President Donald Trump took the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord in a special message on Thursday, June 1, 2017. He made the announcement from the Rose Garden, citing several reasons for his action.
We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. … I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris… I promised I would exit or renegotiate any deal that doesn’t serve America’s interests.
Trump added that he would be willing to consider rejoining the agreement if it could be renegotiated or a new one written that does not cripple the U.S. economy while allowing other nations, such as China and India, to pollute as much as they like. Trump did not address the truth or falseness of climate change itself. Rather, he questioned the responsibility the U.S. should shoulder in the agreement. He also noted this responsibility could potentially cost Americans millions of jobs in the energy industry.
Reaction to Trump’s Decision
The reaction to Trump’s decision from the media overall was negative. Most pointed out this would put the U.S., in company with Syria and Nicaragua, as the only countries out of almost 200, that are not partners to the Accord. Many also hammered at the question of whether or not Trump believes in man-made climate change, though no one seems to know for sure.
Some critics of the decision believed it was nothing less than a doomsday pronouncement and now, the apocalypse is looming. World leaders and former U.S. government officials weighed in with condemnation for the withdrawal from the non-binding Accord. From Mexico:
Former President Vicente Fox [said] on Twitter: ‘He’s declaring war on the planet itself.’
Similar criticisms came pouring forth from nations such as France, England, Russia, Australia, and even China and India. Of course, none of those countries had the lopsided burden of paying for the Accord with nearly as much as the U.S. was contributing.
Postings on social media were instructive. The American Civil Liberties Union commented with a series of tweets, equating the decision with racism:
Pulling out of the Paris Agreement would be a massive step back for racial justice, …Drought, hurricanes and flooding will impact every American— but climate change doesn’t affect us all equally. …Black and brown people are more likely to live near coal plants, and have higher asthma rates than white Americans do.
Moreover, people simply becoming ill, regardless of silly racial intonations, is but a mild sample of the reactions. Among many clips played on the Fox News show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” on June 2, California Governor Jerry Brown stated,
People are going to die, habitat will be destroyed, seas will rise, insects will spread…
The problem with these reactions is twofold. First, they are irrelevant to what is in the Paris Accord itself, and it puts an inordinate cost upon the U.S. taxpayer.
Hypocrisy Is on Display With Critics of the Decision
Secondly, purveyors of anthropogenic climate change do not truly take the claim seriously. On the same program, on June 2, Carlson illustrates this brilliantly:
Billionaire Richard Branson… says fossil fuels are dangerous and he calls Trump’s decision, quote ‘America first, earth last.’ On the other hand, Branson owns a Desalt Falcon…private jet [that] burns more fuel in a single trip to Maui than you’re going to go through on a lifetime of trips to the shore.
Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio severely criticized Trump’s decision, yet he flew 4000 miles from Europe to New York on a private jet to accept a Climate Change award. Hillary Clinton was a vocal critic, yet last year during her campaign, she
…used a private jet to fly 20 miles from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket for a fund-raiser…
The kicker is the reaction of former President Barack Obama, who said on June 1, Trump’s decision could destroy generations in the future. Yet, here are some of this things he has done since January:
On the day he left office Obama took a Marine helicopter to a government owned 747. He flew that across the country to Palm Springs California. After a few days …He flew then on Richard Branson’s private plane to the Caribbean. Then he got on a private boat which took him to Branson’s private island. He later left on a private jet …to Tahiti and French Polynesia. After that trip…he took another private jet to Milan where a 14 car caravan escorted him to a conference where he spoke about, you guessed it, climate change.
This illustrates monumental hypocrisy on the part of Trump’s critics for leaving the Paris Accord. They talk the talk but want others to pay the cost of walking the walk.
The Reality of Trump’s Decision
The reality of Trump’s decision is that it will have basically no effect upon the efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. The U.S. has achieved significant reductions over the past 23 years. This was being done well before the Paris Accord came into being.
The arrangement is flawed, in a fundamental manner, which renders it useless to tackle whatever problems, real or imagined, climate change may present. The agreement is non-binding and accepted voluntary standards, which each nation would put forth themselves. There was no standard globally for the amount of emissions acceptable for any country.
Thus, developing nations saw no need to commit to reducing their carbon emissions anytime soon. Most of these countries:
…submitted uniformly meaningless commitments. China promised to reach peak emission around 2030, right when it was expected to anyway. India made no emissions commitment…
This arrangement also does virtually nothing to solve the problem it purports to address. Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown that even if every nation, including the U.S., complied with the Accord, it would reduce temperatures in the year 2100 by only about 0.2 degrees Celsius.
Much Ado About Nothing
The cost of remaining in such a flawed arrangement is prohibitive for the U.S. Trump’s decision is a correct one that will not result in the apocalyptic consequences voiced by his critics. The alarms are much ado about nothing. Whether or not the decision will provide a boost in jobs is debatable. One thing is certain: Remaining in the Paris Accord had significant potential to harm the U.S. economically with little benefit to show either the nation or the world. Trump’s decision was correct, in at least doing no harm to U.S. interests.
Opinion News By D.T. Osborn
Edited by Jeanette Smith
CBS News: Will Trump’s Paris agreement exit spur job growth?
FOX NEWS: Paris agreement on climate change: World reaction to US pullout
Inc: Trump Pulls Out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Here’s Why That May Not Matter
Los Angeles Times: The Paris agreement got the logic of climate action all wrong. Good riddance
MRC TV: The ACLU says Trump Withdrawing From the Paris Agreement Is RACIST
MRC Newsbusters: NBC, CBS Rush to Push Doomsday Predictions from Obama & Gore
The Public Slate: Climate Change Disagreement Between EPA and Trump Advisor
The Washington Times: Trump eviscerates Obama’s Paris legacy
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Matt Johnson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License