By Rejecting Costly Paris Climate Treaty, Trump Put American Interests First


By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, June 08 2017CFIF.ORG

We’re running out of time. 

If we don’t do something to stop global warming – pardon, “climate change” – our Midwestern glaciers may recede, leaving enormous lakes bordering major population centers like Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit in their wake. 

Obviously, that’s not among the claims in climate alarmists’ repertoire, but it might as well be. 

Is climate change real? 

Of course it is.  The climate is constantly changing.  It always has been.  It always will be. 

But to what degree is climate change caused by human activity? 

Well, that’s an altogether different question. 

The Great Lakes offer an instructive example.  They were formed as the most recent glacial period ended approximately 10,000 years ago, when the Laurentide ice sheet receded.  That retreat carved enormous depressions in the earth’s surface, which were obviously filled by the resulting meltwater. 

Accordingly, drastic climate change occurs regardless of human activity. 

That bears re-emphasis as we endure another outbreak of climate hysteria in the wake of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. 

Predictably, alarmists’ response was immediate and apocalyptic. 

“The trend is clear,” thundered Al Gore.  “The human consequences and the economic costs of failing to act are unthinkable:  More record floods and droughts, diseases and pests spreading to new areas, crop failures and famines, melting glaciers, stronger storms and rising seas.” 

Oh, wait.  That was Al Gore all the way back in 1997, after the United States Senate had rejected the Kyoto Protocol by a 95-0 vote. 

But Gore was no less hysterical in his reaction to Trump’s decision.  This time around, he proclaimed, “It’s not just the scientific community warning us now, it’s Mother Nature.  Every night on the TV news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelations [sic].” 

Same hyperbole, different decade. 

The only thing that changes over the decades and the circumstances is the name that they affix to their crusade.  Four decades ago, it was global cooling after years of temperature declines.  Then by 1990 it became global warming.  But then temperatures plateaued beginning in 1998 despite enormous increases in carbon output as China and India industrialized.  So they were forced to rename it “climate change” as warming predictions came and passed, and apocalyptic predictions were repeatedly missed. 

What hasn’t changed over that period is the fundamental truth that the earth’s survival doesn’t depend upon the Paris treaty any more than it did on the Kyoto accord. 

After all, even the Paris treaty’s proponents and the Obama Environmental Protection Agency acknowledge that it would only reduce global temperatures by 0.2 degrees in the year 2100. 

And at what cost to the United States? 

Well, we’d have to reduce our carbon output by between 26% and 28% below 2005 levels by 2025.  To put that in perspective, even the Obama Administration’s draconian energy policies would only get us 45% of that target.  Moreover, despite proponents’ curious claims to the contrary, the terms of the Paris treaty allowed participating nations to unilaterally increase their commitments, but not reduce them as future circumstances might demand. 

In monetary terms, it’s estimated that compliance with the Paris accord would’ve cost the U.S. economy $2.5 trillion by 2035.  Additionally, under the treaty the U.S. would contribute $3 billion annually to the United Nations “Green Climate Fund.” 

Meanwhile, global competitors like China wouldn’t face the same economic or energy burdens.  

Here’s another inconvenient truth that climate alarmists conspicuously avoid acknowledging.  The U.S. has outperformed European nations in carbon reductions despite the fact that they joined the Kyoto Protocol and we did not, as noted by The Wall Street Journal

Energy intensity – the amount of energy necessary to create a dollar of GDP – has plunged 58% in the U.S. since 1990, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Over the same period, intensity declined merely 37% in OECD Europe, 20% in Japan, 22% in Mexico and 7% in Korea.  China dropped by 133%, but working off a far more wasteful initial base.  Superior efficiency helps explain why U.S. carbon emissions fell by 145 million tons in 2016 compared to 2015, more than any other country. 

Accordingly, even if one considers carbon reduction critical, costly treaties like Kyoto and Paris aren’t necessary to achieve it.   

Of course, professed fealty to the Paris treaty did allow leftists to virtue signal on social media free of cost to themselves. 

But President Trump wasn’t elected to enable leftist virtue signaling.  He was elected to protect the interests of the American people. 

And by rejecting the all pain, no gain Paris climate treaty, he did exactly that. 

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