Why the ‘business case’ for the Paris climate accord is bunk

As President Trump weighs whether to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, some have tried to present a “business case” for why the U.S. should stay in. An economic windfall would come with the early and aggressive investment in alternative energy that the accord mandates, or so the argument goes. The Paris Agreement’s backers have told an incomplete story and reached the wrong conclusion.

The economic merits of the Paris Agreement take on a different air when more fully considered. Climate-change advocates’ bizarre premise is that economic gains will come from restricting access to the most abundant, reliable and affordable fuel sources. Never mind that this defies the experience of many European nations that have invested heavily in renewable energy. After “Germany’s aggressive and reckless expansion of wind and solar,” for example, the magazine Der Spiegel declared in 2013 that electricity had become “a luxury good.” Apparently, this time will be different.

There are a few interesting hypocrisies to consider as well. The commercial interests that strongly support the Paris Agreement typically have created programs to exploit, game, or merely pass through the costs of the climate-change agenda. Many also maintain a green pose for marketing purposes. The classic example of this rent-seeking behavior was Enron, which in 1996 purchased Zond Energy Systems (now GE Wind) to complement its gas pipeline. Enron then set about lobbying its way to green-energy riches. It seems that Paris backers hope for a sudden public amnesia about the many businesses that use government to push out smaller competitors.

Green companies also argue that, beyond economic benefits, their ability to slow climate change helps contribute to the public good. To my knowledge, none declare a measurable impact on climate from their businesses or their desired policies.

Mr. Trump should keep in mind that the people calling for him to stick with the Paris Agreement largely did not support him during the campaign. Few would like to see him succeed now. As for his strongest supporters, they’re the ones who will take the hit if he breaks his promise to withdraw.

Some countries have threatened to punish the U.S. if it pulls out of the accord. Rodolfo Lacy Tamayo, Mexico’s undersecretary for environmental policy and planning, said in an interview with the New York Times: “A carbon tariff against the United States is an option for us.” Countries imposing costs on their own industries through the Paris Agreement complain that they are at a disadvantage if the U.S. doesn’t do the same. Apparently, they didn’t receive the talking points describing green energy as an economic boon for everyone involved.

So which is it? Does the Paris Agreement spur a U.S. economy otherwise unprepared to succeed in the 21st century? Or is the U.S. maintaining economic advantage by not subjecting itself to the accord’s arduous requirements?

Mr. Trump’s obligation is to do what is in America’s best interest. Rejecting a confused and costly international agreement, with questionable benefits to climate, should be a slam dunk. Don’t take my word for it: Just study the other side’s arguments.

Read more at WSJ

Comments (6)

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    Spurwing Plover

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    The only good place to file the Paris Agreement is a paper shredder along with all those Useless Nations treaties we have signed with those Useless Nations tyrants,war mongers and dictators

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      Rhee

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      Perhaps it would be better to burn the Paris Agreement rather than simply shredding it, send a fiery message that way.

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        Sonnyhill

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        LOL . Let the homeless burn it on a cold night. At least it will do some good that way. Honestly, the Socialists should surrender to capitalism. It provides like no other system. You kill the goose that lays golden eggs , everyone starves equally.

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    Sonnyhill

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    Thank you, Cliff Forest. I wondered when the Socialists would threaten punitive trade measures. Trump could respond by freezing foreign aid, NATO, United Nations$$$, until reciprocal trade is negotiated. The USA is the world’s largest consumer and access to it is a valuable privilege. Rich Americans could buy Cadillacs as a patriotic vote against that East German Dough Lady.

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    Spurwing Plover

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    Off topic but i just wonder how many knots per gallon of fossil fuel dose Greenpeace use on their big ships while their sailing all over the world making total pests of themselves? and then there’s those annoying little zodiacs with their gasoline powered outboards

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    David Lewis

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    First I’ll address carbon tariffs. This is nothing but saber rattling. We have trade treaties with all of these nations. Adding carbon tariffs would require re-negotiating these treaties, something you can bet President Trump would not do. If they try to add carbon tariffs outside of the existing treaties, then they break the treaties, which in most cases are more beneficial to other counties than the US.

    Second, for over ten years the environmentalists and many politicians have been telling the lie that investing in green energy will be an economic boom. If this were true, every country would be jumping to do so and agreements like the Paris Treaty wouldn’t be necessary. Second, the experience of nations that have started the transformation into green energy is one of job and industry loss, much higher energy cost, unreliable energy, and more.

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