Since inauguration, President Donald Trump has spearheaded an “America First” energy agenda by approving the Keystone pipeline, eliminating regulations designed to be “atomic” for the coal industry, and blocking Obama’s Clean Power Plan that would have caused electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket.”
But now, much of the administration’s progress in unleashing American energy is in jeopardy. It is widely reported that members of Trump’s inner circle are urging the President to break a major campaign promise by upholding the Paris Climate Treaty.
The Paris Treaty imperils Trump’s energy achievements because left-wing environmental groups plan to use this agreement as the legal basis to block domestic energy production.
Using the political equivalent of “doctor shopping,” fringe environmental activists are urging state attorneys general to prepare lawsuits preventing withdrawal from the Clean Power Plan (among other regulations), citing their necessity in supporting Paris Treaty commitments.
If these lawsuits are successful, the United Nations will have, in effect, blocked American energy production.
But putting aside the thought of allowing the UN to cripple American energy producers, what makes the discussion of upholding the Paris Agreement most outrageous is the fact that this treaty was never ratified by the Senate.
Instead of following the clear-cut, constitutional path for enacting international agreements, President Obama declared the United States a signatory via executive order, and heedless reporters nonetheless declared the treaty “ratified.”
Since the Paris Agreement is a treaty, and it never passed the Senate, the United States is not subject to it — we merely pretend we are. President Trump would set truly damaging precedent if he upheld a treaty that was never properly approved. The climate agreement should be sent to the Senate for consideration immediately.
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In keeping with President Trump’s campaign pledge to eliminate “bad deals,” National Review noted, “The Paris Agreement is the mother and father of one-sided deals. It requires the United States to keep cutting its emissions in perpetuity irrespective of what anyone else does.” China, India, and Russia are all permitted to increase emissions under the agreement.
Although the U.S. is already leading the world in lowering carbon dioxide emissions, there is strong evidence that India, the world’s second largest consumer of coal (ahead of the U.S.), will fall dramatically short of meeting its treaty obligation.
Why should President Trump impose draconian CO2 cuts on Americans when India appears unwilling to abide by the significant emission increases the treaty affords them?
Lastly, even if India and the rest of the world did live up to their commitments in the Paris Agreement, the CATO Institute’s Ross McKitrick warns us not to expect any tangible impact on global warming:
[T]he same computer models that say global warming is a problem also say that Paris will not fix it. If one were to graph the standard warming projections over the next century with and without Paris, the two lines overlap almost exactly. Whatever greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration we would have reached in the year 2100 without Paris, we will reach it shortly thereafter with. For all its costs, the Paris treaty will have almost no effect on global warming, and by depleting global income it will make it harder for countries to adapt and innovate in response to whatever changes occur. Thus not only does Paris not solve the problem, it arguably makes it worse.
President Trump’s handling of the Paris Climate Treaty is a critical early test for his administration. Enforcing Paris’s “America Last” provisions will overturn President Trump’s regulatory progress and be tremendously costly for American consumers. President Trump, don’t let an unratified UN agreement wield influence over our electric bills.