With three days left before Donald Trump takes office, President Obama used executive powers to bypass congress and continue the United States' commitment to the historic Paris agreement. Reported the Guardian:
Barack Obama has heeded calls to help secure the future of the historic Paris agreement by transferring a second $500m instalment to the Green Climate Fund, just three days before he leaves office.The fund was a key aspect of the Paris agreement signed in 2015, which aims to keep global warming “well below” 2C and aspires to keep warming to 1.5C. Established in 2010, it is financed by wealthy countries and used to assist developing countries with adaptation and mitigation. It was widely seen as a key measure to bring both rich and poor countries to the negotiating table. The US committed to transferring $3bn to the fund. The new instalment leaves $2bn owing, with the incoming president, Donald Trump, expected to cease any further payments.
With his pardoning of Chelsea Manning occurring on the same day, Obama has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest environmental presidents in history, and one of the most humane. Obama has commuted more sentences than the last 11 presidents combined, and his record of protecting the natural world from devastation must now be considered up there with Theodore Roosevelt's.
The symbolism of Obama's actions in the last days of his presidency cannot be underestimated as Donald Trump moves into the White House. We are about to witness an environmental tragedy of epic proportions when the new president lays waste to regulation and cuts funding for environmental research. Coupled with his well known vindictiveness and thirst for revenge, the political climate in America is about to get incredibly nasty. This means enemies at home and abroad will be hit hard and in the most repulsive ways imaginable. The civility we saw under Obama's presidency will disappear in the blink of an eye, and we'll be left with childish sociopath lashing out on Twitter at anyone who dares denounce him.
But Obama does not want us to forget what decency looks like, and instead of lashing out at Trump's madness, he is killing him with acts of kindness.
This is what true resistance looks like, and we must all do our best to continue it.