Should the U.S. Adhere to the Paris Climate Accord, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its examination of the merits of the Paris Climate Accord. 

An Energy and Environment (E&E) news report places a rough estimate for the cost of hitting the Paris goal in a range from $42 billion to $176 billion every year until 2050, citing Columbia University’s Geoffrey Heal. “Getting there will require massive investments, between $3.3 trillion and $7.3 trillion, in new energy generating capacity, energy storage and energy transmission, plus a faster transition to battery electric vehicles and ‘extensive progress’ in replacing the residential and commercial uses of fossil fuels.”

Bjorn Lomborg, writing for PragerU  notes:

“…the agreement will cost a fortune, but do little to reduce global warming. Consider the Obama administration’s signature climate policy, the Clean Power Plan. Using the same climate prediction model that the UN uses, I found that the power plan will accomplish almost nothing. Even if its cuts to carbon dioxide emissions are fully implemented – not just for the 14 years that the Paris Agreement lasts, but for the rest of the century – the Clean Power Plan would reduce the temperature increase in 2100 by just 0.023 degrees Fahrenheit… if the U.S. delivers for the whole century on [President Obama’s] very ambitious rhetoric, it would postpone global warming by about eight months at the end of the century. Now let’s add in the rest of the world’s Paris promises. If we generously assume that the promised carbon cuts for 2030 are not only met (which itself would be a U.N. first), but sustained, throughout the rest of the century, temperatures in 2100 would drop by 0.3 degrees – the equivalent of postponing warming by less than four years. Again, that’s using the UN’s own climate prediction model.”

A summary of the financial impact of the Paris accords was provided by the Heritage Foundation:

“Policies adapted from domestic regulations emphasized in the Paris agreement will affect a variety of aspects of the American economy. As a result of the plan, one can expect that by 2035, there will be:

  • An overall average shortfall of nearly 400,000 jobs;
  • An average manufacturing shortfall of over 200,000 jobs;
  • A total income loss of more than $20,000 for a family of four;
  • An aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) loss of over $2.5 trillion; and
  • Increases in household electricity expenditures between 13 percent and 20 percent.”

A continuation of American adherence to the Paris climate accord has also raised constitutional issues. The Competitive Enterprise Institute notes that “President Trump should keep his two-part campaign promise to cancel U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments to United Nations global warming programs. The Paris Agreement is a costly and ineffectual solution to the alleged climate crisis. It is also plainly a treaty, despite President Obama’s attempt to implement it without the Senate’s advice and consent. Failure to withdraw from the agreement would entrench a constitutionally damaging precedent, set President Trump’s domestic and foreign policies in conflict, and ensure decades of diplomatic blowback. For those and other reasons, the Paris Agreement imperils both America’s economic future and capacity for self-government… The Agreement endangers America’s capacity for self-government. It empowers one administration to make legislative commitments for decades to come, without congressional authorization, and regardless of the outcome of future elections. It would also make U.S. energy policies increasingly unaccountable to voters, and increasingly beholden to the demands of foreign leaders, U.N. bureaucrats, and international pressure groups.

Political observers believe the Trump Administration’s decision on the Paris accords will provide a clue on how it will move on other issues as well, and whether the White House will stick to the more conservative course it promised during the campaign or switch to a more left-wing mode. A Reason analysis notes that “A big fight has apparently broken out among Trump administration denizens over the question of leaving or staying in the accord. The Clexiters include strategic nationalist Steve Bannon and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and the stayers are First Daughter Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State of Rex Tillerson.”