Experts Analyze US Decision to Withdraw From Paris Climate Accord

November 12, 2019 Updated: November 12, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a statement on Nov. 4, that the United States will be withdrawing from the Paris climate accord. President Trump first announced his intention to withdraw from the climate proposal back in 2017.

The decision has garnered both support and criticism from various people and organizations. The Epoch Times reached out to The Heartland Institute, a national free-market think tank, to take an in-depth look at the situation.

Anthony Watts, senior research fellow of environment and climate at The Heartland Institute, explained that the Paris climate accord is ineffective in achieving the goal of reducing climate change.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that the world will continue to warm over the years. Similar to previous agreements, although initiatives such as the Paris climate accord are “a step in the right direction,” the overall impact is still insufficient.

Referring to the research Watts said that “the net end result in 2100 would be about a two-tenths of a degree centigrade drop in temperatures. And so that’s compared to a gain in three-and-a-half degrees if you believe the climate model.”

While some policy is better than nothing, a cost-benefit analysis indicates that the United States would be placed at a competitive disadvantage compared to other countries if it followed through with the Paris climate accord.

Watts explained that even if the Paris climate accord worked, the end result would have been at the expense of large amounts of money, economic development, and jobs.

The agreement would negatively impact the United States economy in the long run.

“According to analysis that we’ve done here at The Heartland Institute and others, it [Paris Climate Accord] would have cost us about 2.7 million jobs by 2025 due to scaling back parts of industries. Now that would have been about 440,000 manufacturing jobs that we would have lost associated with that [Paris climate accord],” said Watts.

He continued that by 2030, the United States would see a 38 percent decrease in iron and steel production, a 31 percent decrease in natural gas production, and an 86 percent decrease in coal production. The United States would see a loss of 3 trillion dollars’ worth of gross domestic product (GDP) and 6.5 million jobs lost by 2040 in the industrial sector.

Regarding carbon dioxide, Watts explained that existing data indicates that carbon dioxide emissions in the United States and the European Union have been generally constant or decreasing between 1970 and 2018. This is partly due to switching to natural gas and renewable energy.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) echoed this, saying that “our reduction in emissions was largely from new and innovative technologies from the private sector—not international agreements or punishing regulations.”

Nonbinding Agreement

The main criticism regarding the Paris climate accord is the nonbinding aspect. Despite signing the agreement, countries do not face any repercussions if they do not follow through with taking steps to protect the climate and environment.

According to Article 6 of the agreement, “Parties recognize that some parties choose to pursue voluntary cooperation in the implementation of their nationally determined contributions to allow for higher ambition in their mitigation and adaptation actions and to promote sustainable development and environmental integrity.”

Essentially, the agreement is a set of guidelines that countries have signed, expressing their interest in developing programs aimed at protecting the environment and climate.

Watts described how countries such as China, despite signing the agreement, have not taken concrete steps to reduce the country’s pollution and carbon dioxide output.

He noted that China continues to build coal plants among other facilities that greatly contribute to the country’s rise in carbon dioxide emissions. India sees a similar increase in emissions.

“The bottom line here is that even if the United States continued with the Paris agreement, the impacts we would be getting from the increases from China and India would totally overshadow the gains that the United States may have made in carbon dioxide reductions related to the Paris accord,” explained Watts.

The decision to withdraw from the agreement has been supported by Republican lawmakers, many of whom cosponsored H.Res.676. The resolution encourages the withdrawal from the Paris agreement.

“The Paris agreement penalized the United States economy and its citizens for the sole purpose of chasing an unobtainable goal, which even if met, would result in only a small reduction in global temperature. President Trump was correct to extract us from this boondoggle,” Watts said.

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