As President Donald Trump today removed the United States from the Paris climate agreement, he rightly called it a “reassertion of America’s sovereignty,” and pointed out he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
By boldly breaking ranks with more than 190 countries, Trump rejected a deal that was arguably unconstitutional, given the U.S. Senate must ratify treaties. Former President Barack Obama’s unilateral decision to enter the Paris Climate Accord fundamentally altered the trajectory of America’s economy without proper democratic channels.
America’s CO2 emissions have already declined in recent years, some 12.5 percent since 2006, the administration reported, and that was in large part due to economic forces driven by America’s innovation in the cleaner energy areas of shale and natural gas. This domestic energy boom also helped free America’s debilitating dependence on foreign oil and weakened the juggernaut of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Trump has signaled he wants to enact policies that would continue to support this trend–a boon for the environment and the economy.
Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord sets the United States on a path toward renewing and protecting American jobs in areas like cement, iron, steel and yes, coal. As much as Coastal progressives sneered at Trump’s 2016 campaign propelled by Flyover, blue collar workers, this move made good on Trump’s campaign promise to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement.
This news came after a fierce battle among warring White House camps, with Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson fighting to stay and conservatives like Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and adviser Steve Bannon wanting to drop out.
For now, Trump’s choice helps allay fears that the president won’t act independent of family pressure. It also shows that Trump understands that the deal would continue to put India and China, countries with scant track records of environmentalism (even under the Accord–which requires China and India to cut future growth, not current pollution rates), at an even greater advantage in global trade.
Certainly America has room to grow in protecting our environment, and a big step would be to heed the urging of Tesla’s Elon Musk to cease all government subsidies–both to renewable and non-renewable sources. This would ensure that renewable energy sources can thrive by weaning themselves off the hobbling crutches of government influence and remove the thumb off the scale from dirtier energy sources.
Photo by N@ncyN@nce