U.S. doesn’t need deal to lead on green tech­nol­ogy.

Amer­ica doesn’t need the Paris agree­ment to be the leader in green tech­nol­ogy

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Jack Ein­wechter Jack Ein­wechter is a re­tired U.S. Army judge ad­vo­cate, lieu­tenant colonel, prose­cu­tor and in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer. He cur­rently prac­tices law in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

Since its an­nounce­ment last Thurs­day, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has en­dured a firestorm of crit­i­cism, tidal waves of de­nun­ci­a­tion and, well, be­head­ings-in-ef­figy for its de­ci­sion to exit the Paris Cli­mate Ac­cord. Fear and dread grip the com­men­ta­tors, as they strug­gle to pro­nounce ever more apoc­a­lyp­tic pre­dic­tions. CNN’s David Ger­gen went so far as to call the U.S. with­drawal “one of the most shame­ful acts in our his­tory.”

On the po­lit­i­cal Richter scale, it has been a 9.5 cat­a­clysm, with fol­low-on redink tsunamis and vol­canic editorial erup­tions.

Former Pres­i­dent Obama said the United States now “joins a small hand­ful of na­tions that re­ject the fu­ture.” Oh my. Ac­cord­ing to our past pres­i­dent, there is no fu­ture be­yond last Thurs­day. Yet here we are. Like­wise, Euro­pean Union lead­ers pre-emp­tively de­clared an end to all fu­ture cli­mate ne­go­ti­a­tions with the U.S. So who is re­ject­ing the fu­ture?

Now that the churl­ish vent­ing has sub­sided, let’s ex­am­ine some of the key lessons. First, easy come, easy go. This episode shows ex­actly why treaties should be rat­i­fied by the U.S. Se­nate.

Mr. Obama knew the ac­cord could not be ap­proved by the Amer­i­can demo­cratic process. The elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Amer­i­can peo­ple would never have rat­i­fied this treaty. So, as he so of­ten did, he did an end-run around the con­sti­tu­tional rat­i­fi­ca­tion process of Ar­ti­cle I, Sec­tion 2 to en­ter the Paris ac­cord by the back door.

Pres­i­dent Trump is de­nounced for with­draw­ing, but the United States never ac­tu­ally en­tered the Paris Cli­mate ac­cord in the first place — at least not in a con­sti­tu­tional sense. Mr. Obama knew the Se­nate would never ap­prove the deal as a treaty, so our law pro­fes­sor-in-chief sim­ply called it an “ex­ec­u­tive agree­ment” (“Treaty? What treaty?”) and never sub­mit­ted it for rat­i­fi­ca­tion.

Mr. Obama en­tered the Paris ac­cord; Mr. Trump ex­ited the ac­cord; and the elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the peo­ple were cut out of the game. Just like Oba­macare, which failed to garner a sin­gle Repub­li­can vote, pres­i­dents should learn to do it the right way the first time around.

Un­der Ar­ti­cle VI, a duly rat­i­fied treaty is the “supreme law of the land,” in­stead of the ephemeral druthers of a pres­i­dent. When the Con­sti­tu­tion is re­spected, suc­ces­sor pres­i­dents can’t sim­ply pen­cil-whip a re­peal of poli­cies that should be more en­dur­ing.

Sec­ond, while a herd of irate com­men­ta­tors fol­low the nar­ra­tive that Mr. Trump is op­posed to in­ter­na­tional cli­mate agree­ments, the pres­i­dent ex­plic­itly re­jected that ca­nard in his Rose Gar­den an­nounce­ment. Did any­one lis­ten be­fore declar­ing an­other “Trumpoca­lypse”? In fact, the pres­i­dent de­clared his de­ter­mi­na­tion to seek a more bal­anced and re­al­is­tic agree­ment with at­tain­able car­bon-diox­ide re­duc­tion tar­gets, de­spite the pout­ing across the At­lantic.

If Mr. Trump had led the Paris ne­go­ti­a­tions, there could have been a more en­dur­ing deal, which the Se­nate might have rat­i­fied and the world could have ap­plauded. But Mr. Obama took the con­sti­tu­tional short­cut and left his suc­ces­sor to reckon with the con­se­quences of a po­lit­i­cally un­sta­ble deal.

Third, de­spite the ex­treme rhetoric on the left, the United States has not aban­doned its role as world leader in any sense. The U.S. leads the world in green en­ergy in­no­va­tion, and with­draw­ing from the ac­cord will not change that. The pres­i­dent knows that the Amer­i­can green in­dus­try is boom­ing pre­cisely be­cause there are pow­er­ful eco­nomic in­cen­tives — not be­cause of Mr. Obama’s green­house gas lectures and uni­lat­eral deal­mak­ing.

While CNN loads its schedule with ex­pert crit­ics of Mr. Trump’s “Ac­cordexit” and the Chi­nese lec­ture us on en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship, the United States re­mains the world’s lab­o­ra­tory on cli­mate re­search, its in­cu­ba­tor of new tech­nol­ogy and its largest donor of for­eign as­sis­tance to re­duce pol­lu­tion and ame­lio­rate the ef­fects of cli­mate change. The pres­i­dent knows that U.S. lead­er­ship will con­tinue, with or with­out Mr. Obama’s un­rat­i­fied deal. We were lead­ers in green tech­nol­ogy long be­fore Barack Obama went to Paris, and we will re­main so through­out the 21st cen­tury.

If Mr. Trump had led the Paris ne­go­ti­a­tions, there could have been a more en­dur­ing deal, which the Se­nate might have rat­i­fied and the world could have ap­plauded.


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