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.
Donald Trump's first 100 days: in cartoons
Donald Trump's first 100 days: in cartoons
Donald Trump's first 100 days in office were marred by a string of scandals, many of which caught the eye of the Independent's cartoonists
Trump's first 100 days have seen him aggressively ramp up tensions with his nuclear rivals in North Korea
Mr Trump has warned of a "major, major conflict" with the pariah nation lead by Kim Jong Un
Mr Trump dropped the "mother of all bombs" on alleged ISIS-linked militants in Afghanistan, amid an escalation of US military intervention around the globe
Mr Trump has been accused of falling short of the standards set by his predecessors in the Oval Office, including Franklin D Roosevelt
The tycoon's ascension to the White House came at a time when the balance of power is shifting away from Western nations like those in the G7 group
Western politicians, including the British Conservative party, have been accused of falling in line behind Mr Trump's proposals
Brexit is seen to have weakened Britain, reducing still further any political will to resist American leadership
Mr Trump's leadership has been marked by sudden and unexpected shifts in global policy
Trump's controversial missile strike on Syria, which killed several citizens, was seen by some analysts as an attempt to distract from his policy elsewhere
The President has also spent a large majority of his weekends golfing, rather than attending to matters of state
Though free of gaffes, a visit from Chinese president Xi Jinping spotlighted trade tensions between the two states
One major and unexpected setback came when Mr Trump's Healthcare Bill was struck down by members of his own party
Mr Trump has been a figure of fun in the media, with his approval at record lows
A string of revelations about Mr Trump's financial indiscretions did not mar his surge to the White House
Outgoing President Barack Obama was accused of wiretapping Trump Tower by his successor in America's highest office
The alleged involvement of Russian intelligence operatives in securing Mr Trump the presidency prompted harsh criticism
The explosive resignation of Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who lied about his links to the Russian ambassador, was just one scandal to hit the President
Many scandals, such as the accusation Barack Obama was implicated in phone-hacking, first broke on Mr Trump's Twitter feed
Donald Trump's election provoked mass protests in the UK, with millions signing a petition to ban him from the country
Donald Trump cited a non-existent terror attack in Sweden during a campaign rally
Donald Trump stands accused of stoking regional tensions in Eastern Asia
North Korea has launched a number of failed nuclear tests since Mr Trump took power
Theresa May formally rejected the petition calling for Mr Trump to be banned from the UK
When Mr Trump's initial so-called Muslim ban was struck down by a federal justice, the President mocked the 69-year-old as a "ridiculous", "so-called judge"
A week after his inauguration, Theresa May met with Mr Trump at the White House
Donald Trump's first days in office were marked by a hasty attempt to follow through on many of his campaign promises, including the so-called Muslim ban
Donald Trump's decision to ban citizens of many majority-Muslim countries from the US sparked mass protests
Revelations about Donald Trump's sexual improprieties were not enough to keep him from being elected President
British PM Theresa May was criticised by many in the press for cosying up to the new President
One of Mr Trump's top aides, Kelly Anne Conway, was mocked for describing mistruths as "alternative facts"
British PM Theresa May was quick to demonstrate that her political aims did not hugely differ from Mr Trump's
Donald Trump's inauguration, on 20 January 2017, sparked protests both at home and abroad
“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.”