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How To Talk To A Climate Change Denier In The Donald Trump Era

“There are significant political consequences if you withdraw from an agreement”

We get it. It’s been a very difficult few days if you’re a Democrat, or a Hillary Clinton supporter, or a woman, or a minority, or an immigrant, or a person who cares about the health and welfare of our planet.


Donald Trump may not be the man you elected to lead the free world, but he’s the man we got. Now, it’s time to step up, cross over the political lines, and start having very difficult conversations and hope we can find common ground. One of the places we may find hope is with the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Paris Climate Agreement is something we’ve covered extensively here at GOOD. The Paris Climate Agreement, an accord committing nations to staving off global warming at no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels, was officially ratified in November after passing its threshold of 55 countries signing on. Ironically, the accord moved quicker than expected thanks in large part to world leaders’ fears that the Trump presidency might become reality.

Great right? Well, like all things in America post-Trump, things are now a little up in the air.

As GOOD reporter Ben Jervey explains:

Even though he’s said that he would rip up the Agreement, now that it’s officially gone into force, he’d have to wait until at least 2020 to do so. And even then, the political pressures from foreign allies not to do so would be intense. ‘There are significant political consequences if you withdraw from an agreement,’ David Waskow of World Resources Institute told me back in April. ‘There would be quite a lot of reaction internationally if the U.S. were to reverse course,’ and we’d find ourselves lonely on a lot of other important foreign policy priorities like trade and global security.

How then, do we move forward in a conversation about climate change now that Donald Trump, a man who has promised to double down on coal and back away from global climate action, is our president-elect? It’s simple: We arm ourselves with knowledge.

Knowledge on climate change goes far beyond “it’s bad for us.” Climate change action also encompasses our national security, future jobs, and future trade. Without immediate climate action, the insurance industry says we will soon become an “uninsurable” world. The time isn’t tomorrow, or the next day, or in four years when President Trump’s first term is up. The time is right now.

Arm yourself with more knowledge and several talking points to have at the ready by checking out our Twitter discussion, hosted alongside the United Nations Foundation, on their road to Marrakech for the next round of climate talks and stay tuned here for more stories from Earth to Marrakech in the coming weeks.

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