Surprising no one, President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the U. S. from the Paris climate agreement last week, highlighting the depth of his commitment to keep ‘America First.’ Also surprising no one, the media is making much of the fact that the U. S. now joins only Nicaragua and Syria in refusing to participate in the accord.
Trump was under intense pressure from business leaders, politicians on both sides of the aisle, environmental activists, members of his Cabinet – even his own daughter Ivanka, reportedly – to stay in the agreement, but he made his decision with the American worker in mind. The Paris accord, Trump said, ‘is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States,’ leaving American workers and taxpayers ‘to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories and vastly demised economic production.’
This is the assessment of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who went on Fox Newsto defend the decision. ‘Any time that people are taking money out of your pocket and you make them put it back in, they’re not going to be happy,’ Ross said, making a similar argument to the one that prompted the Brexit referendum last year.
Just as many Brits were tired of following rules passed down from unelected officials in Brussels, many Americans have feared the encroachment of global environmentalists’ socialist agenda, which they believe threatens to usurp their freedom.
A thought-provoking article from FiveThirtyEight outlines how climate science became a partisan issue over the last 30 years in the U. S. It was the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the article argues, that brought on a significant partisan shift in attitude, with conservative thinkers beginning to see the regulations that went along with environmentalism as the new scourge.
No, the Sky Isn’t Falling
Despite the withdrawal, I believe that the U. S. will not stop innovating and being a world leader in renewable energy – even while oil and natural gas production continues to surge. As the president himself said, we will still ‘be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth.’
Recently I shared with you that we’re seeing record renewable capacity growth here in the U. S., with solar ranking as the number one source of net new electric generating capacity in 2016. In the first quarter of 2017, wind capacity grew at an impressive 385 percent over the same period last year. The ‘clean electricity’ sector now employs more people in the U. S. than fossil fuel electricity generation, according to the 2017 Energy and Employment Report.
This post was published at GoldSeek on 6 June 2017.