Donald Trump’s stance on global warming is ‘sociopathic, paranoid and malevolent’, world-leading economist says

Professor Jeffrey Sachs suggests naming the next big climate change-related storms Typhoon Donald, Superstorm Ivanka and Megaflood Jared

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement is “sociopathic”, a leading economist has claimed, arguing the US President is “without remorse … wilfully inflicting harm on others”.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, said claims that the Republican billionaire actually believes climate change is real made things “worse, not better”, as this would mean he is knowingly “jeopardising the planet”.

Just a day after he announced the US withdrawal, Mr Trump declared a major flooding disaster in Missouri, which climate researcher Dr John Abraham suggested added to the “mounting ironies”.

And the stream of scientific studies showing evidence of a changing climate has continued. One revealed the number of large wildfires affecting the Great Plains area has increased from an annual average of 33 to 117 in two decades; another found once-rare coastal flooding would become the norm in parts of the US if emissions are not cut; and a third reported the chance of dying in a heatwave in India increased by 146 per cent between 1960 and 2009.

In a forthright article on the Project Syndicate website, Professor Sachs suggested the next major storms linked to global warming should be named Typhoon Donald, Superstorm Ivanka and Megaflood Jared after the President, his daughter and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

When Mr Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, he claimed the rest of the world had been “laughing at us” because it was such a bad deal for America.

Professor Sachs, of Columbia University, said his speech had displayed a “bully’s bravado”.

“These ravings are utterly delusional, deeply cynical, or profoundly ignorant. Probably all three. And they should be recognised as such,” he wrote.

The decision to withdraw from Paris had not just been Mr Trump’s alone but “reflected the will of the Republican leadership in Congress, including the 22 Republican senators who sent Trump a letter the week before, calling on him to withdraw from the Paris accord”, he said. And the oil and gas industry had spent $100m on campaign contributions in 2016 “of which 90 per cent went to Republican candidates”. 

Professor Sachs also attacked the “twisted mindset of Trump and his closest advisers”. 

“Their view, defended with ‘alternative facts’ that have no basis in reality, is paranoid and malevolent, aimed at inflicting harm on others, or at best indifferent to harm befalling others,” he said.

He condemned Mr Trump’s claim that the Paris Agreement was unfavourable to the US, pointing out that it had emitted far more greenhouse gases than any other country in the world over its history.

“As such, the US has contributed more to ongoing climate change than any other country,” he said.

“And US per capita emissions are higher than in any other large country, by far. The Paris accord does not victimise the US; on the contrary, the US has a world-beating responsibility to get its house in order.

“According to data from the World Resources Institute, the US accounted for an astounding 26.6 per cent of global greenhouse-gas emissions from 1850 to 2013. 

“America’s population today is just 4.4 per cent of the world’s population. In short, it is America, where per capita emissions have always been several times higher than the world average, that owes the world climate justice, not the other way around.

“Trump carries on about the Paris agreement’s supposed bias in favour of India, but fails to acknowledge that India’s per capita emissions are 1.6 tons, just one-tenth of the US level.”

The need to move quickly to a low-carbon economy was “not a move against the US”, but a “global imperative”.

“The US has done more than any other country to bring about the global peril of climate change, so it should accept its responsibility in helping to get us all out of danger. At a minimum, America should be eagerly cooperating with the rest of the world,” Professor Sachs said.

“Instead, Trump’s sociopathic behaviour, and the corruption and viciousness of those surrounding him, has produced utter disdain for a world nearing the brink of human-made catastrophe. 

“The next human-caused climate disasters should be named Typhoon Donald, Superstorm Ivanka, and Megaflood Jared. The world will not forget.”