Right-wing media figures cheered President Donald Trump’s decision to remove the United States from the Paris climate agreement, which sought to reduce international greenhouse gas emissions. But experts and business leaders condemned the decision, calling the move a “historic mistake” and “a gratuitous thumb in everyone’s eye.”
President Trump announces US withdrawal from Paris climate agreement
Donald Trump: “We’re getting out” of the Paris climate agreement. On June 1, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. From CNN.com’s June 1 report:
President Donald Trump announced Thursday his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord, a sweeping step that fulfills a campaign promise while seriously dampening global efforts to curb global warming.
The decision amounts to a rebuttal of the worldwide effort to pressure Trump to remain a part of the agreement, which 195 nations signed onto. Foreign leaders, business executives and Trump's own daughter, Ivanka, lobbied heavily for him to remain a part of the deal, but ultimately lost out to conservatives who claim the plan is bad for the United States.
In his remarks, Trump said he was open to re-brokering US carbon reduction commitments, but cast doubt on the ability of other nations to agree to a plan that he deems fair to the United States. He said the deal placed “draconian” financial burdens on the American people.
“We're getting out,” he said. “And we will start to renegotiate and we'll see if there's a better deal. If we can, great. If we can't, that's fine.” [CNN.com, 6/1/17]
Conservative media cheer decision: “Global warming is a scam designed to asset strip America”
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter: “Trump's decision on Paris accord has lefties everywhere shitting bricks. Now if they could just sh*t some rebar, we could build the wall!”
Commentary’s John Podhoretz: “Listen to this speech. It's the smartest political play of his presidency.”
Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham: “Populist & optimistic. @realDonaldTrump: No one [should] have more say over our economy than the American ppl or their elected officials.”
National Review’s David French: “If the planet is really at stake, why not negotiate an actual treaty?”
Breitbart’s Curt Schilling: “Keeping his promises! #MAGA #Renegotiate #Winning.”
Radio host Bill Mitchell: “America is experiencing a major climate change - the death of #progressivism.”
Former Infowars reporter Joe Biggs: “Get your cups ready #ParisAccord.”
Conservative media analyst Mark Dice: “Only thing better than Trump pulling out of Paris Accord today is reading Tweets and hashtags from liberals crying about it. #ActOnClimate.”
Sputnik’s Lee Stranahan: “Great move by @realDonaldTrump on Paris Accords - it's not about being pro-pollution, it's about being pro-American & in favor of fair deals.”
Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson: “Good. Global warming is a scam designed to asset strip America, enrich globalists & keep the third world in poverty.”
Right-wing radio host Mark Levin: “President Trump's speech respecting our withdrawal from the Paris climate deal was outstanding.”
Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren: “Hollywood liberals are crying about the Paris Agreement..on their private jets…”
Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft: “WHITE HOUSE AUDIENCE BREAKS OUT IN APPLAUSE as Trump Announces US Withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord.”
Experts, business leaders, and numerous editorial boards have warned against leaving Paris accord
NY Times: Trump “has stripped America of its hard-won role as a global leader on climate issues.” In a May 22 editorial, The New York Times called Trump’s claim that U.S. meeting the Paris obligations would cost jobs and damage the economy a “bogus argument,” and debunked the conservative myth that China and India are not taking action on climate change. Earlier, on March 28, a Times’ editorial headlined “President Trump risks the planet” argued that he should not repudiate the Paris agreement and highlighted the dangers of disengaging from the fight against climate change, writing that if he rolls back Obama's climate initiatives, “the United States will have neither the tools nor the credibility to lead the world on emissions reduction”:
Mr. Trump’s ignorance has stripped America of its hard-won role as a global leader on climate issues.
Mr. Trump has, for all practical purposes, repudiated Paris. The initiatives that he threatens to dismantle are the very ones that support Mr. Obama’s expansive pledge in Paris to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than one quarter below 2005 levels by 2025. Without them, the United States will have neither the tools nor the credibility to lead the world on emissions reduction, and surely the leaders of China and India and the rest of the world are smart enough to see this.
This raises two very real dangers. Either other big countries also pull out of the agreement. Or they decide to seize the initiative on clean energy sources, which would be good for the climate but bad for American industry. [The New York Times, 3/28/17, 5/22/17]
Wash. Post: “Leaving the Paris agreement would be a gratuitous thumb in everyone’s eye.” In a March 4 editorial, The Washington Post editorial board wrote that withdrawing from the Paris agreement “would be an enormous and possibly irreparable error,” adding, “This is not a hard call: Staying in the agreement is costless, while leaving would rightly provoke sharp and sustained international outrage. … leaving Paris would be nothing more than a gratuitous thumb in the eye of practically every important nation on the planet, a bizarre and irrational unforced error.”
The Post took up the accord again in a May 3 editorial, writing, “Staying in the Paris accord is cost-free, but pulling out is not” and warning that Trump “must not underestimate the cost of pulling out. … By leaving Paris, the United States would surrender a huge amount of diplomatic capital and reputation — much more than it is already set to lose by unwisely reversing Obama-era emissions-cutting policies. Mr. Trump would hear about it for the rest of his presidency. And for good reason.” And on May 20, the Post called the prospect of leaving the accord “an unthinkably irrational move that would enrage allied governments for no material benefit.” From the March 4 editorial:
THE NEW YORK TIMES reports that the Trump administration has divided over whether to remove the United States from the Paris climate agreement, a landmark international deal with vast diplomatic and environmental significance. Withdrawing — or asking the Senate to decide what to do, which is effectively the same thing — would be an enormous and possibly irreparable error. This is not a hard call: Staying in the agreement is costless, while leaving would rightly provoke sharp and sustained international outrage.
President Trump could modify the U.S. Paris commitment, or simply leave President Barack Obama’s Paris pledge in place. Although Mr. Trump has promised to rip up major elements of Mr. Obama’s climate plan, other policies, such as congressionally mandated renewables subsidies and state-level efforts, would continue apace. Crushing the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan would ill-prepare the country for the significant emissions cuts that it will have to make in coming decades, but it would not keep the nation from reducing its emissions by more modest levels in the near term. If the country is going to be achieving emissions cuts anyway, why not take some international credit for them?
Given all that, leaving Paris would be nothing more than a gratuitous thumb in the eye of practically every important nation on the planet, a bizarre and irrational unforced error. [The Washington Post, 3/4/17, 5/3/17, 5/20/17]
Numerous environmental advocacy groups and experts have called Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement a “historic mistake.” According to The Independent, experts have noted that, “near-universal consensus” on the accord is “what makes the Paris Agreement strong,” and that the United States withdrawing from the agreement would be a “historic mistake.” From the June 1 article:
World leaders, as well as heads of business and climate change activists, have piled the pressure on US President Donald Trump to not make the “serious mistake” of withdrawing from the global Paris climate change agreement - a key element of attempts to curb the effects of climate change.
European leaders tried to explain the process for withdrawing to him “in clear, simple sentences” during summit meetings with EU officials, Nato members and the Group of Seven (G7) nations last week, Mr Juncker said. “It looks like that attempt failed,”
“This notion, 'I am Trump, I am American, America first and I am getting out,' that is not going to happen,” Mr Juncker added.
Dr Rachel Cleetus, Lead Economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Independent that “what makes the Paris Agreement strong is the near-universal consensus.”
The Sierra Club said a US withdrawal from the Paris deal would be a “historic mistake.” Friends of the Earth said the action would “sacrifice our planet to the fossil fuel industry” and make America the world's “foremost climate villain.” [The Independent, 6/1/17]
Former Bush administration official: Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement “would harm every American” and “devastate our international credibility.” Former Ambassador Nicholas Burns asserted that Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement “is anti-empirical, it's anti-science, it doesn’t make sense.” Burns added that the decision to withdraw from the agreement would “devastate [America’s] international credibility,” and is “a colossal mistake by President Trump.” From the May 31 edition of CNN's New Day:
CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): We have breaking news from two official sources coming from the White House. The word is that President Trump will withdraw from the France agreements with respect to global warming and those other environmental considerations. Now if that's not true, the president is often watching, if that's not true please reach out, at least on Twitter and let us know that it is not true. But if it is, Nick Burns, how big a deal is it if the U.S. withdraws from the Paris accords?
NICHOLAS BURNS: If true, this would be a colossal mistake by President Trump. It would harm every American because climate change is an existential threat to us. It would also, Chris, devastate our international credibility. We're one of the two largest carbon emitters with China. We're the ones who put -- President Obama and [Chinese President] Xi Jinping -- put this deal together. It's the first step to try to do something about climate change. For President Trump to take us out -- it is anti-empirical, it’s anti-science, it doesn't make sense. And boy will it deepen the crisis with Europe. If you travel in Europe, as I did in the last few weeks, it's the number one public issue. If we walk away, it will further deepen the credibility problem that we have with the Germans and other peoples in Europe. [CNN, New Day, 5/31/17]
CNN Money: Business leaders say Paris Agreement “will help generate new jobs, limit damage from climate change and help assert American leadership on the global stage.” According to CNN Money, business leaders from across the country have “lobbied fiercely in favor of the deal, which aims to end the fossil fuel era. Even major oil firms like Chevron (CVX) and ExxonMobil (XOM) back it.” From the May 29 article:
If Trump bails on the agreement, which has been signed by 195 countries, he will do so over the objections of hundreds of major U.S. businesses.
In recent months, big business has lobbied fiercely in favor of the deal, which aims to end the fossil fuel era. Even major oil firms like Chevron (CVX) and ExxonMobil (XOM) back it.
Business leaders say the Paris deal, also called COP21, will help generate new jobs, limit damage from climate change and help assert American leadership on the global stage.
“By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth,” business leaders wrote in a recent ad published in major newspapers. “U.S. companies are well positioned to lead in these markets. Withdrawing from the agreement will limit our access to them and could expose us to retaliatory measures.” [CNN Money, 5/29/17]
MSNBC Panel: The Paris agreement “benefits [businesses] too in terms of productivity and efficiency,” and withdrawing from the agreement “is not the way the world is going.” CNBC’s Rob Isana criticized Trump’s economic argument as reason to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, noting, “In the long run, this is not the way the world is going, and so companies really do have to stay lined up with this accord because, at the end of the day, it also benefits them too in terms of productivity and efficiency and so on.” Isana added, “Even if you don't believe climate change is manmade, it is still a smart thing to do to keep your litter box clean, if you will. It's not a bad idea to do these things.” From the May 30 edition of MSNBC Live:
STEPHANIE RUHLE (HOST): President Trump says a decision on whether he plans to pull out of the Paris climate accord will come this week. If Trump does decide to bail out of the agreement, it will put him at odds with companies like Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Hilton, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Tesla, Google, and the Dow Chemical Company, just to name a few. Here for more on the business perspective, CNBC contributor Ron Insana, and I’ve got my panel back with me, Mike Lupica and Megan Murphy. Ron, is the Paris accord good or bad for business? Because we know business doesn't like volatility, and they've all lined themselves up preparing for it.
RON INSANA: And it’s like a lot of other accords. It's like he Department of Labor’s fiduciary responsibility act for financial firms, which says put the client first. All Wall Street firms got ready for this. And now they’ve contemplated rolling it back. Now you’ve got the Paris climate accords. Most businesses have moved towards a more sustainable form of energy, reducing their carbon footprint, and what have you, against the backdrop of concerns about climate change. So, if we pull out, in the short run, certainly you could see some benefit to companies because their compliance costs go down. In the long run, this is not the way the world is going, and so companies really do have to stay lined up with this accord because, at the end of the day, it also benefits them too in terms of productivity and efficiency and so on.
RUHLE: Then if they pulled out, who would the president be playing to? Who would he be trying to please? As we mentioned, Dow Chemical is in there, Andrew Liveris is the --
INSANA: Exxon’s in there.
RUHLE: Exxon. Andrew Liveris is President Trump’s closest CEO adviser, yet Ted Cruz put out on op-ed over the weekend saying -- urging the president to pull out, saying, “Not only would these unfair standards reduce American job growth and wages and increase monthly utility costs for hard-working families, they would fundamentally disadvantage the United States in the global economy.”
INSANA: Absolutely wrong. If you go back --
RUHLE: In a nutshell.
INSANA: In a nutshell. If you go back and look at history, President Nixon started the Environmental Protection Agency. President Reagan got rid of acid rain by reducing sulfur dioxide emissions. Also they reduced the emissions of CFCs to help the ozone layer. Throughout that entire period, the economy has grown and grown and grown with very little negative impact on companies' bottom lines. We've seen corporate profits set records time and time again. This is actually in many ways, even if you don't believe climate change is manmade, it is still a smart thing to do to keep your litter box clean, if you will. It's not a bad idea to do these things. [MSNBC, MSNBC Live, 5/30/17]
Tesla and SpaceX Founder & CEO Elon Musk: “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”
Microsoft President Brad Smith: “We’re disappointed with the decision to exit the Paris Agreement. Microsoft remains committed to doing our part to achieve its goals.”
General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt: “Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”