Economy, Regs, & Taxes

The Climate Could Change on the Paris Agreement

Obama avoided treaty designation, leaving opening for Trump.

Lewis Morris · Nov. 16, 2016

While immature protesters rage and misguided Democrats futilely attempt to sway the Electoral College, Barack Obama is trying to assure his fellow travelers both at home and abroad that not all that much will change when Donald Trump becomes president. We sure hope he’s dead wrong because this election was quite clearly a rejection of the political status quo. Indeed, Donald Trump didn’t run for president to keep Obama’s policies in place.

Take climate change, for example. Trump spoke out early and often about what a bad deal the Paris climate agreement is for this country. In yet another compact created by the international elite, the Paris plan calls for drastic reductions in greenhouse gases so that we may lower global temperatures two degrees Celsius over the next century.

Never mind that this so-called “settled science” of rising global temperatures is anything but settled. Forget that these climate scientists have a nasty habit of fudging their data to achieve outcomes that back up their gloom-and-doom scenario. And don’t trouble yourself about whether supposedly preventing a two-degree rise is attainable or even measurable (how do you prove something didn’t happen?).

The signatories of the Paris Agreement, 55 countries that are accountable for at least 55% of greenhouse gas emissions, are willing to hamstring economic development and growth to achieve their vision. But only in countries like the United States. China, which is the foulest polluter on the planet, largely gets a pass or will just ignore mandates.

Obama signed onto the Paris Agreement in September without checking in with the American people or with Congress. He mistakenly referred to the Agreement as a treaty, but since he refused to submit the agreement to the Senate as he is constitutionally required to do, the Paris Agreement is nonbinding. Trump can reverse course on our involvement as he would any other executive order, which is basically what the Paris Agreement amounts to in this country.

Obama and his internationalist brethren say, not so fast. They chuckle mischievously as they point to the Paris Agreement’s exit provisions. Supposedly a nation must wait one year before making notice that it will exit the agreement, then it must wait another three years before actually making good on that exit. The same length of time as a U.S. presidential term. Coincidence? About as much of a coincidence as the fact that the Paris Agreement went into effect the Friday before Election Day in the United States.

This provision was a safeguard put in place to keep the United States on board should the unthinkable (Donald Trump) overcome the inevitable (Hillary Clinton). And it was probably done at the suggestion of Obama himself. But Trump has options, including simply stepping out of the agreement.

The Paris Agreement, like many leftist treaties and screeds, has no real teeth. It can’t even enforce its will on signatory countries that don’t comply with the mandates of the agreement. What will happen if a nation like the United States steps out? Such an action should come as no surprise, as Trump has promised as much since he became the Republican nominee. But promising and doing are two different things, and it’s time to make good on the promise — it’ll be one step toward making America great again.

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