One of the dangers of planning or striking big deals as President of the United States is what happens when the next guy comes along. Earlier we looked at the collapse of the TPP, but that’s not the only global scheme from the Obama administration on the chopping block. The President moved unilaterally back in September to speak for several hundred millions of Americans by signing us onto the Paris climate treaty without having Congress ever weigh in on the subject. By the time Donald Trump is sworn in as the nation’s 45th President you can expect a plan to be in place which takes us to the exit from that deal. (Parexit?) As Reuters reports this week there are a number of options on the table.
President-elect Donald Trump is seeking quick ways to withdraw the United States from a global accord to combat climate change, a source on his transition team said, defying broad international backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Since Trump’s election victory on Tuesday, governments ranging from China to small island states have reaffirmed support for the 2015 Paris agreement during climate talks involving 200 nations set to run until Friday in Marrakesh, Morocco…
Trump’s advisers are considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord, according to the source, who works on Trump’s transition team for international energy and climate policy.
“It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election” on Tuesday, the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Paris accord won enough backing for entry into force on Nov. 4, four days before the election.
There are two arguments being made which seek to tie the United States to this agreement, both of which seem dubious at best. One is the description of the Paris Climate Accord as being an extension of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). That was signed off on in the early 90s by President George H.W. Bush and approved in Congress. That’s something of a red herring because that was a separate and much more vague agreement in principle. Calling it the “parent” of the Paris agreement is preposterous since this is an entirely new deal.
The second avenue of attack points to Article 28 of the Paris agreement which says that once a nation has signed on they must wait four years before exiting. That would take up Trump’s entire first term. But the agreement was never ratified by Congress nor approved by the American public. It was agreed to and signed by one person… Barack Obama, acting as the Chief Executive of the nation. Now there will be a new Chief Executive, and if he doesn’t agree with the terms it seems futile to argue that he’s bound by it.
Further, there are no enforcement provisions to the agreement which can be forced on the United States without our consent. It’s a paper tiger with no teeth. Some are arguing that Trump could issue a letter stating his intention to leave the agreement in one year, but even that seems pointlessly generous. Barack Obama entered into that agreement in what was effectively an Executive Order. Much like many of his other EO actions, this one can and should be undone by the next President if he so wishes with a simple stroke of the pen.
The Paris accord is a bad deal which, as usual, forces the majority of cost and sacrifice on the United States while other nations such as China repeatedly cheat on their own carbon output claims and don’t wind up making the same sacrifices. And the total reductions in greenhouse gases are paltry even by the estimates of the most vocal climate change alarmists. Trump should break that pen out on day one and be done with this farce.