Environmental Stewardship

The Paris Climate Agreement is a Bad Deal for America

Last year, candidate Trump campaigned clearly and forcefully in opposition to the Paris Agreement. Trump called the agreement “bad for business” and repeatedly pledged to cancel the agreement and stop all payments of US tax dollars to UN global warming programs. And he was right to do so. The Paris Agreement is little more than an effort by the previous president to lend some international legitimacy to his destructive regulatory campaign against affordable domestic energy. As has been seen in any number of U.S. industries, regulation and rule making stifle progress and innovation—much more so when the regulations become part of an international treaty regime.

ALEC has long opposed the government picking winners and losers pointing to the fact that while energy consumption has continued to grow, air quality has also improved. Binding, multilateral treaties that restrict the free market and stifle American innovation harm not only today’s energy generators, but also those of the future.

President Trump has already made a good start at rolling back President Obama’s damaging regulations. However, it appears the President’s advisors are divided on what course of action to recommend on the Paris Agreement, with some voices arguing for the US to remain a party to the agreement.

In September 2016, when President Obama signed the Paris Agreement without the input of Congress, he explicitly intended it to be an end run around the Constitution. In 2015, at the conference which produced the Paris Agreement, Obama’s negotiators sought to phrase the agreement in such a way to avoid the constitutional requirement that treaties be ratified by the Senate. Thus, Obama sought to bind future Congresses based on nothing more than his own whim.

Leaving this lawless “agreement” in place would be an outrage, and it undermines American democracy. The President of the United States cannot, and should not, be able to unilaterally bind the American government to commitments made to a global cabal.

Candidate Trump promised his voters he would put America first. The Paris Agreement is the exact opposite of that commitment, placing the priorities of global climate activists above the needs of American citizens. The agreement is a bad deal, requiring expensive and destructive economic commitments from the United States, while our global economic competitors like China are left free to continue growing.

In Depth: Environmental Stewardship

Listen to any news broadcast, read any press release from an environmental advocacy group or simply watch the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) propose new regulation after new regulation, and it would be nearly impossible to not come away concerned or even fearful of imminent environmental disaster. It should come…

+ Environmental Stewardship In Depth