By Roy L Hales
Though often been portrayed as a climate change denier, the President made no reference to climate when he explained the reasons for America’s withdrawal from the agreement reached at Paris in 2015. Rather, it seems Donald Trump wants a new climate deal.
Trump Wants A New Climate Deal
“In order to fulfil my solemn duty to the United States and its citizens, the US will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accords or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States. We will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” he said.
Of course, this means “fair” as interpreted by Donald Trump.
Ignoring the fact the United States is the world’s second largest polluter and has almost three times the per capita emissions of China, President Trump went on to praise America’s environmental record.
United States Emissions
Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reinforced this impression , “We as a nation do it better than anyone in the world, in striking the balance between growing our economy, growing jobs, while also being a good steward of our environment. We owe no apologies to other nations for our environmental stewardship. After all, before the Paris Accord was ever signed, America had reduced its’ CO2 footprint to levels from the early 1990s. In fact between the years between 2000 and 2014, the United States reduced its CO2 emissions by +18%.”
According to the EPA’s Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2014, “Total U.S. emissions have increased by 7.4 percent from 1990 to 2014.”
By way of comparison, the European Union’s emissions decreased to 24.4% below 1990 levels during the same time period.
A Massive Redistribution Of United States Wealth
Trump called the Paris Agreement, “A massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries. At 1% growth, renewable sources of energy can meet some of our domestic demand, but at 3 or 4% growth, which I expect, we need all forms of available American energy. Our country will be in grave risk of brown outs and black outs. Our businesses will come to a halt in many cases and the American family will suffer the consequences in the form of lost jobs and a very diminished quality of life.”
He particularly deplored the fact China does not have to curb its’ emissions for 13 years and India “makes its’ participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.”
” … By 2040, compliance with the commitments put into place by the previous administration would cut production for the following (U.S.) sectors: paper down 12%; cement down 23%; iron and steel down 38%; coal – and I happen to love the coal miners – down 86%. The cost to the economy at this time would be close to 3 trillion dollars in lost GDP and six and a half million lost industrial jobs. While households would have $7,000 less income and in many cases much worse than that.”
According to AP News, Trump obtained his facts from a study paid for by two groups that have long opposed environmental regulation. Both get financial backing from the fossil fuel sector.
“The study makes worst-case assumptions that may inflate the cost of meeting U.S. targets under the Paris accord while largely ignoring the economic benefits to U.S. businesses from building and operating renewable energy projects.”
Diminishing America’s Standing
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron responded in a joint statement, “We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies.”
“Pulling out of Paris will diminish the standing of the United States in world affairs, and make it harder for other leaders to collaborate with President Trump on trade, terrorism, and other critical issues, as it reinforces the belief of an increasing number of their citizens that he cares not a whit for their interests and concerns,” wrote Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy & Policy with the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“And contrary to what President Trump says, his action today will do absolutely nothing to boost the economy or create jobs; instead, it will harm the ability of U.S. companies and workers to compete in the rapidly growing global market for climate-friendly technologies.”