Une victoire pour l’Amérique Millennial! A victory for Millennial America – that is our assessment of President Trump’s decision to entirely withdraw the United States out of the Paris Accord on climate change.
The original agreement, concocted through the United Nations, was signed by former President Barack Obama unilaterally on April 22, 2016, and went into effect on November 4, 2016… without going through Congress. In essence, what Obama signed was a treaty – and the Constitution requires that treaties be ratified by the United States Senate. This was never done – and therefore was unconstitutional from the outset.
In effect, what President Trump just did was reassert a fundamental constitutional tenet. As another Millennial Policy Center fellow put it, “If you like your unconstitutionally signed, financed, and implemented UN treaty, you can keep your unconstitutionally signed, financed, and implemented UN treaty.”
Also, let’s be clear: we agree that the climate has seen a change and that, in some way, humans have impacted that change. However, the cost-benefit analysis of U.S. participation in the agreement simply doesn’t balance. While the world would ostensibly benefit from just two-tenths of a degree Celsius change by 2100, the costs represent an extremely raw deal for America.
As President Trump pointed out, the National Economic Research Associates projected a loss of as many as 2.7 million jobs by 2025, including 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs. Similarly, the Heritage Foundation estimated that by 2035, policies stemming from Paris would increase electricity costs for a family of four between 13 and 20 percent annually, along with a loss of as much as $20,000 or more in income and over $2.5 trillion in GDP. These steps would crush Millennials – who are now forming young families – the most. And for what use?
We’re not just talking about some ethereal dollars and cents here. We’re talking about the lives of hardworking people and real, growing families.
Former President Obama had committed the United States to bear a growing percentage of the burden for the so-called Green Climate Fund. The Paris Accord sets up the Fund to provide financial assistance to developing nations in addressing climate change. The initial goal is $100 billion, of which forty-three world nations had by January of 2017 pledged $10.3 billion. Obama unilaterally accepted responsibility for $3 billion of that $10.3 billion, or nearly 30 percent of the total to date.
The argument goes that the U.S. is the second largest contributor of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and therefore should pay more, yet China – the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter and a participant in Paris – has offered nothing into the pot.
A word on China. Under the Paris Accord, that nation will be able to increase their emissions for 13 years, without violating the tone or tenor of the agreement. This for the country that has already repeatedly been caught falsifying its data on coal consumption, CO2 emissions, and air monitoring. How is this fair for the United States, a country which has actually reduced its greenhouse gas emissions over the last 14 years?
In 2010, one German member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said, “[W]e redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.” What we have here is indeed a global redistribution scheme, whereby our taxpayers and our economy would have borne the brunt of the economic and fiscal cost for the rest of the world while China and other nations contributed less. And all for what, mitigating two-tenths of a degree Celsius in 82 years?
Finally, the United States already is a clean energy and oil and gas leader, and we certainly do not need a poorly negotiated deal to further reduce emissions while also allowing development of the country’s natural resources. The U.S. currently produces oil, natural gas, coal and renewable fuels, such electricity from clean energy sources like wind, solar and nuclear power. Development of all the resources we have is essential to the prosperity of the nation and Millennials alike.
In fact, since 2010 the United States has been in an oil and gas boom and there is growing energy demand in the country. The incredible innovation we have seen in the energy industry, in combination with a competitive workforce and supply chain capability, make this country one of the most attractive markets in the world. Continued prosperity and promotion of the energy sector will allow the country the autonomy it needs to be competitive at home and abroad.
The Paris Accord ultimately would hinder the energy sector with problematic regulations for a global goal that was disproportionately and unfairly distributed. There is no need to hurt our own economy and development when we can foster growth and best practices at the same time.
We applaud President Trump on his bold stance and are looking forward to his future decisions in the pursuit of shared prosperity for not just Millennials, but Americans of all generations.