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June 2, 2017

Campaign Promise Kept as Trump Exits Paris Climate Deal

Predictably, leftists are hysterical, but the agreement was both costly and meaningless. Trump is right to leave.

An American in Paris no more. President Donald Trump announced the U.S. exit from the Paris climate agreement Thursday afternoon in a welcome instance of a campaign promise kept. “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Trump said, while leaving open the possibility of renegotiating a better deal. “We’re going to have the cleanest air. We’re going to have the cleanest water. We will be environmentally friendly. But we’re not going to put our businesses out of work. We’re not going to lose our jobs.” And in acknowledgment of who brung him to the dance, he said, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Given that the U.S. entered the agreement only thanks to Barack Obama’s strategically skirting the Senate, it’s worth revisiting why this treaty deal was a ridiculous farce from the start. Claiming the 195-nation deal was simply an executive agreement, Obama made the pact in the waning days of his administration. On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to un-make it.

As we explained last year, the Paris agreement was a UN scheme to cut global greenhouse gas emissions to keep earth’s temperature increases “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, as opposed to the projected three-degree increase the world would otherwise see by 2100. Yep, a costly international agreement for an ineffective one degree.

And that’s just the stated goal. The real agenda, of course, is statist control of the world’s economy — control that would just happen to benefit Europe and China at the expense of the United States.

The Daily Signal notes, “If carried out, the energy regulations agreed to in Paris by the Obama administration would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, harm American manufacturing, and destroy $2.5 trillion in gross domestic product by the year 2035.”

Trump critics and the media (but we repeat ourselves) are in an uproar at the exit, with the press quick to point out the only other non-participating countries are Syria and Nicaragua. As if the U.S. under Trump’s leadership is now comparable to Syria under Bashar al-Assad. Clearly, these critics missed the childhood lesson, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off, too?”

Hillary Clinton comically went further in her reasoning, stating, “Part of what keeps us going is that America’s word is good, and that you stand with your prior administration whether it was of your party or not.” Yep, just like Obama stood by everything George W. Bush did.

Speaking of Obama, he once again eschewed the humble example of his predecessor in blasting his successor. “It was steady, principled American leadership on the world stage that made [the Paris agreement] possible,” he boasted of himself. Then, using his familiar tripe, he accused Trump of joining “a small handful of nations that reject the future.” Finally, he turned to a cynical call for “hope”: “But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”

The Wall Street Journal rebutted succinctly: “Leadership is not defined as the U.S. endorsing whatever other world leaders have already decided they want to do, and the U.S. is providing a better model in any case. Private economies that can innovate and provide cost-effective energy alternatives will always beat meaningless international agreements.”

Indeed, for all its costly restrictions, the Paris climate agreement is somewhat of a joke. As National Review’s Rich Lowry wrote prior to Trump’s decision, “The treaty’s advocates, hoping to forestall a Trump exit, are trying to save the accord by arguing that it is largely meaningless. In this spirit, a piece on the liberal website Vox explained, the Paris accord ‘asks participants only to state what they are willing to do and to account for what they’ve done. It is, in a word, voluntary.’”

The deal has little enforcement mechanism. As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey notes, the agreement “basically allows each nation to write its own rules, and then decide what enforcement and reporting will look like.” Thus, he explains, “The idea is that nations will compete to look super-greeny, and the laggards will get so ashamed of their foot-dragging that they’ll finally comply.”

But make no mistake: Current carrots would become sticks before long. The Left’s objective is always to tighten the screws, and this agreement would become more restrictive over time.

Of course, some companies see their own super-greeny photo-ops as good for their bottom lines, so they oppose bidding Paris adieu. As Rosebud Mining CEO Cliff Forrest writes for the Wall Street Journal, “The commercial interests that strongly support the Paris Agreement typically have created programs to exploit, game or merely pass through the costs of the climate-change agenda. Many also maintain a green pose for marketing purposes.” Yet, Forrest adds, “It seems that Paris backers hope for a sudden public amnesia about the many businesses that use government to push out smaller competitors.”

And as Heritage Foundation policy analyst Katie Tubb notes, “Big business and big government often go hand-in-hand. Big businesses generally can absorb and adapt to the costs of complying with burdensome regulation, of which Paris is a wellspring. Smaller companies have a much harder time complying, which means less competition for big business.”

Of course, now that Trump has made the U.S. exit from Paris official, climate-change alarmists and the media (but again, we repeat ourselves) are eviscerating him based on their tyrannical pseudo-science that permits no debate, only agreement. But it was high time to leave this absurd deal behind.

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