President Trump swept into office on a tide of campaign promises that were aimed at ushering America into an era of renewed prosperity, leadership, and strength. Since taking office, he has kept the faith of American voters and honored those promises through his actions.
On behalf of the millions of African Americans who have a stake in the businesses represented by the National Black Chamber of Commerce, I pray that he keeps yet another critical promise to the American people: withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Our nation’s families and businesses depend on affordable, reliable energy every single day. It is the lifeblood of our economy, it is fundamental to our modern society, and it is essential to our future strength, security, and growth. Our continued participation in the Paris Agreement, however, threatens to undermine that very foundation of our strength.
Remaining in the Paris Agreement will keep us party to a deal that was skewed against America and her allies from the start. Regardless of whether the United States’ Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) remains at the current 26 to 28 percent emissions reduction target, the agreement itself unfairly demands stringent measures from the U.S. and other developed nations — measures that experts estimate will cost trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs — while allowing nations like China and India to continue increasing their emissions and moving their economies forward.
The U.S. will always have a seat at the table with the United Nations and, given our membership in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, with entities such as the Green Climate Fund. What we cannot afford, however, is to willingly sacrifice our place as global economic leader to appease international bureaucrats who would seek to dictate what kinds of energy we use in America and how, when, and why we use them.
We applaud the president for taking important steps during the first 100 days of his presidency to begin dismantling many of the economically harmful energy regulations — couched as environmental policies, although they would provide minimal environmental benefits — put forward by the previous administration.
Our entry into the Paris Agreement, however, was predicated on exactly those policies. Keeping the United States a party to the agreement would thus only serve to legitimize those misguided mandates and regulations. Furthermore, doing so would provide credibility to a deal that seeks to better the economic fortunes of our international competitors at the expense of America’s strength and standing in the global marketplace. That’s something we can’t afford.
We should look forward to his proper decision on this very important issue in the coming weeks.
Harry C. Alford is president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.