CNN's Van Jones and Fareed Zakaria destroy Trump's lie that remaining in the Paris climate deal is bad for business
Zakaria: "This is a lose-lose-lose for the United States, and as I say, for a young presidency, it is already the single most irresponsible act that this president has taken"
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From the June 1 edition of CNN Newsroom, previewing President Donald Trump's announcement that he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement:
VAN JONES: This is what's happening. You have an American president who is now taking a meat ax to the only American industry that is growing. The clean energy sector in America is producing jobs -- you can laugh if you want but [inaudible] this is an argument you don't want to have with me, this is my stuff -- so look, the clean energy sector in this country is growing at ten times the rest of the economy. You already have more solar workers than you have coal miners, and you already have more wind energy workers than you have coal miners. You have more Americans working in smart batteries than you have coal miners. This is an American success story that the president has turned his back on. Worse than that, if you say that this is a bad deal, what the brilliance of Donald Trump as a business person is hard for me to fathom. But every other business leader in the country says it's a great deal. And I'll tell you why. It's a great deal because you just took 120 countries and you made them into customers for American clean energy companies. If you let those countries go and grow in a carbon-consumptive way, you feed the Middle East. If you let those countries grow and they have to rely on clean energy, it comes from the United States and Germany. This is an incredible opportunity for American industries and the president is against it.
FAREED ZAKARIA: Jake, I think that it really will, if it proves to be what we think it is, this will be the day that the United States resigned as the leader of the free world. It's nothing short of that. The irresponsibility of this act is breathtaking because the Paris climate accords are actually extraordinarily flexible. They do not dilute American sovereignty. They allow every country to make its own plans. That's why countries that have jealously guarded their sovereignty -- like China, like India, like Russia -- have all signed on. There are 194 other countries that have signed on to this, including the countries that Donald Trump keeps saying always beat us in these agreements. They are all in.
JAKE TAPPER (HOST): Let me interrupt for one second, Fareed, just because I want to ask, what of the point made by Senator [Rand] Paul (R-KY) and Stephen Moore here on the panel that China is getting away with murder and don't listen to what the Chinese and the Indians are saying, look at what they're doing. They're building more polluting plants.
ZAKARIA: Look, under any agreement there's going to be some cheating. People accuse United States of undermining the World Trade Organization rules all the time and there's a process that you put in place to adjudicate this, and when they're found there can be fines. The argument that generically that's a reason to never engage in any kind of cooperation -- look, if the Chinese were not signed on to the Paris accords, they would be polluting many, many times more. There are also very good studies, one by the Grantham Institute that points out that China is actually overshooting many of the targets it has arrived at.
I also want to point out, on this issue of the jobs of the future, why I thought Van did an excellent job. The only thing I would point out is it's 194 countries that are potential markets, not just 125. But the problem with the kind of statistics that Rand Paul and Steve Moore were providing us: We all have Google. So from this January's Department of Energy report, United States' solar industry employs more workers than coal, oil and natural gas combined. It grew 25 percent last year. The point Van was making is exactly right. These are the industries of the future. These are the industries that the United States can dominate, as long as you engaged in digging up oil, natural gas, that's opened up lots of different countries around the world, it's not just the Middle East, it's Venezuela, it's Russia, the country that benefits the most perhaps from all of this.
We would own the future if we could continue to dominate this. So it's bad geopolitically, it's bad economically, it does not dilute American sovereignty. This is a lose-lose-lose for the United States, and as I say, for a young presidency, it is already the single most irresponsible act that this president has taken.