President Trump is keeping his campaign promise to Americans by withdrawing from the United Nations Paris climate accord.
During his Rose Garden speech, Trump announced that he is pulling the U.S. out of the international agreement but added that he is open to a new agreement that is better for the interests of Americans.
In making the decision, Trump showed leadership by casting aside pressure from a host of supporters of the climate-change agreement, including world leaders, corporate CEOs, key White House advisers, and the left-wing media.
Instead, Trump sided with conservatives and his pro-fossil-fuel energy policy.
The pressure was intense to keep the U.S. in the Paris agreement.
During his recent international trip, world leaders were frustrated by Trump’s refusal to keep former President Obama’s commitment to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions despite pressure from G7 members and the pope.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on Trump’s reluctance to reaffirm greenhouse gas cuts, saying, "The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying.”
Similarly, French President Emmanuel Macron sought to sway Trump out of fears that other countries would follow. "We don't want the US to pull out because it would be a very bad signal and lead others to pull out,” said a French diplomat.
Within the president’s inner circle, advisers Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, and Gary Cohn reportedly supported the international agreement, as well as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Big business, including many seeking to profit from climate-change regulations, also opposed the exit from the Paris accord. Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of electric car company Tesla, lobbied Trump to stick with the agreement, as did Jeff Immelt, CEO of wind turbine maker GE.
Unsurprisingly, the media tried to portray Trump’s decision in the worst light possible.
The Washington Post noted in a story before Trump’s decision that the U.S. would join Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not part of the Paris climate change agreement.
Despite the pressure, Trump made the right decision, because the Paris accord was a bad deal for the U.S.
The U.S. agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, but China agreed only to reach its peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and then begin scaling back.
Thus, the agreement gave China a huge economic advantage over the U.S., because China could continue to produce cheap coal-fired electricity while the U.S. must regulate this type of energy to keep its commitment.
Moreover, China did not state a carbon dioxide reduction target and only mentioned a date more than a decade away when it would begin to cut emissions.
By exiting the Paris agreement, Trump is merely aligning his energy policy, based on developing U.S. fossil fuel natural resources such as coal, natural gas, and oil, with reality.
The truth is that Trump’s actions conflict with the goals and spirit of the nonbinding commitment Obama made to world leaders, and remaining in the Paris accord for public relations purposes would be disingenuous.
With record speed, Trump approved the construction of the KeystoneXL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline and blocked an Interior Department regulation that would severely restrict coal mining.
Most important, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan was the primary driver of U.S. greenhouse gas emission reductions. However, the agency’s revisions to the rule, currently under way, will prevent the U.S. from meeting the emission reduction targets promised in the Paris accord.
With respect to climate change, the U.S. emissions commitment would cost the economy a whopping $3 trillion and millions of jobs by 2040 but will not have a meaningful impact on global temperatures.
Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted that the benefit of the U.S. emission reductions would be in demonstrating leadership and not reductions in global temperatures.
By exiting the Paris agreement, Trump ignored the external pressure and put Americans before global governance.
Dr. Tom Borelli is a contributor to Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @tomborelli.
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