This column by ACRU Senior Fellow and Policy Board member J. Kenneth Blackwell and Rick Manning was published June 9, 2017 by The Daily Caller.
Washington is in constant crisis. Naturally the media blames President Donald Trump. But his critics are the ones to blame: they still don’t accept the results of last November’s election.
Consider the horror expressed at President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Accord on climate change. Major newspapers such as the Washington Post and New York Times devoted multiple pages to criticize his decision.
Implementing the agreement would be extraordinarily expensive. And it even claims it would have virtually no impact on global temperatures. It was a bad deal all around.
So why the shock at his decision to quit the (unratified) pact?
Donald Trump is the leader the American people spent the last eight years waiting for. As he explained: “The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries.”
That era is now behind us.
Contrary to claims that the issue of global warming has been settled, scientists disagree on most aspects of the controversy. Especially whether we face catastrophic temperature rises.
Imagine if someone in 1900 tried to describe what the world would look like a century later. Yet people are now seeking to wreck our economy based on what they fantasize the world will look like a century hence. These future forecasts depend on models — which don’t even match recent history.
I’d like to believe that the Paris Accord was based on an honest mistake. But the late Stephen Schneider, a leading climate alarmist, was clear: “we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.” As a result, “each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
President Trump demands honesty.
National Economic Research Associates figures that if America complied with the Paris agreement as many as 2.7 million jobs would disappear by 2025. NERA ran the numbers out to 2040 and found $3 trillion in lost GDP, $7,000 in lost annual household income, 38 percent drop in steel and iron production, 6.5 million lost industrial jobs, and 86 percent fall in coal production.
In contrast, China, which has surpassed the U.S. in carbon dioxide emissions, doesn’t have to do anything for 13 years. Beijing in fact promised that its emissions would peak “around 2030.” Not that we know how high that peak would be. As the president warned, this puts America “at a very, very big economic disadvantage.”
In fact, the Paris Accord isn’t binding, that is, if Washington complies there is no guarantee that anyone else will do so. The U.S. could hobble its economy based on promises made and then broken by “the international community.” Does anyone honestly believe that China — the one known as the “People’s Republic” — will sacrifice its interests on behalf of the environment?
Despite costing one or two trillion dollars a year, the Paris pact wouldn’t banish the supposed threat of higher temperatures. If fully implemented, the EPA tells us temperatures would go down just .17 degrees Celsius by 2100. The average American couldn’t measure the difference.
The issue isn’t whether climate change is real. The issue is whether it is something that we can or should try to do something about. We should also question if those who say it is real are serious.
Instead, follow the money. America has a big advantage over Europe with cheaper energy. No surprise, Europeans want the U.S. to sign on to their high-cost energy policy.
Worse, the Paris Accord creates a $100 billion “Green Climate Fund” to which Washington would naturally contribute. The cash goes to Third World countries, which previously wasted trillions in foreign aid.
Finally, while the agreement says it is not binding, wait till American lawyers bring it into court. A report from the UN Environment Program (of course the UN has an environmental program!) exulted that the pact “makes it possible for litigants to place the actions of their government or private entities into an international climate change policy context.” A Dutch court used similar “nonbinding” international commitments to order the Dutch government to cut emissions.
No wonder President Barack Obama liked the Paris Accord. If offered everything a liberal could desire: expanded government, higher taxes, tougher regulation, more lawsuits, and global controls. Thankfully we have a different president now.
President Trump had no choice but to pull America out of the Paris pact. As he explained, it “would undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty, impose unacceptable legal risks, and put us at a permanent disadvantage to other countries.”
It’s as refreshing as a tropical mango smoothie to finally have someone in Washington who is standing up for America instead of the mythical “international community.”