Paris Accord Pull-out — Why the Sad Faces?
President Trump fulfilled another campaign promise last week when he announced that he was withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Accord. The president made his reasons clear in a statement, questioning the logic of agreeing to such restrictions on US manufacturing or of contributing billions to a Green Climate Fund for an estimated insignificant impact on overall global temperatures.
His announcement has been met with typical widespread condemnation, and social media is awash with sad faces and tears. Public opinion is divided, with a WaPo/ABC poll finding “nearly 6 out of 10” Americans opposed to Trump’s decision. Criticism has focused little on practical environmental impact of his decision, instead arguing that it’s a bad move politically and diplomatically, and threatens our global standing.
I think the opposing perspectives on this issue can be explained by a fundamentally different understanding and approach. I will give you mine: The game of politics is not just about “getting along with the group and generating goodwill.” This is what I and many others embrace about Trump. Political negotiations and maneuvers of any sort require bargaining chips and areas of concessions. The articles condemning Trump’s decision are full of rhetoric — similar rhetoric we’ve been seeing for decades arguing globalism being good for the US economy. I don’t understand why this rhetoric isn’t by now recognized as empty, but thankfully Trump does.
A senior scientist friend of mine working in renewables was out here in California recently to meet with a group of businesspeople about forming a company to innovate and develop in the field of renewable energy. But he explained that they can’t build their lab/plant here in CA. It would have to be either overseas or possibly in a state with less restrictive regulations. He is wanting to develop renewable energy products with other CA biz folks, but CA and possibly our country’s regulations are too strict to allow him to do it on our soil.
The argument that China, where an entire city of people wear masks outdoors due to the incredible pollution generated by their factories, is going to all of a sudden become the “leader” in renewable energy due to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord is laughable. If Trump follows through on his commitment to pare down dramatically on regulations for businesses, THAT is the way we will lead the world in renewable energy production.
Under the agreement, the US would need to contribute billions more dollars and reduce employment in US industry sectors. But critics of withdrawal argue that our participation is not legally binding, and since there are no penalties for non-compliance, why leave? Our involvement subjects us to outside scrutiny as to whether we are taking steps to meet the pledge. Isn’t it more honest and powerful of President Trump to just withdraw rather than sneakily pretend we’re going to comply but not really do it?
For all this rhetoric about playing nice and showing good will, what is the actual consequence about not doing so? What are these implications everyone fears? Do we think the EU is going to declare war on us? Do we really think China is going to win some trade war with their biggest customer? We’ve been playing nice for a long time and until Trump came along, China’s made little effort to help us with North Korea. Will we be kicked out of NAFTA? The agreement Trump is close to pulling us out of anyway and which has done little to help us so far?
For all this talk and criticism and hand-wringing speculation, I’ll wager NOTHING negative will result — and Trump has once again proven he’s not afraid to act like the super power we still are. Thank goodness. Who cares whether the EU clucks and shakes its head in disapproval? When did we all become the Europhiles everyone is behaving like?
I am absolutely about putting our country first. We have plenty of problems which need fixing, plenty of folks without a decent standard of living. We have much to improve upon in our own infrastructure, employment, education, health and overall wellbeing. I realize that must make me a nationalist. Not the bad word we’ve been taught it is. Why isn’t everyone else? I think many have been sold a lie and are falling for this empty rhetoric of “it may hurt us economically,” “China may displace our leadership,” “world leaders will mock us,” “America will be embarrassed.” When did fear of ridicule become such a powerful tool? Again, thankfully, Trump isn’t susceptible to that.
Trump recognizes a bad deal when he sees one. And even proponents of staying in acknowledge the fact that our participation in the agreement does hardly anything to reduce global warming (if at all) other that “pledge our commitment.” But the WaPo and its counterparts continue to make baseless assertions such as, “Americans understand this issue better than Trump” (illustrated by nonsense graphs and figures) and “The decision continues to show Trump’s misunderstanding of the U.S. role in the world.” A critical eye is needed now more than ever to see through the fog of media propaganda. Luckily, President Trump has that.
Stefan Molyneux says it better: