The Patient Debate- The Paris Agreement

Even though it is 2017, not everyone is in agreement that global warming is caused by humans, or even that it is occurring at all. Some will point to a blog post that contains a graph with a bunch of zig zags and say, “See look, climate change is natural. Humans aren’t causing it, we’re just another zag”. Although that graph may look fancy, and may even be accurate, the science is a little more nuanced than that. If you look at all of the 12,000 scholarly articles on climate change published between 1991–2011, you will find that out of the publications expressing a stance on climate change, 97% of the papers agree that the earth is heating up and it is being caused by humans. It is important to keep this in mind as I outline my reasons for why President Trump’s decision to withdrawal from the Paris Agreement was a mistake.

Trump states a few reasons for why the United States is withdrawing. One reason is that the “Agreement disadvantages the US, to the exclusive benefit of other countries. Leaving American workers and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production”. The study that Trump is referencing has been rated as having a low scientific credibility and makes assumptions like that other countries aren’t also reducing carbon emissions (leading businesses to relocate), that industries are static and don’t change, and that there would be no increase in present levels of renewable energy.

Trump also claims that “China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement.” The agreement does not say anything about building plants, nor does it even contain the word “coal”. Each country states their own goals and how they will achieve those goals.

The very grounds that Trump uses to justify his decision are either false or completely misleading. The problem doesn’t stop there. Although Trump claims that we will renegotiate, other world leaders state that “the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 [is] irreversible, and we firmly believe that the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies”. After all, what is America really losing by staying in the agreement?

By not staying in the agreement, we lose a lot. We put our country at an economic disadvantage. In a joint statement, 25 of the top U.S. companies in tech, power, retail, health, consumer goods, manufacturing and financial services companies said, “By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth. U.S. companies are well positioned to lead in these markets. Withdrawing from the agreement will limit our access to them and could expose us to retaliatory measures.”

The costs are annual

All of this aside, what’s most important is preserving the planet that we live on, especially when Trump pissed off the only guy that’s trying to give us a second planet to inhabit. If we think the few billion that we are spending now is high, just take a look at the costs climate change will be a few decades from now (the chart on page 5 indicates annual costs). The issue of global warming is not a partisan issue, climate change affects the future of our international relations, our economy, and even our national security.

Note: Remember, this blog does not exist to try to prove the other side wrong, it exists to find the truth. If you agree with this idea, be a part of our search for the truth and comment, link sources, provide counter-arguments, and add what was missing.