Hundreds protest at White House after Trump repudiates Paris climate treaty

On the 1st of June, Donald Trump unilaterally repudiated the Paris Climate Agreement, formally pulling the US out of the deal. He called for “renegotiating” the deal only to face European leaders saying “once you’re out, you’re out” and refusing his demand. Hundreds of protesters gathered at the White House within two hour in response to Trump’s refusal to honor US treaty obligations.

In the early part of the protest, Secret Service agents roamed around the back of the protest and behaved rather oddly, acting as though they were looking for something or someone. Shortly therafter, they closed Penn Ave and attempted without success to get the protesters to move back within or from Lafayette Park as well. Protesters stood their ground, and the cops set their yellow tape short of their position. There was a cluster of cop cars and bike cars at one position on Penn Ave, but it was unclear what they were doing.

The protest included a lot of Democratic Party type elements, including Representative Jamin Raskin from MD’s 8th Congressional district. Many spoke of alternative energy and other plans that require getting the owners of major infrastructure to cooperate. On the other hand, a speaker from South America flatly said Americans and others would have to stop consuming so much energy and so many consumer goods, on their own if necessary. Just as Trump unilaterally repudiated Paris, so were calls issued for people to unilaterally repudiate the wholesale consumption that marks the US livestyle. Most of the world’s people receive no benefit from the massive consumption of fuels and minerals by the few, just as upgrading Trump Hotel’s accomodations cannot help those who cannot afford housing at all.

In repudiating the Paris Climate Agreement, Trump claimed to have been elected to represent Pittsburgh rather than Paris, only to have the Mayor of Pittsburgh release a statement that in fact, his city stands with Paris in opposing Trump’s decision on climate.

The fact that Trump has decided that fossil fuel profits and luxury are more important than a global treaty raises another issue. On Nov 4, 2016, the Paris Climate Agreement was ratified by the United States as “Acceptance” of the treaty, and on Nov 16, 2016 the treaty became effective with 55 nations having ratified it. The treaty was binding on the United States, but Trump has repudiated it.

Speaking of broken treaties, all this was on the same day the Dakota Access Pipeline became operational, available to oil companies to move oil under lands stolen from the Lakota in violation of the 1868 Ft Laramie treaty. This despite at least three separate leaks of oil from the pipeline during pre-operational testing, including over 100 gallons during March. Native Americans have had a long and brutal experience with treaties solemly agreed to and then broken without a second thought by the United States. Paris is but the latest in a long trail of broken treaties, and an example of why negotiation with the United States over anything may be futile.

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