If you missed it, President Trump officially announced our withdrawal from the non-binding Paris Agreement on climate change. It sent the liberal news media into meltdown mode. With reactions ranging from we’ve betrayed the species to we’re all going to die, the Left collectively lost it over an agreement that would have done little to reduce carbon emissions. Even Vox agreed that the goal of a two-degree (celsius) reduction by the end of the century was arbitrary, maybe even too low, while also saying that it asks richer nations to help the underdeveloped. On CNN, Fareed Zakaria, host of GPS, said that this was the “single most irresponsible act” of Trump’s presidency, and that our withdrawal signals the U.S’s resignation as leader of the free world. CNN was also frothing at the mouth over this development that everyone knew was probably going to happen if Trump won the 2016 election.
The Wall Street Journal aptly noted that a more vibrant and prosperous society is more important:
China and the other developing nations account for 63% of annual global CO 2 emissions, and their share is rising. They submitted INDCs that pledged to peak the carbon status quo “around” 2030, and maybe later, or never, since Paris included no enforcement mechanisms to prevent cheating.
Meanwhile, the developed OECD nations—responsible for 55% of world CO 2 as recently as 2000—made unrealistic assurances that even they knew they could not achieve. As central-planning prone as the Obama Administration was, it never identified a tax-and-regulation program that came close to meeting its own emissions pledge of 26% to 28% reductions from 2005 levels by 2025.
Paris is thus an exercise in moral and social signaling that is likely to exert little if any influence on atmospheric CO 2 , much less on global temperatures. The Paris target was to limit the surface temperature increase to “well below” two degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial level by 2100. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Joint Program conclude that even if every INDC is fulfilled to the letter, the temperature increase will be in the range of 1.9–2.6 degrees Celsius by 2050, and 3.1–5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100.
Such forecasts are highly uncertain, which is inherent when scientists attempt to predict the future behavior of a system as complex as global climate. The best form of climate-change insurance is a large and growing economy so that future generations can afford to adapt to whatever they may confront.
A more prosperous society a century or more from now is a more important goal than asking the world to accept a lower standard of living today in exchange for symbolic benefits. Poorer nations in a world where 1.35 billion live without electricity will never accept such a trade in any case, while Mr. Trump is right to decline to lock in U.S. promises that make U.S. industries less competitive.
It’s the end of U.S. leadership because we won’t sign on to a worthless, non-binding agreement that seeks to tackle so-called global warming? Please. It’s not the end of U.S. leadership. Not by a long shot. Sorry if we’re just a bit skeptical about this phenomenon when the arctic ice cap was supposed to vanish by 2013. It actually grew by 533,000 square miles. Also, our air quality couldn’t be better, and the latest jobs report also included an uptick in the mining sector.