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OPINION

President Trump Tried to Save the Planet. President Biden Is Ruining It

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/John Raoux, File

Five years ago, I argued that President Trump saved the planet when he scrapped the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Trump administration abandoned the promise of heavy-handed government edicts in favor of empowering individuals to make their own choices. It was the right call: Individual action—adopted on a broad scale—has clearly been shown as the best strategy in tackling climate change and other issues.

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One year later, I defended the Trump administration again, praising Republicans because individual empowerment—sans federal government interference—was demonstrably working. By 2018, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions were at their lowest point since 1992. Per-capita carbon emissions were at their lowest level since 1950—outpacing our European allies.

Fast forward to 2022, and newsflash: President Trump was proven absolutely right to favor individual action over government coercion. He is still right about climate change. Under the Trump administration, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions plummeted, so much so that even the liberal media took notice. In 2020, the United States generated under six billion metric tons of emissions—down nearly 10 percent from 2019 and on par with the early 1980s. Pollution receded, leaving America as only the world’s 10th largest per-capita polluter—not ideal, but a substantial improvement and still better than the likes of Australia and Canada.

While rolling back more than 100 environmental rules, President Trump successfully advanced the cause of environmental protection—by allowing Americans to recycle, reduce, and reuse as we see fit, and propelling market demand to drive economic change. He gave even the Left’s most ardent climate-change activists much to celebrate.

It begs the question: What do federal climate regulations even accomplish, other than undermining economic activity and killing jobs? Pollution plummeted because individuals—the market—demanded it. Government regulation is simply a mechanism for guilty liberals to do nothing themselves while making the rest of us comply. It also sets an artificial floor into which the economy declines, rather than allowing competitive pressures to push a green-focused economy upward.

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It also begs the question: How does President Biden, a self-proclaimed supporter of “environmental justice,” stack up with his predecessor?

Well, not so well. In 2021, America’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by more than six percent, compared with 2020. Not only that, but the U.S. economy saw a nearly 20 percent increase in coal generation—the first annual increase since 2014. Ironically enough, the 2021 spike means the United States is no longer on track to meet its commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement to cut 2005 emission levels by 50 to 52 percent within the next eight years.

How quickly times change, as even the liberal media has noted. The New York Times editorial board, which has yet to find a Democrat they couldn’t endorse (not even Andrew Cuomo), has come out criticizing the Biden administration. To quote the Times: “Biden ‘Over-Promised and Under-Delivered’ on Climate. Now, Trouble Looms in 2022.”

President Biden’s failure on climate change is the end result of every progressive pipe dream. From limousine liberals like U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry exorcising their guilt while zipping around in private jets to Pelosi Democrats ignoring mask mandates that punish our children, the stench of hypocrisy obscures the stated goal of progressive policies. Americans need to stop relying on big-government Democrats to solve our problems, and continue to solve them on our own.

Freedom is progress; Big Government is the anchor. Democrats seemingly fail at everything except taking Americans’ tax dollars and diverting them to their own coalition of liberal donors, union bosses, and race-hustlers.

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Politicians lie, but numbers don’t. President Trump, individual freedom, and the free market worked to save the planet. President Biden, on the other hand, only works for the Big Green spending machine.

Dan Backer is a veteran campaign counsel, having served more than 100 candidates and PACs, and overseeing more than $250 million in political activity. He serves as Of Counsel at Chalmers & Adams LLC, a political law and litigation firm.

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