Interview with Ciaran Molloy, an American student at Trinity College in Dublin studying philosophy, politics, economics and sociology
On 1 June Donald Trump left the Paris Climate Agreement, leading to many resignations from his advisers such as Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla. Many governors and mayors (more than 1,000) created a coalition to support the Paris Agreement without the consent of the Trump administration. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to donate personally $15 million dollars to the UN to support the Paris Agreement because the funding to reduce greenhouse gas emissions isn’t ensured with the withdrawal of the US. We asked Ciaran Molloy, an American citizen what he thinks about Trump’s decisions.
- What do you think about Trump leaving the Paris Climate Agreement?
I think that President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement was an incredibly shortsighted move. Furthermore, I believe that the decision was nothing more than attempting to roll back decisions and policy that was enacted during the Obama administration, regardless of real world outcome for the planet and the country itself.
- What impact do you think this will have on the world and in the US?
The impact I believe this will have on the US is actually a galvanization of climate change scientists’ research and strengthen an opposition to Trump’s presidency. It gives something for which opposition to rally behind. In the world, I think that it’s much less what materially will happen with the environment, but rather the precedent this move sets for other countries. Much like Brexit brought more calls to leave the EU, so too will this bring more calls to leave.
- Do you think there is still hope for the environment?
I do. I think that it is incredibly pessimistic to think that there’s no way we can stop this. I don’t think we can reverse what we’ve already done, but to say that there’s no hope simply doesn’t accomplish anything. And even if there isn’t a future, that doesn’t mean we stop doing what we can for the environment.
- What is the opposition doing to challenge this decision?
Officially, opposition is offering just that, opposition. There are cities and states across the country individually signing the Accords to ensure that it doesn’t die out completely in America.
- What can everyday citizens do at their level?
Citizens can do the normal thing. Recycle, watch how much energy we use, pick up litter, things like that. But with the decision to leave the Accords, citizens have been given more power than before. We have had the responsibility of being a conduit to our government and be the voices of change.
- How did the media report the news?
The media reported as they have with all other Trump news. With hype and pomp and not actually going into what the Accords does and where Trump goes wrong in his interpretation of it. As with everything else, the media focused on the dramatization of the story as opposed to the story itself.
- Do you consider the environment to be a priority?
Yes, I do. I want my future kids to be able to have all the same amenities that I had growing up. That includes housing, a good education, and the opportunity to succeed, as well as being able to live without fear of a catastrophic weather event.
Jade Roberts, Université de Poitiers