The Paris Agreement laid out a framework for countries to adopt clean energy and phase out fossil fuels. Each country submitted a climate-action plan laying out how it would achieve these goals.
However, President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. The United States never should have been in it in the first place, and it’s not even entirely clear that it ever was. In choosing American interests over Davos pieties — in the face of resistance from some within his own administration — the president here has made good on his promise to put America first.
As Conservative Institute reports, former-President Obama criticized President Trump while speaking at a leadership summit in New Delhi, India. During the question and answer portion of his speech, he was asked about the Paris Climate Agreement, and Trump’s disengagement from that agreement.
Obama took the opportunity to take a dig at President Trump, saying there has ‘been a pause in American leadership’ on the issue of climate change. The Climate Agreement, from which Trump has announced American withdrawal, was written in 2015, in part with the assistance of then-President Obama and his administration.
Obama cast the issue as one of American leadership, but that isn’t fair or accurate.
So what exactly is the framework for the Paris Climate Agreement? Business Insider sums up the U.S. requirements:
The US’s plan, which the Obama administration submitted in March 2015, set the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025. The baseline level this reduction is measured against is 2005, when the US emitted 6,132 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
These are positive developments, right? Any results that work to combat excessive carbon emissions are probably beneficial, but signing an agreement doesn’t ensure this will actually occur.
Ignoring for the moment whether this agreement is actually a treaty that constitutionally must be ratified by Congress, two important questions remain; would the agreement accomplish its intended outcome, and is it actually necessary for the U.S. to sign?
The editors at National Review don’t think so:
Even if one accepts [the ‘climate change consensus’] the Paris Agreement is unlikely to produce the desired result — and may not produce any result at all… China and India, the world largest and fourth-largest carbon dioxide emitters, respectively — have made only modest commitments under the agreement, which puts most of the onus on the more developed nations of North America and Western Europe.
In short, climate change is a very difficult issue for developing countries. ‘Developed’ countries are far more likely to innovate out of high carbon emissions because of their technological and economic advances. Any effective agreement, then, has to focus on developing countries who can least afford the high costs and burdens of the regulatory measures required to meet the standards.
National Review continues:
But these improvements [lowered carbon emissions in developed countries] are likely to happen anyway, irrespective of treaties or public policy, due to ordinary economic changes, such as the growth of the low-impact services sector relative to heavy industry, the aging-out of high-emissions vehicles, and the replacement of antiquated infrastructure.
Market forces have and will continue to solve many issues, not the least of which are environmental. Obama is wrong in his framing of the issue. Indeed, it looks like many states will hit the emissions target without the agreement being in effect.
American leadership is important and necessary, but it comes from the private sector and hard work of entrepreneurial and innovative citizens. Not from a top-down government policy that burdens such people.
To be generous to the former president, he wasn’t very harsh in his criticism and he declined multiple opportunities to go after President Trump at the leadership summit. He just happens to be incorrect. Trump is actually leading here.
This was the problem with the Obama administration and still is a major issue with most people on the political left. Their solutions are always government-oriented. That isn’t how conservatives or the Trump administration believe a free people ought to be governed.
Like him or hate him, President Trump is right on this.
Climate experts say that an increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius in the planet’s temperature could bring about irreversible consequences, including a rise in sea level, superstorms, and crippling heat waves. It was estimated in 2011 that the average global surface temperature was increasing at a rate of more than 0.1 degree Celsius a decade.