Ship Has Sailed on U.S. Engagement with Paris Climate Treaty

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The article excerpted below originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of the UK magazine Standpoint and is republished on with Standpoint’s permission.

My colleague Myron Ebell, in a nod to his collegiate years spent at the London School of Economics and Cambridge University, writes this month for the UK-based magazine Standpoint about President Trump’s now year-old decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. He especially warns international observers who might be holding out for a return that they can lay their hopes to rest. The U.S. will not be rejoining the Paris club:

The fact is that the Paris climate treaty is a document expressing good intentions—what is currently called virtue signalling—for every country in the world but one. When the United States makes an international commitment, it stands by its commitment. If it doesn’t, then private parties, which in this case would be that environmental pressure groups, Democratic state governors, and perhaps multinational oil corporations, file suit to force the federal government to keep its commitment. 

Thus staying in Paris would threaten to stymie President Trump’s ambitious plan to revive the American economy through deregulation and on the foundation of immense energy resources. If that plan succeeds, then US greenhouse gas emissions are going to stop declining, as they have done for the past decade, and start increasing again. The Paris treaty’s self-imposed economic straitjacket would make that impossible.

And lest our climate activist friends abroad think that this situation is merely a symptom of the current controversial occupant of the White House, we should remember just how politically unpopular treaty-related domestic policies would be in Congress, including sending billions of taxpayer dollars every year to an unaccountable UN slush fund:

The Green Climate Fund was created and over ten billion dollars has been deposited, but it’s supposed to start full operations in 2020. $100 billion a year suddenly looks an impossible goal. President Trump made it clear a year ago when he pulled out of Paris that he would never ask Congress for a penny to fund the Green Climate Fund. The funny thing is that even if Hilary Clinton had been elected president, Congress would never have agreed to fund the Green Climate Fund. 

For more on today’s Paris treaty anniversary, see Chris Horner on how the State Department is refusing to release information about how the treaty was negotiated by the Obama White House and Marlo Lewis’ argument that the Constitution requires that Paris be submitted to the Senate for a vote.