The prom­ise to keep

Trump said he would shun the Paris treaty, and shun it he must

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Pres­i­dent Trump usu­ally prefers to blaze his own path through the thicket of global diplo­macy — “glob­aloney” a wit once called it — much to the dis­may of the scented-hand­ker­chief crowd. He soft­ened his skep­ti­cism of NATO, and that’s a good thing, and post­poned a fi­nal de­ci­sion on whether to keep his prom­ise to with­draw the United States from the Paris treaty on global warm­ing. He wanted to keep the good feel­ings in­tact at the G-7 sum­mit.

But now it’s time to keep the prom­ise, and there’s loud and wel­come buzz across the cap­i­tal that he’s about to do it. Pulling out will be an im­por­tant prom­ise kept. The Paris ac­cord is one of the most dan­ger­ous in­ter­na­tional treaties in many years. It would com­mit the U.S. to re­duce car­bon emis­sions by nearly 30 per­cent be­low 2005 lev­els.

Pro­po­nents of this flawed treaty say that the United States will for­feit its world lead­er­ship role by with­draw­ing, but that’s silly. Amer­ica leads be­cause there is no al­ter­na­tive to the United States, and that’s the source of much Euro­pean frus­tra­tion. Europe des­per­ately wants Amer­ica to join the cli­mate change agenda. France, Ger­many, Italy, Spain, and oth­ers bet their economies on green en­ergy a decade ago and now they’re sad­dled with elec­tric­ity prices that are on av­er­age twice as high as those in Amer­ica. Their busi­nesses are hav­ing a hard time com­pet­ing with Amer­i­can com­pa­nies pow­ered with low-priced coal and nat­u­ral gas. They want the United States to suf­fer be­cause they’re suf­fer­ing. Mis­ery loves com­pany.

The first vic­tims would be Amer­i­can work­ers. A Her­itage Foun­da­tion eco­nomic anal­y­sis finds that the Paris Ac­cord would cost the av­er­age Amer­i­can fam­ily of four $30,000 in cu­mu­la­tive higher elec­tric­ity prices over the next decade. Some 400,000 well-paid truck­ing, oil, gas, man­u­fac­tur­ing and con­struc­tion jobs would be lost. The price to the Amer­i­can econ­omy would be $2.5 tril­lion — the big­gest global tax ever im­posed on Amer­ica.

There’s an ab­surd green en­ergy slush fund, es­sen­tially money to en­rich the en­vi­ron­men­tal bu­reau­crats. The treaty seeks $100 bil­lion in pay­ments from rich na­tions to poor na­tions over the next decade, and any­one can see whose tax­pay­ers are counted on to con­trib­ute the money for that.

Pres­i­dent Trump said dur­ing the cam­paign last year that the rest of the world is laugh­ing be­hind Amer­ica’s back, and never would that be more ev­i­dent than if the United States be­comes a party to the ru­inous Paris ac­cord. This is a shake­down of the Amer­i­can tax­payer for a treaty that will do noth­ing to save or clean up the planet.

This might be worth the cost, as enor­mous as it would be, if there were a gen­uine en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fit. Alas, there is none. China and In­dia — by far the two largest pol­luters — have an­nounced they will build hun­dreds of new coal-fired plants to power eco­nomic ex­pan­sion. They’re not about to let cli­mate change con­cerns stall their eco­nomic en­gines. China first, In­dia first, and no apol­ogy. But Amer­ica is ex­pected to sign a treaty that would de­cree that for ev­ery coal plant closed in Ohio or shut­tered in West Vir­ginia, China and In­dia would build 10 new plants.

China and In­dia are not alone in flout­ing com­mit­ments. The Euro­peans al­most never honor their treaty pledges. Last week Pres­i­dent Trump tartly ob­served that at the very time the G-7 lead­ers were lin­ing up to hec­tor and lec­ture the United States, these same na­tions had failed to honor their com­mit­ments to NATO to spend 2 per­cent of their GDP on na­tional de­fense. They’re col­lec­tively at least $150 bil­lion short on pay­ing their dues ev­ery year.

Europe pledged as part of the com­mit­ment to the Euro­pean Union to bring their deficits be­low 3 per­cent of GDP, and most of these na­tions have been con­sis­tently short of the tar­get. Even on cli­mate change, the Euro­peans and Asians aren’t close to re­deem­ing the prom­ises they made un­der the Kyoto treaty. The United States have re­duced green­house gas emis­sions more over the last seven years than the Euro­peans have, and the United States never signed the pre­de­ces­sor of the Paris ac­cord. But the Euro­peans have con­trib­uted more empty pi­ous rhetoric than any­one else.

Mr. Trump would be right to walk away from a treaty in­tended to put Amer­ica last. The pres­i­dent should put the Paris treaty aside and get on with cre­at­ing jobs for Amer­i­cans. That’s why the Amer­i­cans elected him.

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