Forty Four Free-Market Groups Urge Trump To Withdraw from Paris Climate Agreement

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Dear Mr. President,

We, the undersigned, write in enthusiastic support of your campaign commitments to withdraw fully from the Paris Climate Treaty and to stop all taxpayer funding of UN global warming programs.  We were heartened by the comments you made at your 100-day rally in Harrisburg and agree that the treaty is not in the interest of the American people and the U. S. should therefore not be a party to it.

Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Treaty is an integral part of your energy agenda.  The Obama administration’s Nationally Determined Contribution (or NDC) to the Paris Climate Treaty commits the United States to take actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025.  Paris then requires a more ambitious NDC every five years in perpetuity.

The NDC cites specific policies undertaken by the Obama administration as part of the NDC.  These include: the greenhouse gas emissions rules for existing (the “Clean Power” Plan) and new power plants; Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for vehicles; methane emissions rules for the oil and gas sector and for landfills; and energy efficiency and conservation standards for buildings and appliances.

Environmental pressure groups and several state attorneys general have begun to prepare lawsuits in federal court to block withdrawal of the “Clean Power” Plan and other greenhouse gas rules.  One argument that they have already put forward is that these rules cannot be withdrawn because they are part of our international commitment under the Paris Climate Treaty.  Failing to withdraw from Paris thus exposes key parts of your deregulatory energy agenda to unnecessary legal risk.  The AGs revealed in a recruiting letter that they also plan other lawsuits “ensuring that the promises made in Paris become reality.”

Some officials in your administration are relying on recent statements from former Obama administration officials that the U. S. can withdraw its NDC and submit a new NDC that makes far less ambitious commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The clear language of Article 4 of the Paris Climate Treaty contradicts that claim.  Section 11 states: “A Party may at any time adjust its existing nationally determined contribution with a view to enhancing its level of ambition” (emphasis added).

Even if the U. S. were to be cleared by UN officials to submit a less ambitious NDC, this is not the end of the threats posed by the Paris Climate Treaty to your pro-energy agenda and to the economic future of our country.  Article 4 requires each party to submit a more ambitious NDC at least every five years in perpetuity.  This commitment to reduce fossil fuel use every five years cannot be wished away by those who argue that the U. S. should keep a seat at the negotiating table in order to advocate for fossil fuels. 

In urging you to keep your campaign commitment, we recognize that there are several options for you to withdraw the U.S. from Paris.  Of the three options listed below, we think the first two are preferable to the third.  

First, you could submit the Paris Climate Treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent with a recommendation that the treaty not be ratified.  Submitting the treaty to the Senate would return us to and restore the proper constitutional method for treaty-making and require a future administration to go through proper procedures if it were to attempt to rejoin the treaty. 

Second, you could withdraw from the underlying UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  This action would also achieve your commitment to “stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to UN global warming programs,” including the Green Climate Fund, which is a part of the UNFCCC. 

Third, you could announce your intention to withdraw the U. S. from the Paris Climate Treaty according to the four-year schedule specified in the treaty and continue the process of repealing the regulations that the previous administration submitted as part of its NDC.  This option is the least preferable because it runs the risk of legitimizing the Obama administration’s false claim that the treaty is merely an executive agreement.

The undersigned organizations believe that withdrawing completely from Paris is a key part of your plan to protect U.S. energy producers and manufacturers from regulatory warfare not just for the next four years but also for decades to come.  We will strongly support your decision to keep your campaign commitment to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty.


Myron Ebell, Director, Center for Energy and Environment, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Thomas J. Pyle, President, American Energy Alliance

Joseph Bast, President, The Heartland Institute

Grover G. Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform

Chrissy Harbin, Vice President of External Affairs, Americans for Prosperity

Michael Needham, CEO, Heritage Action for America

Michael Costigan, Senior Advisor, Strategic Outreach, The Heritage Foundation

James L. Martin, Founder and Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Craig Rucker, Executive Director, Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow

David Ridenour, President, National Center for Public Policy Research

Thomas Schatz, President, Citizens Against Government Waste

Craig Richardson, President, Energy and Environment Legal Institute

Tom DeWeese, President, American Policy Center

Richard Manning, President, Americans for Limited Government

Phil Kerpen, President, American Commitment

David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Mario H. Lopez, President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

David Bozell, President, For America

Steven J. Allen, Vice President and Chief Investigative Officer, Capital Research Center

Kenneth Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Craig D. Idso, Chairman, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

William Happer, President, The CO2 Coalition

E. Calvin Beisner, Founder and National Spokesman, Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

John Droz, Jr., Founder, Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions

Timothy Lee, Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs, Center for Individual Freedom

Peter J. Thomas, Chairman, Americans for Constitutional Liberty

Ed Martin, President, Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund

Amy Oliver Cooke, Executive Vice President, Independence Institute (CO)

David T. Stevenson, Director, Center for Energy Competitiveness, Caesar Rodney Institute (DE)

Paul Gessing, President, Rio Grande Foundation

Kory Swanson, President and CEO, John Locke Foundation

Francis De Luca, President, Civitas Institute

Forest Thigpen, President, Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Eldon Alexander, President, Faith and Freedom Foundation

Lynne Roberts, President, Americans United for Freedom

Rich Johns, President, Liberty Tree Alliance

Aileen Milton, President, The Villages Tea Party

Debbie Gunnoe, President, Navarre Patriots

Sam Mullins, Co-Founder, Santa Rosa Tea Party Patriots

Hon. Mike Hill, Founder, Northwest Florida Tea Party

Stephani Scruggs Bowen, COO, Coalition for a Strong America

Alan Moran, Director, Australian Environment Foundation

Eunie Smith, President, Eagle Forum

Norm Singleton, President, Campaign for Liberty

*This letter was updated on May 8, 2017, to reflect additional signatories.