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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Paris Agreement

            President Donald Trump fulfilled another campaign promise when he announced that the United States will not be a part of the climate agreement in Paris. Liberals are melting down about the withdrawal while conservatives are cheering.

            Nicolas Loris is an economist at The Heritage Foundation who focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues. He says that the Paris Agreement “was a truly bad deal – bad for American taxpayers, American energy companies, and every single American who depends on affordable, reliable energy” as well as “bad for the countries that remain in the agreement.” Then he listed the following four reasons why President Trump did the right thing by withdrawing the United States.

1. The Paris Agreement was costly and ineffective… and would do close to nil to address climate change. If carried out, the energy regulations agreed to in Paris by the Obama administration would kill hundreds of thousands of jobs, harm American manufacturing, and destroy $2.5 trillion in gross domestic product by the year 2035. In withdrawing from the agreement, Trump removed a massive barrier to achieving the 3 percent economic growth rates America is accustomed to. [It would also extend] long beyond the Trump administration….

2. The agreement wasted taxpayer money. In climate negotiations leading up to the Paris conference, participants called for a Green Climate Fund that would collect $100 billion per year by 2020. The goal of this fund would be to subsidize green energy and pay for other climate adaptation and mitigation programs in poorer nations – and to get buy-in (literally) from those poorer nations for the final Paris Agreement. The Obama administration ended up shipping $1 billion in taxpayer dollars to this fund without authorization from Congress….

3. Withdrawal is a demonstration of leadership. The media is making a big to-do about the fact that the only countries not participating in the Paris Agreement are Syria and Nicaragua. … Certainly, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement will be met with consternation from foreign leaders, as was the case when the U.S. withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol [under George W. Bush]. However, it could very well help future negotiations if other governments know that the U.S. is willing and able to resist diplomatic pressure in order to protect American interests.

4. Withdrawal is good for American energy competitiveness. Some proponents of the Paris Agreement are saying that withdrawing presents a missed opportunity for energy companies. Others are saying that it doesn’t matter what Trump does because the momentum of green energy is too strong. Neither argument is a compelling case for remaining in the agreement. Whether it is conventional fuel companies or renewable ones, the best way for American energy companies to be competitive is to be innovative and competitive in the marketplace, not build their business models around international agreements....

            Loris continues his article by reminding us that withdrawing from the agreement does not prevent “Americans from continuing to invest in new energy technologies” and doing it “without the aid of taxpayer money.” He says that the agreement was “an open door for future U.S. administrations to regulate and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on international climate programs” and to do it “just as the Obama administration did without any input from Congress.” Trump was right to close that door.

            Adam Johnson posted an article at Americans for Tax Reform listing five reasons why Trump was right to pull out of the Paris Agreement. His reasons are: “1. Cost to U.S. taxpayers…. 2. Increased energy costs for U.S. consumers and businesses…. 3. Puts U.S. at a competitive disadvantage…. 4. Paris Climate Treaty will have negligible benefits to the environment…. 5. The Paris Agreement is a Treaty and needs to be ratified by Senate….”

            I do not claim to be an expert in any of these areas, but I do understand that treaties must be ratified by the U.S. Senate. Barack Obama did not get that ratification before joining the agreement. This reason alone is a good reason to me for withdrawing from the agreement. The other reasons give added strength to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

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