President Trump announced on Thursday that the United States will be withdrawing from the Paris Accord, much to the dismay of tree-hugging alarmist leftists everywhere. Despite the Left’s apocalyptic rhetoric, leaving the Paris Accord was the right call based on a simple cost-benefit analysis.
Here are seven things you need to know about the Paris Accord.
1. Under the accord, the U.S. had a target of reducing its carbon emissions to 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. That alone would have resulted in “extreme changes in energy use” because “even Mr. Obama’s bevy of anti-carbon regulations would get the U.S. to a mere 45% of its target,” per The Wall Street Journal editorial board.
2. The accord would have required the countries involved to raise their carbon emission-cutting goals every five years. According to The Daily Signal, the Obama administration intended to eventually curb carbon emissions by 80%, essentially North Korea levels.
3. The accord is non-binding legally, but activist courts may have used it as a legal weapon. Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro noted that Trump’s White House counsel, Donald McGahn, argued that “that courts could theoretically use the Paris Accord to strike down Trump’s attempted rollback of carbon emissions regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.” Despite the Left’s insistence to the contrary, this could have been a real possibility, as the judiciary’s record of late shows a preference toward policy rather than the law itself (ie Trump’s travel ban). Shapiro also pointed out that the Left is acting as if “the world will burn up” for leaving the accord, which begs the question: if the accord is voluntary, why is the Left acting in such a hysterical manner?
4. The accord doesn’t hold China and India to a high standard. Via the Journal‘s editorial:
China and India offered benchmarks pegged to GDP growth, which means they can continue their current energy plans. China won’t even begin reducing emissions until 2030 and in the next five years it will use more coal.
China also can’t be trusted to reduce their carbon emissions since they have a history of misrepresenting their total emission levels.
5. The U.S. had pledged $3 billion a year to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund. Under the accord, participants would provide $100 billion to organizations like the Green Climate Fund to provide money to poorer countries to neutralize the costs of curtailing carbon emissions. The Obama administration has already funneled $1 billion to the organization without congressional approval as part of a $3 billion pledge.
But such funding would hardly help impoverished nations, as South African activist Leon Louw, who works for an influential free-market think-tank in Africa, told Climate Depot in 2011:
“What the government of rich countries are saying to poor countries is: ‘Those of you who are best at causing poverty, we will enrich you, we will give you money,’” Louw told Climate Depot while attending the UN climate summit.
“Government to government aid is a reward for being better than anyone else at causing poverty. Countries that get more government to government aide have lower economic growth rates. Countries with less aid, have higher growth rates. If you subsidize failure you get failure and foreign aid does exactly that. It rewards people for being unsuccessful,” Louw stated.
6. The accord’s impact on the climate would have been minimal. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, estimates that if all the promised cuts under the accord were implemented, temperature would decline by only 0.17°C in 2100. The U.S. cuts under the accord would be responsible for reducing temperatures by 0.031°C in that same time-frame.
Dr. Roy Spencer, a climate scientist, noted in a column that reduction in temperature under the accord “is unmeasurable by current global temperature monitoring networks.”
7. The accord’s impact on the economy, on the other hand, would have been detrimental. According to Lomborg, the accord would cost $1-2 trillion a year worldwide after 2030; by 2035 U.S. would have lost over $2.5 trillion in GDP, per The Heritage Foundation.
When putting it all together, the cost-benefit analysis is clear: withdrawing from the Paris Accord was the right move. A minimal decline in temperature for economic calamity is simply not a wise tradeoff.
This article has been corrected to state the U.S. had pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund.