    Trump has rejected all of these options, on the basis of his contention that climate change is a hoax. That may be a winning political position with a large portion of his base, but speaking practically it’s seems more likely Trump is one of those “wealthy” citizens who is certain they can buy themselves out of the climate change problems. That contention remains to be tested.

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