Ditch Paris—and Save America
More than Donald Trump and Joe Biden were on the ballot on Tuesday, but with the noisy election you’d be forgiven for missing what may be the most important energy policy decision in decades.
Today marks the formal withdrawal of the United States from the disastrous Paris Climate Accord, exactly one year after President Trump kept his pledge to lift the “unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers” by the global warming agreement. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump announced early in his presidency.
He’s correct. By one estimate based on a U.S. Energy Department model, the Paris Climate Accord could have cost the average family of four over $20,000 in lost income, raised household energy prices by as much as 20 percent, and cost the economy $2.5 trillion by 2035.
And the effects on the global temperature? Were the country to cut all of its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, it’d amount to a decrease of less than two-tenths of a degree Celsius by the end of the century.
And while there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth among the Left’s eco-mandarins, the Paris withdrawal is a critical victory for the future of our nation’s economy—and for constitutional government.
Recall that the Obama administration negotiated the Paris Climate Accord as a foreign treaty, and it was treated by many proponents as legally binding (and so unassailable) because it forced massive greenhouse gas emissions goals on the nation. Yet it never came before the Senate, despite the Constitution’s Treaty Clause requiring a two-thirds vote of that body before treaties can go into effect. The Paris “treaty” never even received a vote.
Just as bad is what the Paris Climate Accord required of nations like China—or rather, what it didn’t require. Far from imposing heavy emissions targets on them, the agreement established a global Green Climate Fund aimed at pilfering $100 billion each year by 2020 from the U.S. and Europe to encourage developing countries to reduce their emissions—easy money in exchange for lip service about “going green.”
The Green Climate Fund is history’s biggest scheme to redistribute wealth from Western, low-carbon countries to communist China, India, and other major CO2 emitters. India even announced that it needed an incredible $2.5trillion from the fund—nearly the entire GDP of France in 2019—to reach its goals by 2030.
Like all good communists, Chinese government figures feign support for grand environmental agreements they later ignore—particularly when those projects would reverse American energy independence and undermine our military power—and they’ve found their most useful idiots in the American environmental lobby.
A 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by Government Accountability and Oversight, a public interest law firm, exposed a communications chain between environmental activists with close ties to China serving as climate advisors to the Obama administration. Analysis strongly suggests that these well-heeled advocacy groups advised administration figures against describing the Paris agreement as a “treaty” so as to avoid ratification in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Climate-hawks at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC; 2018 revenues: $182 million) have “sought to shape public opinion” by working to “discredit those skeptical of China’s commitment to pollution reduction targets,” according to an oversight letter from Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), even appearing to “practice self-censorship” and “generally refrain[ing] from criticizing Chinese officials.”
That collaboration extends beyond global warming policy, with the NRDC even backing Beijing’s illegal efforts to assert sovereignty over the South China Sea, according to Tom Shepstone, who operates the Natural Gas Now blog in Pennsylvania. (NRDC maintains a palatial office in Beijing.)
Shocking as these revelations are, they’re par for the course for the ideological Left, which makes war on cheap and abundant energy and the prosperity it brings.
America deserves an energy policy that puts her manufacturing jobs, defense, and prosperity first. On the campaign trail, Trump pointed out that the Paris Climate Accord is a “very unfair” scheme that “puts us at a permanent disadvantage” compared with other nations. “It’s time to exit,” he said.
As the President likes to say, promises made, promises kept.
Hayden Ludwig is an investigative journalist for the Capital Research Center.
Kevin Mooney is an investigative journalist for the Daily Signal.