During the presidential campaign Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China WSJ publishes letter from Trump continuing to allege voter fraud in PA Oath Keeper who was at Capitol on Jan. 6 runs for New Jersey State Assembly MORE was crystal clear about his intentions regarding the Paris climate change accord.
“We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs,” he promised.
It was one of his most popular promises. I was there at many Trump campaign rallies when he would make this declaration, and it was always met with thunderous applause. These were voters in states like West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio whose jobs were in jeopardy from the Paris climate agreement.
These same voters were contemptuous of a deal that would require their tax dollars — tens of billions of federal dollars — to be doled out to an international global warming bureaucracy. Many, many elites will get rich off this deal — and not many of them are in West Virginia.
So kudos to Trump for keeping his word to the voters who elected him. The climate change agenda got trounced in the 2016 elections because American put jobs and growth ahead of the radical climate change agenda.
My colleagues at The Heritage Foundation estimated that the requirement that the U.S. reduce its carbon emissions by almost 30 percent over the next decade would cost 400,000 manufacturing, construction, oil and gas and coal mining jobs and force the typical family of four to pay $30,000 more in electric utility bills over the next decade. So much for helping working class Americans. Paris is nothing more than a very regressive tax on the poor and middle class.
Even that cost might be worth paying if there were any chance the treaty would work. But we already know China and India — the two largest polluters — are doubling down on coal. They are building scores of new coal plants as we close ours down. How is that good for the environment?
Meanwhile, Europe too is turning away from the very green energy policies they now want to foist upon America. And why would anyone believe the Europeans will honor any treaty. It was just last week that Trump had to call them out for not paying their NATO dues to the tune of more than $150 billion a year. Nor have they honored their EU pledges to cut their budget deficits to below 3 percent of GDP. They all signed the Kyoto Treaty and none of them honored that either.
The one industrial nation in the world that has reduced its carbon emissions the most is the U.S. So the idea that we aren’t stepping up to the plate on good environmental policies is bunk. Our carbon emissions are falling because of the shale gas revolution and because of cleaner coal technology.
The timing of this treaty could not be worse because the United States is on the verge of becoming the world's energy powerhouse. We have 500 years worth of coal and at least 200 years worth of shale gas and oil thanks to fracking and other amazing drilling breakthroughs. For the U.S. to give up fossil fuels would be like asking Nebraska to stop growing corn. This doesn’t put America first — it puts our country last.
The left pretends that America can transition to a wondrous “renewable energy” future with no cost to the economy, but we ought to learn from the green energy debacles in Europe. Germany has already gone all in for green energy, and today its citizens and industries pay energy costs that are almost triple U.S. prices. Germany, Sweden, Spain, and now Australia are retreating from their green energy commitments because they have done so much damage to their local economies. The Paris accord would march America off the same green energy economic cliff. No thanks.
By far the best energy policy for America is to get the government out of the way — end all subsidies — and let the market determine what power sources make the most sense. If wind and solar are really the energy sources of the future — as the left has been proclaiming for some 50 years now — let’s see green energy flourish without government welfare programs to boost them up.
It is hard to point to much of anything that government does right anymore — look at the abysmal quality of our government schools and the collapse of ObamaCare, which was supposed to “save” families $2,500. It is the height of arrogance and wishful thinking to actually believe that statist policies can change the earth's temperature, prevent hurricanes, or stop the rise of the oceans.
Why don’t politicians start with the easy things first, like balancing their budgets?
So Trump was right to put America first and reject the idea that climate change will be solved by government bureaucrats at the United Nations or by sanctimonious but shallow promises by politicians. The right answer is technology, innovation and economic progress.
Stephen Moore is the distinguished visiting fellow for the Project for Economic Growth at The Heritage Foundation and a senior economic analyst with CNN. He served as an economic advisor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.