Right Opinion

You're 'Still In'? Too Bad for You. We're Out.

Cornwall Alliance · Jun. 24, 2017

By E. Calvin Beisner

Pure symbolism.

That’s what “We Are Still In” really is.

“We Are Still In” is the petulant response of nine states — eight blue (CA, CT, HI, NY, OR, RI, VA, WA) and 1 red (NC) out of 50; 202 cities and counties (mostly in blue states) out of 3,144 (cities, counties, and county equivalents); 308 institutions of higher learning out of 4,140; and 1,530 “businesses and investors” out of 18.2 million businesses and about 160 million owners of stocks to President Trump’s announcement that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.

In other words, 18% of states, 6% of cities and counties, 7% of institutions of higher learning, and 1% of businesses (if you count all the “still in” investors as businesses) or 0.001% of businesses and investors (if you count all the “still in” businesses as investors) are “still in.”

The larger the entity, the higher the percentage that are “still in.” Might that be because those decision-makers that are closer to the people they represent are less likely to embrace Paris?

Since the nine states that are “still in” account for about 34% of the country’s gross domestic product, you might think their being “still in” represents 34% of the American economy. But what makes those states “still in” is simply their governors signing on. None passed a referendum. None of their legislatures voted them “still in.” And the fact that only about one in 100,000 businesses and investors have signed on suggests that the percentage of the American economy truly represented as “still in” is actually minuscule.

Only 52% of all voters considered the environment “very important” — 69% of Clinton voters and 32% of Trump voters. And climate change isn’t all there is to “environment.” Only 47% of all voters considered climate change very important — 69% of Clinton’s voters and 32% of Trump’s.

So the “We Are Still In” website’s claim to represent “a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy,” let alone a sizeable percentage of Americans, is baloney.

And what does it mean to be “still in”? It means those states, counties, cities, colleges, businesses, and investors say they’ll “pursue ambitious climate goals.”

For the cities, the pledge is a repeat performance.

In 2005 Greg Nickels, mayor of Seattle, started the “Climate Protection Agreement,” pledging to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. Mayors of over 1,000 other cities joined.

How’d they do?

Todd Myers, writing in National Review, reports that he contacted the mayors of thirty of the cities in Washington who signed on to find out how they’d done. Two-thirds didn’t know what he was talking about — i.e., their cities had forgotten the pledge.

Seattle had remembered, though, and found that it had reduced to only 1% below 1990 emissions — 1/7th of its goal.

New York, where then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg had pledged in 2007 to cut emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, will miss that target at the current rate. His successor, Bill de Blasio, pledged to reach 80% emission reductions by 2050, but “the city is already more than 4 percent behind and will need to reduce emissions at more than four times the current rate to have any hope of meeting [the] goal.”

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley pledged to push emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. Right now its emissions are 10% higher than needed to be on track for that goal, and its “Climate Action Plan” says the current trend will leave it at more than 1/5th above 1990 levels and 3/5ths above its target.

Myers is right to say, “The failure of these cities to achieve existing goals is a stark demonstration of the gap between environmental rhetoric and results from those who style themselves as environmental heroes.”

Such green hypocrisy is par for the course.

Of course, even if those “still in” manage to keep their pledges, the impact on global temperature will be indetectably small. Complete implementation of the Paris agreement by all 195 signing countries would cut only 0.3˚ from global temperature in 2100, at a cost of $23.3 to $46.6 trillion per tenth of a degree. No wonder the author of "The Art of the Deal" considered it a bad deal!

From all the rest of America to those who are “still in”: You might be, but we’re out, and gladly so.

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