President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement might have come with some suspense, but it should have been no surprise to those of us who share Mr. Trump’s goal of protecting American jobs and keeping campaign promises. The move reinforces the pro-growth agenda he has advocated since taking office. Predictably, the reaction from the mainstream media has been one-sided and hysterical – not to mention based on scant scientific evidence.
Exorbitant Costs, Minimal Environmental Impact
The Paris Agreement has nothing to do with lowering smog levels or cutting back on other types of air pollution. Rather, its premise is to get the 195 signatory nations to emit less carbon dioxide – a colorless, harmless gas essential for life on this planet. Further, the deal would require the United States and other developed nations to make drastic and unrealistic pledges to cut CO2, while essentially letting countries like China and India – two of the world’s biggest polluters – off the hook. The cost to the U.S. economy is estimated to be $3 trillion – with a loss of more than 6 million industrial sector jobs by 2040 – according to a report released in March by NERA Economic Consulting.
Despite these exorbitant costs, no one is seriously predicting that significant environmental results will follow. Even scientists who support the pact are hesitant to say it would substantially reduce global temperatures or affect sea levels. In fact, a study conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that even if every nation complies, temperatures will still rise between 1.9 and 2.6 degrees Celsius by 2050.
With so much on the table, Americans’ standard of living should take priority over empty climate promises. So should U.S. sovereignty, which could be challenged by international litigation. I wrote to the President with 21 of my Senate colleagues last month encouraging him to “make a clean break from the Paris Agreement.” I am glad to see that the President shares our concerns about what this international agreement bodes for American families, workers, and businesses.
Paris Agreement Never Adopted by Senate
Another concern I have repeatedly raised about the Paris pact is its runaround of the Constitution’s checks and balances. According to our Constitution, a two-thirds majority approval is needed in the Senate to agree to a legally binding treaty. Even though an international agreement of this magnitude should be subject to the “advice and consent” of the Senate, Mr. Obama did not submit the Paris Agreement to Congress for ratification because he knew that it would never have been ratified.
Americans concerned about carbon dioxide and smog levels can take heart that emissions have seen a decline. They have reached their lowest levels in years thanks in part to free-market principles — not an international regulatory regime. Additionally, the United States will continue to participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Unlike the Paris Agreement, that international climate deal was approved by the Senate before I came to Congress.
I am pleased President Trump has prioritized regulatory relief during his first months in office, joining with Congress to repeal 14 harmful Obama-era rules. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is in keeping with the President’s agenda to put Americans back to work and restore their promise of future prosperity. A climate deal with negligible environmental outcomes is not the path toward this progress.