Donald Trump

Why Trump Is Right to Reject the Paris Climate Agreement

Let's hope new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo helps the president stick to his guns.


President Trump's pick to be the new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is not a fan of the Paris climate agreement, the treaty that claims it will slow global warning by reducing the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Politicians from most of the world's nations signed the deal, and President Obama said "we may see this as the moment that we finally decided to save our planet."

That's dubious.

Trump wisely said he will pull America out of the deal. He called it a "massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries."

Unfortunately, Trump often reverses himself.

The climate change lobby has been trying to change Trump's mind. Al Gore called his stance "reckless and indefensible." Most of the media agree. So do most of my neighbors in New York.

That's why it's good that Pompeo opposes the Paris deal. Such treaties are State Department responsibilities. Pompeo is more likely to hold Trump to his word than his soon-to-be predecessor Rex Tillerson, who liked the agreement.

The Paris accord is a bad deal because even if greenhouse gases really are a huge threat, this treaty wouldn't do much about them.

I'll bet Al Gore and most of the media don't even know what's in the accord. I didn't until I researched it for this week's YouTube video.

Manhattan Institute senior fellow Oren Cass is the rare person who actually read the Paris accord.

Cass tells me it's "somewhere between a farce and a fraud." I interviewed him for a video project I am doing with City Journal, a smart policy magazine that often makes the case for smaller government. "You don't even have to mention greenhouse gases in your commitment if you don't want to. You send in any piece of paper you want."

The Paris accord was just political theater, he says. "They stapled it together and held it up and said, 'This is amazing!'"

The media announced that China and India made major commitments.

In truth, says Cass, "They either pledged to do exactly what they were already going to do anyway, or pledged even less. China, for instance said, 'we pledge to reach peak emission by about 2030.' Well, the United States government had already done a study to guess when Chinese emissions would peak, and their guess was about 2030."

In other words, China simply promised to do what was going to happen anyway.

"China was actually one of the better pledges," says Cass. "India made no pledge to limit emissions at all. They pledged only to become more efficient. But they proposed to become more efficient less quickly than they were already becoming more efficient. So their pledge was to slow down."

It's hard to see how that would help the planet.

"My favorite was Pakistan, whose pledge was to 'Reach a peak at some point after which to begin reducing emissions,'" says Cass. "You can staple those together, and you can say we now have a global agreement, but what you have is an agreement to do nothing."

However, Cass says one country did make a serious commitment. "The one country that showed up in Paris with a very costly, ambitious target was the United States. President Obama took all the zero commitments from everybody else but threw in a really expensive one for us."

Obama pledged to reduce emissions by 26 percent. If that ever happened, it would squash America's economy.

Nevertheless, when Trump said he was leaving the Paris accord, he was trashed by politicians around the world.

The UK's Theresa May was "dismayed," and Obama said, "This administration joins a handful of nations that reject the future."

Cass counters that if "the future is worthless climate agreements…we should be proud to reject."

Don't get me wrong: The Earth has been warming, and humans probably contribute to it.

But the solution isn't to waste billions by making emissions cuts in America while other countries do nothing.

Trump was right to repudiate this phony treaty. It's good that Pompeo is around to remind him of that.

NEXT: Trump's 'Tough' Drug Policies Are Not Smart

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  1. If I cared, I’d look up Britain’s commitment. But I’d forget a week later, and I can think of lots more important thinks to look up and forget than bogus commitments to a bogus cause.

    1. I don’t believe that Britain made an independent commitment. At the time, they were part of the EU and were rolled into that larger goal. Since Brexit, it’s an open question what their commitment is now.

      By the way, the EU goal was “40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.” They have already achieved essentially all of that long ago by virtue of shuttering the highly inefficient power plants in East Germany following the Reunification. In other words, they too pledged to do what they’d already done.

  2. The countries committed to an annual retreat at an expensive resort at taxpayers expense.

    1. You got it: good food, good wine, and all at taxpayer expense. Governments are taking so much money these days, they have to invent things to keep the junket rolling.

  3. Environmentalists are like watermelons. Green on the outside, red on the inside.

    Show me a scheme to “save the environment,” and I’ll show you a scheme to squash individual rights, destroy/distribute wealth, and give government more control over our lives.

    1. As in the oil patch and the bible belt, seldom is heard a Reasonable word on climate policy in these parts.

      Cliche’s go better with Koch

      1. Such an insightful rebuttal of neither the article nor the comment. Shows just how much is actually behind the support for this accord.

  4. Obama declaring we can “save the planet”. What hubris – we couldn’t heat it up if our lives depended on it. Why can’t we use the intel gathered by the alphabet soup agencies to prove the IPCC report is a total hoax? Too many politicians do not start with facts to then draw conclusions – they usually start with an idea, then either shop for facts or fabricate them if the rhetoric is too much fun for them. We have an entire party built around fantasy narratives today, and the other too stupid to decry their mendacity [where congress is concerned].

    1. You don’t get it. Burning all these fossil fuels must have a bad effect on the environment. It must. How could it not? It’s just self evident that it will harm the environment. No proof required. The burden of proof is on those who say it doesn’t. And since they’re all in the pocket of Big Oil, nothing they say matters anyway.
      So now the premise of our argument is that burning fossil fuels causes harm. Which is also our conclusion. It’s an airtight argument. Totally circular. You can’t but in to prove it wrong because it is impossible to falsify. Drought? Climate change. Flood? Climate change. Heat wave? Climate change. Cold snap? Climate change. Baby born with three legs? Climate change.

    2. Correction: we have two parties built around fantasy narratives, each too stupid (or self-interested) to decry the other’s mendacity.
      Same as it ever was.

    3. It certainly is hubris. But I’d challenge your assertion that we couldn’t heat up the planet if we wanted to. Who’d have thought we could alter the Earth’s rotation and axis 20 years ago? The Chinese managed to do it by accident (by a very small but measurable amount) when they built the 3 gorges dam…

      1. But I’d challenge your assertion that we couldn’t heat up the planet if we wanted to.

        I thought he meant ‘we’ as Americans right now rather than human beings however far into the future. I was thinking about this in terms of the national debt. If you think about the national debt, it’s been accruing for decades. No one President could possibly pay it off in two full terms, maybe not even in their lifetime. The climate is at least 10X as large and 1/10 under our control. You wouldn’t just need American consensus on a course of action with regard to climate change, you’d need protracted world consensus.

        Who’d have thought we could alter the Earth’s rotation and axis 20 years ago?

        Richard Donner 40 yrs. ago.

        1. That’s how I took it too actually. Or any large nation with enough labor, capital, and willpower.

          I’d not be shocked to find out we are quite capable of increasing the planet’s temperature. In fact, I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if we have already–just not to the hysteria levels put out by modern day pagans.

          1. Case in point, urban heat islands. If we wanted to heat up the planet, we’d probably just have to pave enough of it to make a difference. Eventually the overall temperature would increase.

  5. The Paris accord was just political theater, he [Oren Cass] says.


    Ya think?

    There’s no need to read the accord to realize it is political theater because the premise itself – that political solutions to real world problems can work – is flawed. If there’s one thing you know is true, is that, most of the time, bureaucracies are NOT suicidal. They’re NOT going to meddle too much with people’s well-being if it could mean less tax revenue, because bureaucracies ALSO have a self-interest in living as well as other rich bureaucracies. So this idea that state action is going to drive people towards a joyless, ascetic existence, is madness. Only a few idiot Marxians could believe this, which explains why they’re so murderous and sociopathic and why they eradicated so many millions of innocents.

  6. Only government can not solve global warming.

  7. Most of the people whining about the US pulling out of the accord not only haven’t read the accord, they haven’t even read the action statements submitted so far by the individual countries.

  8. Trillions of dollars in wealth transfers from woke countries to poor countries to reduce global temps by 0.04 degrees in 50 years? What a deal! Sure the 0.04 is half of yhe measurement error from the temperature monitoring stations so the reduction is not measurable… But what a deal! And we can do this by funding liberal political groups? Deal gets better and better.

    1. Foreign aid: Taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries.

  9. The only complaint I have about Trump “pulling us out of” the Paris accord, is that he went along with the pretense that we were in it to begin with.

    Treaty + Not ratified = Meaningless piece of paper.

    This is the point, of course, at which more sophisticated frauds start talking about the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which obligates countries to respect treaties they have only signed.

    Didn’t ratify that one, either.

  10. John Stossel as usual doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about with respect to the detail.

    Even if Paris is little more than window dressing, what good does it do to the US to be the lone country in the world to reject it? We’re right and everyone else is wrong? Think everyone else is going to agree?

    1. The good is that we won’t be the lone country in the world to actually do expensive stuff to try to meaningfully comply with it.

      1. Because reducing carbon emissions is pointless?

        1. Pretty much.

          1. If nothing including the survival of the human species matters to you and your cohort, why not just go away and live in a cave and let those of us who aren’t nihilists fix the problem without your incessant useless input?

            1. Because you need our money for this “fix” you imagine. But, of course, you meant for us to still pay our taxes, just go away and quit talking

            2. Why don’t you go freeze in the dark?

              Burning fossil fuels has delivered incredible benefits for mankind.


    2. “Even if Paris is little more than window dressing, what good does it do to the US to be the lone country in the world to reject it?”
      I know it is a mystery to you, but there is a concept known as “honesty”. It is served by this action.

      “We’re right and everyone else is wrong?”

      “Think everyone else is going to agree?”
      If dimbulbs like you don’t agree, I don’t care.

    3. Even if Paris is little more than window dressing, what good does it do to the US to be the lone country in the world to reject it?

      It leaves us open to going with the savannah roman shades in espresso, which really match the decor.

    4. Wow Tony, you really think reality by consensus is real?

      If the accord is just window dressing who cares if everyone else agrees? Why should we waste trillions of dollars for nothing especially when everyone else commits to nothing?

      And if Stossel doesn’t know what he’s talking about maybe you could entertain us with your insightful analysis of what the actual details are.

      1. The less the deal actually accomplish, the more appearances matter. We look like a foolish country run by a buffoon by rejecting this, but also for so many other reasons.

        The more impactful it is, the more actually foolish we actually are.

        1. If it was the right thing to do, we wouldn’t need an accord.

        2. For once you KIND OF make sense!

          We could join it, and send in an equally ridiculous commitment. Like maybe say that we’ll should for doubling our emissions within 5 years or something. LOL

          Problem is, then some future dildo might get elected, and within this stupid framework change our commitment or something. I don’t know the legalities of how this was supposed to be structured, but such things are possible.

          There is some logic to just calling bullshit on a bullshit thing though Tony. Even if people don’t like you for it.

        3. Tell me why I should give a shit what other countries think about us?

        4. Incredible. You really are an idiot.

    5. Even if Paris is little more than window dressing, what good does it do to the US to be the lone country in the world to reject it?

      “Go with the masses”.

      If it is window dressing, why waste our time and energy?

      We’re right and everyone else is wrong? Think everyone else is going to agree?

      Who cares what Europe thinks?

      When it was relevant, they were for the Holocaust. European opinion is not worth much.

    6. The point you miss, Tony, is that it’s worse than mere window dressing – it’s actively harmful. This push to “solve” climate change diverts scarce resources of time, talent and money from problems that are much more pressing and which are actually solvable. Add on to that the multiple unintended consequences (such as the diversion of crop land from food to unsustainable biofuel, the increase in fuel poverty leading to well-documented increased winter death rates, the rape of old growth forests for wood, etc) and this “window dressing” becomes exposed as one of the most regressive policies ever proposed.

      You ask what good it does to be the lone country to reject the Paris Accord. I ask the same thing your mother probably did. If everyone else jumps off a bridge, are you going to, too?

  11. I saw this on twitter, had to check it out to see who wrote it. Of course, John Stossel. No TDS, just a real libertarian stance.

    How much would any other Reason writer have equivocated if they could even be bothered to take a stance?

    1. Schecky would have made a direct comparison of more immigrant mutts, the lower the temperature.

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