As expected, President Trump’s decision to walk away from the Paris climate agreement has triggered the typical responses from some that doing this will lead to the “destruction of the planet” and isolate the United States from future endeavors. However, such a response glosses over the fact that the deal was largely toothless. The Paris climate agreement was ultimately non-binding, and therefore had no real mechanism by which to hold countries to account for emissions. Developed nations like the United States were to basically subsidize others through almost $100 billion yearly taxpayer handouts…which were pitched as a “climate fund” (exactly what that would entail is left to bureaucrats…how transparent, eh?), while other nations like China and India aren’t given much in the same manner of expectation until around 2030. Add largely arbitrary temperature goals, and the agreement would really have been negligible in combating alleged climatic issues, while hamstringing our economy and sovereignty to the whims of extranational officials. As the agreement was never ratified by the Senate, it doesn’t have the level of enforcement of a treaty as per the Constitution (Article II). Therefore, while President Trump could have allowed the Senate to have a crack at the agreement, he was well within his right to back out of it as an executive agreement only has relevance so long as the office holder agrees with it. Trump could have made the process far quicker and straightforward by backing out of the equally spurious UNFCCC, but perhaps that was a step too far given the political environment (though it would have continued the economic boon this move has potentially made…if only he could see further economic benefits by liberalizing reform in other areas like trade and immigration).
What a lot of the fallout here has shown is that as much as many environmentalists claim to care about the health of the planet, they are quite fine to sign onto mediocre plans which will do little demonstrable improvement in circumstances…showcasing that such an agreement is more about virtue signaling than actual results. Trump’s decision doesn’t mean that the planet is doomed, if such a belief of anthropogenic global warming is even valid in the first place (still a debate despite the political diatribes…see my post on the actual topic to see why). It also is largely hypocritical on the part of European leaders to criticize the United States for not respecting the Paris agreement (despite the fact that a lot of them actually got to vote on whether to accept it or not, when we didn’t) when they continue to ignore their responsibilities under NATO as well as their own EU treaties.
Perhaps a better agreement might come to pass, but that hardly leaves the world in a poor position to combat alleged climate issues. After all, one might buy into the whole AGW crisis, and yet still feel that centralized, one-size-fits-all agreements are not the solution. What has aided humanity in combating economic and global issues in significant ways has been innovation and growth. By allowing our economies to grow and flourish as much as they can, the possibility of a cleaner and more prosperous world will be ever closer to us. That won’t come by crushing it under meaningless regulations like those of the Paris climate agreement, which simply make economic endeavors more expensive with little to show for it. Here is to seeing what comes next.
Those against this move by President Trump use the fact that big businesses like Exxon, Shell, and Goldman Sachs are against it (funny that they should mention that, since they claim not to like such companies…guess that flips back and forth depending on the subject). Then again, such a fact shouldn’t be surprising. Big businesses are better able to handle the emission “targets” of the Paris agreement…as well as lobbying on how the standards would be “worked out”, and therefore would be in a better financial…and political…position against their smaller competitors. For all the hoopla of Elon Musk leaving administration groups as a result of the agreement exit, no tears should be shed. Like many green energy businesses, he gets heavy subsidies from the government. A true crony – http://www.nationalreview.com/article/419720/dont-believe-elon-musk-renewables-get-much-more-federal-subsidies-fossil-fuels-sean; http://dailysignal.com/2016/11/13/its-time-to-stop-spending-taxpayer-dollars-on-elon-musk-and-cronyism/