Paris Agreement: Carbon Tax Elders Offer More Bad Advice

Guest essay by Marlo Lewis Jr. of the Competitive Enterprise Institute

They’re back! The same GOP elders who have been pushing what American Enterprise Institute economist Ben Zycher charitably calls “The Deeply Flawed Case for a Carbon Tax” are now urging President Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement.

Yesterday in the New York Times, former Reagan Secretary of State George P. Shultz and his Climate Leadership Council colleague Ted Halstead, who heads the organization, argue that staying in the pact will “spur new investment, strengthen American competitiveness, create jobs, ensure American access to global markets and help reduce future business risks associated with the changing climate” whereas exiting will “yield the opposite.”

Shultz and Halstead ignore the chief perils of remaining in the Paris Agreement:

  1. The Agreement is the legal framework for a permanent global campaign of political pressure and diplomatic blowback to “name and shame” leaders, like Trump, who dare to champion the American people’s freedom to develop the country’s vast energy resources.
  2. Remaining in the Agreement ensures that U.S. leaders will continually have to negotiate domestic energy policy with foreign governments, multilateral bureaucrats, and anti-growth advocacy groups—elites who do not put America’s interests first.
  3. If Trump is free to treat President Obama’s emission-reduction pledge—the U.S. “nationally determined contribution” (NDC)—as a retractable wish list rather than the official commitment it plainly is, the next progressive president will similarly be free to rescind Trump’s NDC and pick up where Obama left off. No revision of the U.S. NDC can secure the future of U.S. energy producers as well as exiting a pact designed to bankrupt them.
  4. Failing to repudiate a treaty adopted unilaterally, with the stroke of a presidential pen, without benefit of the Senate’s advice and consent, will set a dangerous precedent undermining one of the Constitution’s important checks and balances.

Shultz and Halstead write that, “Our companies are best served by a stable and predictable international framework that commits all nations to climate-change mitigation.” No so. Our companies are best served by an international framework that allows them to capitalize on comparative advantages. One of U.S. industry’s key advantages, so vital to the manufacturing renaissance on which Trump campaigned, is an abundance of affordable energy.

As Stephen Eule of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy explains:

It is well understood that America’s abundance of affordable, reliable energy provides businesses a critical operating advantage in today’s intensely competitive global economy. IEA [International Energy Agency] data show a huge comparative energy advantage in natural gas, electricity, and coal prices for U.S. industry compared to its OECD competitors, with prices for these energy sources in the United States often two to four times less.

European Union environment minister Margot Wallström once said that the “Kyoto [Protocol] is about the economy, about leveling the playing field for big business around the world.” That goes in spades for the Paris Agreement. The only way to impose  high European energy prices on U.S. firms is to pressure U.S. leaders to adopt European energy policies.

Humorless scolds never consider that candidate Trump might have been twisting their tails when he tweeted that “The concept of global warming was invented by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Eule notes that the marginal cost of carbon dioxide emission reductions under China’s mostly business-as-usual NDC is $0 per ton whereas the marginal cost under the U.S. NDC is $85 per ton. What I find in Trump’s funny tweet is a serious point: Global warming is the rationale for the Paris Agreement, which would handicap U.S. manufacturers much more than it would China’s.

Shultz and Halsteed warn there will be “repercussions” and damage to America’s “reputation and credibility” if “America fails to honor a global agreement that it helped forge.” However, the exact same can be said if America fails to implement the NDC on the basis of which the Obama administration negotiated the Agreement, and which he subsequently submitted as the official U.S. commitment. The Paris Agreement expressly provides two options for withdrawing, but provides no option to “adjust” an NDC to make it less stringent. By what logic is the former less kosher than the latter?

Shultz and Hallstead would have us believe that Article 4.11, which states that a party “may” adjust its NDC “with a view to enhancing the level of ambition” also implies the party may adjust the NDC to do just the reverse. Huh?

That theory can’t be right, because it conflicts with the plain meaning of words like promise, pledge, and commitment. Try applying it to more mundane circumstances. Dad promises to pick up the kids after school. He fails to do so and they wait for hours in the freezing rain. Mom demands to know why he broke his promise. Dad retorts: “I did not break my promise, because I am now retracting it!”

Shultz and Halstead note that “Global statecraft relies on trust, reputation and credibility, which can be all too easily squandered.” No quarrel there. But that’s actually a reason to withdraw. President Obama had no business putting the trust, reputation, and credibility of the United States on the line without first vetting the Paris Agreement with the U.S. Senate. Submitting the Agreement to the Senate for its review would have spared everyone the present controversy, because the pact had no chance of being approved.

Article II, Section 2, clause 2 of the Constitution states:

He [the President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur. . . .

The advice and consent process is a quality control filter. Especially as combined with the supermajority ratification requirement, Senate review ensures that no treaty will be adopted without broad-based political support. That discourages the executive from promising others more than the political composition of the country and statutory authorities actually allow him, or his successors, to deliver. The treaty process minimizes the risk that national interest concerns will impel one executive to upend international commitments made by his predecessor.

Shultz and Hallstead should be encouraging Trump to repudiate the dangerous precedent Obama set, not validate it. After all, how much confidence can other countries put in U.S. leaders if the latter cannot be trusted to follow their own Constitution’s rules of international engagement?

Shultz and Hallstead claim “the only risk Mr. Trump faces from altering or weakening domestic climate policy under Paris is in the court of public opinion, not in federal courts.” The court of public opinion, however, is what ultimately determines the direction of public policy. As long as we stay in, the Agreement will give “progressives” at home and abroad a high-profile global platform for lobbying U.S. policymakers and influencing public opinion.

It is naïve to suppose that legitimizing such an arrangement could not severely narrow the energy policy choices available to future administrations, Congresses, and voters. It is also naïve to assume the U.S. government can remain in a pact built on the narrative that governments must take urgent action to avert planetary disaster without inviting courts to step in when policymakers fail to deliver.

Shultz and Hallstead warn that “pulling out of the agreement could subject the United States to retaliatory trade measures, enabling other countries to leapfrog American industry.” But they just told us the only penalty for tearing up Obama’s NDC is bad PR. If pulling out exposes us to retaliatory carbon tariffs, why wouldn’t replacing Obama’s emission reduction pledge with a drill-baby-drill-style enthusiasm for new oil and gas exploration?

None of Shultz and Hallstead’s arguments for staying in make much sense. Until we get to the penultimate paragraph. Then we learn what they’re really after—a carbon tax:

If the president wants to strengthen America’s competitive position, he should combine a price on carbon with border tariffs or rebates based on carbon content. United States exports to countries without comparable carbon pricing systems would receive rebates, while imports from such countries would face tariffs on the carbon content of their products.

Far from viewing the Paris Agreement as a voluntary pact with no penalties for non-compliance, Shultz and Hallstead actually expect the Agreement to be enforced through a global regime of “border tariffs or rebates based on carbon content.” They want the United States to lead the world into a new era of retaliatory trade measures. History, however, suggests protectionism is harmful to world peace and prosperity. Also, how do they know U.S. firms would always or usually prevail in trade disputes, rewarded with rebates rather than penalized with tariffs?

Zycher points out how difficult it would be for the border tariff/rebate assessors to equilibrate carbon taxes with “regulations, or subsidies for such alternative energy sources as wind and solar power, or other policies that are purported to reduce [greenhouse gas] emissions.” Even more difficult is factoring in “the international supply chain phenomenon: Goods imported from a given nation are likely to embody components and other inputs from other nations—perhaps many other nations—in vastly differing proportions, and those nations’ policies on GHG emissions almost certainly will vary considerably.”

Sorting it all out—especially in anything approaching real time—would likely require “a new bureaucracy, or perhaps an expanded one at the Internal Revenue Service,” making highly technical decisions with “important implications” for  profits, shareholder value, and market share. Hardly a plan to make America great again.

Trump should be wary of taking advice about the Paris Agreement from carbon tax advocates, because their political judgment is terrible. The battle for hearts and minds in American politics is to no small extent a contest between a party that is pro-tax and anti-energy and a party that is anti-tax and pro-energy. That clear product differentiation is a political asset of enormous value to the GOP. Indeed, that sharp contrast was an important factor enabling Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 elections and the GOP to retain majorities in the House and Senate.

So now a group of GOP elders argues that Trump, despite promising to cut taxes and remove political impediments to domestic energy production, should impose a new tax on energy. Similarly, they argue that Trump, despite promising to “cancel” America’s participation in the Paris Agreement, should stay in. And all so that America can finally get the carbon tax the elders think is a brilliant idea.

Had Trump campaigned for the Paris Agreement and a carbon tax in 2016, would he still have defeated Hillary Clinton? Indeed, had he campaigned as Shultz and Hallstead now urge him to govern, would he even have won the GOP nomination?

Those are questions Trump and his advisors should consider carefully if he does not want to become a mere blip on the road to a carbon-constrained future rather the president who changed the direction of U.S. energy policy and made America great again.

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128 thoughts on “Paris Agreement: Carbon Tax Elders Offer More Bad Advice

  1. How can staying in a pointless ‘agreement’ that punishes the US and achieves absolutely nothing of value be good for the US? Insane. Leave the damn stupid agreement and strike the first much-needed blow against global climate insanity. History will be kind to you, Mr Trump.

    • To strike that blow in true Trumpian fashion would be delightful indeed, but the truth is all we need to do is ignore the stupid thing (and stop writing checks to the UN) for it to be irrelevant anyway. Trump himself just needs to get up there on TV and say “Why should we bankrupt our country (with 5% of the world population) while China and India spew anything they like without restraint?” Then mention that even if Al Gore’s carbon-tax wet-dream came true, the “climate” MIGHT cool by 0.00002% in a hundred years. Take it to the people, we elected him to get us off this crazy train one way or the other.

    • Staying in the Paris agreement will bolster the self-images of Schultz and Hallstead. That’s the salient point here, IMO. It’s all about them feeling embarrassed about America withdrawing from a politically correct movement. Their country’s interests do not seem to be of much importance to them.

    • Well that sleazy loser Algore, got to President Trump, apparently at the White House.

      But when the people elect a bunch of staunch RINOS to the Congress, we are presented with a choice of Democrat or Democrat Lite.

      We have in fact the US Senate in disciplined control of the Democrat Party, and Mitch McConnell doesn’t have enough brains to rattle around in a thimble.

      Hey MM; the US citizen voters elected a majority of nominally Republican Senators to the US Senate. You only need a majority of one to operate functionally in a democratically run Republic.

      There is no Constitutional requirement to need 57 votes to prevail, or 97 either; it’s 51 to 49, is all you need.

      It’s time to fish or cut bait; or you will get nothing done in your remaining career as a US senator.

      G

      • “It’s time to fish or cut bait; or you will get nothing done in your remaining career as a US senator.”

        Not to mention that the remaining career is likely to be quite short without changes in thinking.

      • All tax legislation has to originate in the U.S.House which is elected every two years.

        How many will be left in the U.S.House if carbon taxes and/or cap-and-trade become an issue?

    • The White House doesn’t appear to have an easy-to-access email form, like it did under Obama.

      So call the White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111. Do it. Leave your message. Do it now.

  2. “Shultz and Halstead note that “Global statecraft relies on trust, reputation and credibility, which can be all too easily squandered.” No quarrel there. But that’s actually a reason to withdraw. President Obama had no business putting the trust, reputation, and credibility of the United States on the line without first vetting the Paris Agreement with the U.S. Senate.”

    And not only that but all the nations that were involved in this Obama deal were well aware that the U.S. Senate, and at least half the nation, was against it, and they know U.S. laws, so if they have unrealistic expectations about the agreement, that’s their fault.

    President Obama made promises he can’t keep. Everyone involved knows this.

    • Another great piece, Marlo. Beautifully argued. Rep. Kevin Cramer had a modest proposal: Let President Trump go the next Paris Agreement meeting, before, he makes his decision. After all, the Paris Agreement is still voluntary, right?

    • Spot on. The other governments all knew Obama’s climate diplomacy was an audacious roll of the legal and political dice. They all knew when negotiating the Agreement that more than half the states were suing to overturn the Clean Power Plan–the centerpiece of Obama’s emission-reduction pledge. They also knew when signing and ratifying the Agreement that the Supreme Court had stayed the Power Plan, confirming its legal weaknesses. In addition, they knew the GOP might win the White House and retain control of the Senate in the 2016 elections. Obama and his allies made a bet and lost. The question now is whether Trump will keep his campaign promise or let the Swamp persuade him to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

      • If he follows the swamp he will be a one term president. Already muffed the first immigration EO (second is ok but the damage was already done) and Comey. He handled Flynn properly, scored with Gorsuch, and got the Canadian softwood lumber thing moving in the right direction. Not seen any swamp draining yet. And he is far behind on staffing appointments, which handicaps his cabinet. So very mixed results to date.

      • I believe President Trump’s first EO regarding immigration could have granted citizenship to the rest of the entire world and the Democrats would still have rejected it out of pure hatred for this president.

        (The objection to the first EO was based on what Candidate Trump said during the election, not what was actually written in the order. That’s how low the Democrats will go to thwart any hope of a Constitutional government.)

      • One Democrat lawyer admitted in court that the exact same EO, had it been written by Hillary, would have been constitutional.

        Leftists have put feelings above the actual words of the constitution.
        There is nothing in the constitution regarding judging a law by the motivation of the writer. A law is, what the text of the law says. Nothing more, nothing less. The only time you delve into the thoughts of the author is when the text is ambiguous and can be interpreted more than one way.

      • Even when the text is a bit ambiguous, precedent used to be that if one interpretation was constitutional and one wasn’t, you took the interpretation that was constitutional.

  3. “Shultz and Halsteed warn there will be “repercussions” and damage to America’s “reputation and credibility” if “America fails to honor a global agreement that it helped forge.”

    “America” did not forge the agreement, Obama forged the agreement. There is a difference. Obama overstepped his authority, and was trying to impose a huge burden on the taxpayers of the U.S. without their permission. President Trump should correct this presidential overreach. Not doing so is what will cause damage, to the U.S. and to Trump’s political support.

    • Well the USA has NO reputation and credibility now that Barack Hussein Obama has completed his life’s ambition.

      G

    • Exactly. Obama did not obtain the Senate’s advice and consent, so his claim to have enrolled the United States in the most “ambitious” climate change agreement in history is illegitimate.

  4. “Shultz and Hallstead would have us believe that Article 4.11, which states that a party “may” adjust its NDC “with a view to enhancing the level of ambition” also implies the party may adjust the NDC to do just the reverse. Huh?

    That theory can’t be right, because it conflicts with the plain meaning of words like promise, pledge, and commitment.”

    “enhancing the level of ambition” sounds like it is calling for an increase to me.

  5. “Shultz and Halstead note that “Global statecraft relies on trust, reputation and credibility, which can be all too easily squandered.”

    Trump has more credibility in his little finger than Obama had in his whole body.

    Trump doesn’t need the Paris Agreement to be successful with other nations. We can see how well he has done already, and that won’t change because Trump is a realist, and doesn’t want to throw away U.S. taxpayer money in a futile effort to control Earth’s climate.

    If anything, pulling out of the Paris Agreement will enhance Trump’s credibility. He sees a bad deal, and he’s not going to pretend it’s not a bad deal just to satisfy a bunch of seriously deluded people, who btw, want lots of your money.

  6. Schultz and Halstead are part of the reason deplorables elected Trump. It wasn’t just crooked Hillary. It was disgust with RINOs and a desire to drain the swamp Schultz represents.

    • I don’t think Shultz had anything to do with that. However, James Baker, Shultz’s colleague in the Climate Leadership Council, was a senior member of the brain trust that advised Bush to break his no new taxes pledge.

      • that advised Bush to break his no new taxes pledge.
        ========
        that poisoned pill killed a second term for Bush. Expect the same will happen to Trump if he bites.

  7. George Shultz? What graveyard did they have to raid to dig him up? Among the various foul odors, I smell desperation.

  8. Of all the swamp critters lurking in The Swamp, it is the pretend Republican creatures which are the most dangerous.

    • We need to fix the pretend Republican problem by electing real Republicans to Senate in 2018.

      We need about eight more Republicans in the Senate to make up for the John McCains and the Susan Collins and the Ben Sasse, and a couple of other flaky Repubs I could name, like the idiot that thinks it is a good idea to appoint Merrick Garland as FBI director. See:

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/11/mike-lee-merrick-garland-for-fbi-head.html

      If we can’t get rid of the RINO’s, then we have to nullify their votes by putting more Republicans in the Senate.

      McCain may not run next time, and Susan Collins is probably going to run for governor of her State, but the rest of the flaky ones will still be around. They need to get the message that if they are not onboard the Trump Train, they may not be onboard anything come the next election.

  9. spur new investment: Overcoming a disadvantage one put one’s self in deliberately will require spending some money. This will be a transfer from one group to another. Does the transfer entail benefits in excess of opportunity costs?

    strengthen American competitiveness: By forcing one’s self to wear the burden of a heavy weight day in and out one will become stronger and more healthy.

    create jobs: If we create jobs in order to deliver the same energy as before we are in effect reducing productivity.

    ensure American access to global markets: Ah. The old “world will shun” us argument. The entire world, practically, wishes to come live here. Who, exactly, will shun us?

    reduce future business risks associated with the changing climate: Or make them worse. We don’t know. But by all means let us make all American products vampire-proof at the same time because lots of people believe in them also.

    whereas exiting will “yield the opposite.”: An ex cathedra statement with no supporting data and propelled by the reputation of Geo. P. Schultz.

    My guess is that the U.S. leaving the agreement will cause a rush for the exits.

  10. Shultz and Halstead, ugly sensless unmitigated hideous evil self-serving greed based on an elaborate stinking premise that will soon be a corpse.

    Why do they believe that they must own every last cent of poor peoples money?

    • steve,

      “Why do they believe that they must own every last cent of poor peoples money?”

      Power, I’m rather sure, and all that comes with it. It’s easier to control people who have no money. We are dominated by hyper-wealthy psychopaths, for the most part I believe, and they really and truly see us as we see domesticated animals.

      • It also helpsif those poor people don’t have any guns and are relegated to government “health care”–that way, everybody’s problems are as obvious as a birthday suit to those who wish to control them.

  11. “Shultz and Hallstead warn that “pulling out of the agreement could subject the United States to retaliatory trade measures, enabling other countries to leapfrog American industry.”

    I can’t help thinking that any retaliatory action taken against the U.S. would end up backfiring on them bigtime.

    I’ve heard some of the EU Paris Agreement signatories say they might try to enforce some kind of carbon tax on the U.S. if we pull out. They should probably rethink trying to start a trade war with the U.S.

  12. This is a true test of Trump’s mettle. I hate to say it, but so far, he appears to be failing that test.

    • Dunno. He is getting conflicting advice, even concerning legal ramifications if the media are reporting correctly (always a big IF). Waiting til after G7 to decide and act is IMO smart. He will be able to gauge the potential diplomatic consequences personally about the significance of Tillerson’s argument for remaining in.

      • “Waffling isn’t smart. It is political suicide.”

        There’s that.

        It’s not a good idea to make your supporters nervous over a core issue, even if you end up making the right decision. And if your supporters are nervous about you, then that will make their Congressional representatives nervous about you, and none of that is good for pushing your larger agenda forward.

    • Don’t count President Trump out yet–even he knows it would take congressional approval to enforce any climate agreement, and his actions so far don’t align with the Establishment.

  13. Name one deal that Obama negotiated that is good for the US. His motives are suspect with respect to putting the best interests of the country first.

  14. Higher renewable energy prices for a country awash in oil, natural gas, and hydroelectric. Are you telling me that something else makes more sense?

    • Quite so, the same applies to other resource-rich countries where the adoption of so-called ‘renewables’ is insane.
      This is the US energy consumption trend as of 2014:

      Can any person in their right mind seriously expect the yellow, orange and red to ever take over the rest before bankruptcy ruination and revolution?

      • This chart pretty much says it all. There is currently no replacement for fossil fuels and the tiny little bit of renewables (minus hydro) we do have isn’t even a drop in the barrel. Having said that, can you imagine what the discussion will be in 30-50 years from now when we are declining in very expensive harder to source oil resources? The market and technology will figure that out in coming decades, but we shouldn’t be killing our economies now for some ill perceived notion that CO2 is ruining the climate. That is a red herring designed to convince lawmakers in rich countries to pay penance to poor countries for imaginary sins. As they have said from the beginning of this charade by the likes of Maurice Strong et al.

      • I believe you’re looking at that chart all wrong:

        The evil people driving this effort want Wind, Solar and Geothermal to be the dominant energy sources, but not by increasing them drastically; no, that would be impossible. It would be by eliminating all the others (along with an abrupt, corresponding reduction in our population).

  15. If the Donald doesn’t dump Paris he is surely toast. The left will loathe his guts until the very end of Phanerozoic time even were he to forge world peace, cure cancer and give them all a gold bar. If he vacillates and folds in some ill-advised popularity gambit the right will leave him to play in the climate sand pit and look elsewhere for salvation. Don’t even think about it would be his best advice.

  16. Give Trump another year. Everyone is extrapolating too much too fast. The Paris Agreement will be gone this time next year.

    • Hell no. He doesn’t get another year to sit on this. It has already been too long. He needs to send a message now, that the Paris “Agreement” is dead. Kaput. We will not be a party to it. There is no logical reason to wait. It smacks of appeasement. And we know how that went down with WWII.

      • The legal issues of EPA and anti-business regulatory over reach domestically comes first.

      • No. That’s just another excuse. The Paris “Agreement” is the elephant in the room. Every second that he ignores it speaks volumes. And it is not complimentary to him.

      • Bruce, is the Paris agreement costing the US anything? If not, then it’s already a dead deal.

      • Paris has already imposed substantial opportunity costs by diverting billions of dollars from more productive, market-driven investments. The compliance period does not start until 2020 but the whole camel, not just the nose, is already inside our tent.

      • “He needs to send a message now, that the Paris “Agreement” is dead.”

        Along with that message, I would like to see Trump and his administration send the message that there is no evidence that humans are causing the Earth’s climate to change by burning fossil fuels.

        Yes, CO2 can theoretically heat up the atmosphere, but there is no evidence of any NET increase of heat in the Earth’s atmosphere that can be attributed to CO2. CO2’s effects may be negated, in part or in full, by negative feedbacks.

        There is no evidence that any net heat has been added to the Earth’s atmosphere from CO2, natural variation can account for it all, and there is no evidence that the Earth’s climate has been affected in any way by CO2. To assume CO2 causes warming is assuming too much, and the govenment shouldn’t imply it does without evidence, which they don’t have.

        Pulling out of the Paris Agreement would send such a message.

  17. A lot of countries will be extremely pleased if President Trump puts an end to the climate con-game though they may not say so officially . Remember who got you to the dance and the promises made .
    It is a hoax , a $Trillion dollar hoax that not only needs to needs to end but the con artists behind the swindle should be locked up . One more Obama legacy issue to clean up .

  18. I hear the European Union will soon have an open slot. I’m surprised these people pushing to adopt the Paris Agreement aren’t pushing to also join the EU. After all, it’s worked out so well for England.

  19. ““enhancing the level of ambition” sounds like it is calling for an increase to me.”

    Exactly, you’re only allowed to change your commitment if it’s to become even more draconian.

  20. Here’s what a carbon tax is going to do. It’s going to get the rich off the hook of paying taxes because there are so many more middle class people and the bulk of the funds going to the government from a CO2 tax will hence come from the middle class.

    I don’t know why people are so stupid when it comes to funding social programs. We (the middle class) got stuck paying for the great society programs that the rich wanted, we’re paying the bulk of obamacare taxes simply because there’s far more of us, and now we are going to send billions each year to the government that they (eventually will get around to ) will use to pay down the debt, pay for more social programs, etc.

    I’ve been a conservative my entire life and always will be unless a fantastic new political system comes along that is better than what’s left of what the founding fathers gave us. I’ve always been against taxing the rich until a few years ago when I realized that many rich people are and have been pushing for social programs but making the middle class pay for them. Time to screw the rich and make them pay. Many of them are lefties anyway.

    • The carbon tax is bad social and economic policy, and it is designed to bring down western economies. It targets the very bedrock of Western civilization, which is based on fossil fuels. Big Green now has its tentacles on western civilization, and is fixing to squeeze the very life out of it. Do we really need to go down the road of exactly who benefits? Take Al Gore. Please. Eyes on the prize. We already know why carbon taxes are bad. It doesn’t matter what scoundrels benefit from it.

  21. There is an interesting tactical aspect to this that I have not been able to sort fully out. Plainly there is a Paris opt out starting one year after the thing went into effect. That year has not yet passed. The exit is three years after notice. That puts it into Trump’s second term–a risk. Nothing about maybe revoking the opt out, which say Elizabeth Warren could try. Unlike Brexit, where notice is final in exactly 2 years.
    Now WSJ said leaving UNFCC automatically kills Paris because it is a subsidiary agreement. Opting out of UNFCCC is only 1 year from notice to effect. Easy action, since US cannot financially support UNFCCC in any way under US law because they recognized Palestine as a UNFCCC member state last year. IPCC AR6, you paying attention? But I unfortunately think WSJ is wrong about this tactic as Paris had a separate ratification process, and signatories not identical to UNFCCC (Palestine).
    So maybe the thing to do is opt out of UNFCCC now, Paris asap, and hope Trump gets re-elected.

    • A third Clexit option is for Trump to declare the Paris Agreement a treaty and send it to the Senate, where it does.

    • A third Clexit option is for Trump to declare the Paris Agreement a treaty and send it to the Senate, where it does.

      • I originally thought quitting the whole UNEP would be best. Timing, however, has become more important because of the “resist” movement, which is stronger than many believe. Now is the time to send it to the US Senate because it will fail. Make it a stand alone action. Then, if the Senate is lost at mid-term, there still is likely to be enough conservatives to obviate the 2/3 majority needed to bring it back. So it is DONE for at least 4 years, and maybe forever. This could be followed up by a prolonged exit from the whole stupid UN climate bureaucracy. This hopefully will buy at least 10 years for the science, and climate, to become a bit more settled. Peanuts from Canada – where our “must enhance Canada’s image” PM is all in on the charade.

      • ML, under settled constitutional dating to Thomas Jefferson, the Paris Accord is not a Treaty requiring Senate ratification by 2/3 majority, because it contains an opt out. Nor is it a Pact requiring simple majorities in both chambers, as under the EPA’s endangerment finding. O enabling legislation is required. It was crafted as an Executive Agreement. These are possible in three narrow areas: certain aspects of foreign policy (e.g. Recognizing nations and ambassadors), under authority as commander in chief, and the faithfully uphold the law clause. This latter is what applies here. The CAA needs to be amended and the endangerment finding reversed. The former will be difficult in the present Senate, the latter will be tied up in courts for years.

      • Ristvan, most treaties have withdrawal provisions, and international law establishes withdrawal procedures for those lacking specific withdrawal rules.

        From “Terminating Treaties,” an article by Duke University Law School professor Laurence R. Helfer:

        An old adage says that no one likes to talk about divorce before a wedding. Yet that is, in effect, precisely what States do when they negotiate new treaties. Buried in the back of most international agreements are provisions that describe procedures for the treaty parties to end their relationship. In addition, no fewer than thirteen articles of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) contain termination, denunciation, or withdrawal rules that apply when States do not negotiate treaty-specific rules on these topics. These ‘exit’ provisions share a distinctive attribute: they authorize one treaty member acting unilaterally or all treaty parties acting collectively to end their obligations under an international agreement. The act of exiting pursuant to these provisions is thus distinguishable from a termination or withdrawal in response to breach by another treaty party.

        The full article is available at http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5338&context=faculty_scholarship

  22. Unbelievable nonsense preached by a Green’s zealot. Here’s the Bolter’s summary and link.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/green-zealot-clive-hamilton-freedom-our-enemy/news-story/af7c75a446225b33755f640bf3c83995
    GREEN ZEALOT CLIVE HAMILTON: FREEDOM OUR ENEMY
    Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun
    May 11, 2017 11:06am

    “Abusive Clive Hamilton -former Greens candidate, Gaian and Climate Change Authority member -once suggested the “suspension of democratic processes” to push global warming schemes.

    Now Hamilton – who seems to me a proto-totalitarian – claims freedom is our enemy:

    …the forces we hoped would make the world a more civilised place – personal freedoms, democracy, material advance, technological power – are in truth paving the way to its destruction. The powers we most trusted have betrayed us; that which we believed would save us now threatens to devour us.

    Hamilton’s apocalyptic view – and seeming contempt for human freedom – seems driven by his Gaian faith, which demotes humans and makes them subservient to a kind of Earth god whose interests and wishes Hamilton claims to know:

    The “humans-only” orientation of the social sciences and humanities is reinforced by our total absorption in representations of reality derived from media, encouraging us to view the ecological crisis as a spectacle that takes place outside the bubble of our existence.

    It is true that grasping the scale of what is happening requires not only breaking the bubble but also making the cognitive leap to “Earth system thinking” – that is, conceiving of the Earth as a single, complex, dynamic system. It is one thing to accept that human influence has spread across the landscape, the oceans and the atmosphere, but quite another to make the jump to understanding that human activities are disrupting the functioning of the Earth as a complex, dynamic, ever-evolving totality comprised of myriad interlocking processes.

    If you think I read too much into that last passage, here is Hamilton a few years ago explaining his new religion – one that seems to have little time or love for humans:

    So I think where we’re going is to begin to see a Gaian earth in its ecological, cybernetic way, infused with some notion of mind or soul or chi, which will transform our attitudes to it away from an instrumentalist one, towards an attitude of greater reverence. I mean, the truth is, unless we do that, I mean we seriously are in trouble, because we know that Gaia is revolting against the impact of human beings on it.

    You may laugh off his musing as just the rants of some random zealot.

    But realise that Hamilton is considered serious enough to be a Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra. He taught at Yale University, Cambridge and Oxford. Most notoriously, the Gillard Government appointed him to the Climate Change Authority to advise on global warming policies, even though he is a professional ethicist with little obvious expertise (at least to me) in climate science or economics.”
    –– ADVERTISEMENT ––

    But The Age preaches his dangerous politics with an unseemly reverence”.

  23. I find it hard to believe that “America’s credibility ” can be any more damaged than the last 8 years has already accomplished.

    • For sure. Bright red chemical weapons line in Syria-nope. Great climate deal with China-nope. Brought the troops home from Iraq- and allowed ISIS to rise. CAGW the biggest threat we face-nope (try Russia annexing Crimea, China in South China Sea, North Korea nuclear, and ISIS). Science is settled– nope. Under Obamacare, you can keep your doctor,if you like your doctor–nope. And on, and on, and on…
      US needs to get back to a revised version of TR’s foreign policy: speak loudly, carry a big stick, and occaisionally use it. Syrian cruise missile message, MOAB in Afganistan. Nothing not to like.

  24. Pearse foreign policy 101.
    1) When a giant nation signs an agreement with a bunch of its lessers, it becomes a minority voter in the deal. Remember most are anti-American.
    2) When a giant nation signs bilateral agreements, it gets what it wants out of the deal and can stay out of deals with nations it doesn’t want to deal with.
    3) The United States has nothing to worry about in being “shut out” because the rest of the world doesn’t want to be shut out of the United States.
    4)The United States defends all the nations that Shultz considers will shut them out.
    5) China (and others) doesn’t want to rock a very favorable trade arrangement.
    6) A giant Nation has a giant market of its own that is presently under served. Self sufficiency in the cheapest energy in the world means they could work to replace considerable imports with domestic products (plastics, steel, aluminum, nitrogen fertilizers, all energy intensive products).
    7) A giant nation with cheap energy, abundant resources and freedom to do can stimulate strong research and development in all areas of activity (real research and development has been starved in recent administrations) that would make a weaker world unable to match. Indeed, of 579 Nobel Prizes awarded, USA has garnered 344! most of which were awarded before socialist progressives began watering down the prestige of the prize over the last few decades.

    I expressed my surprise at the percentage of anti-Brexit supporters who fretted about suffering terrible economic losses if they left Mother EU, reminding them that UK ruled the waves for 300yrs and spread the English language, culture, economics, freedom, vigorous education, work ethic, etc. and in their spare time, with their competitive bent, invented nearly all the sports and games (some derivatives were invented elsewhere!).

    Here’s my foreign policy advice: Get out of the Paris deal and see what happens. If terrible things such that you can’t bear occur, simply join again! My outlook is that it would all collapse and Trump would, in the end, have saved the rest of the world from its economic and cultural suicide mission. Trump, they will never like you. You will never get a Noblel Prize. They will hate you, no matter what you do. At least leave this legacy of good sense to the world.

  25. By failing to end Paris, Trump will signal to one and all that he is afraid to be “named and shamed” by Obama politics. The Left will sense weakness and rip Trump apart.

    Trumps enemies will never love him. They fear him, because they see him as unpredictable and uncontrollable. But for a leader, fear is an asset. It keeps your enemies at bay.

    However, if Trump caves in on Paris, Trumps enemies will smell blood. They will lose their fear and attack. A one term president, a footnote in history will be the result.

    • “By failing to end Paris, Trump will signal to one and all that he is afraid to be “named and shamed” by Obama politics.”

      Obama is out in public now pushing the CAGW narrative again, and making lots of money doing it. He’s working hard to save his “legacy”.

      I would bet that if Trump stays in the Paris Agreement, the MSM will be hailing Obama as the one who pressured Trump into “doing the right thing”.

  26. What newspapers does Trump read, TV stations he watches, radio he listens to. Crowd source funds for big ads, with interviews with Deplorables on how they feel if Trump caves on Parisite CC exit.

    • Gary Pearse, there is no actual evidence we have that Trump knows how to/actually does read. It is well known that he watches Fox News.

      • Watching Fox news would make him more educated than someone who reads most of the nations major newspapers.

      • “study-watching-fox-news-makes-you-less-informed-than-watching-no-news-at-all-2012-5”

        I watch a lot of Fox News, and consider myself fairly well-informed. I watch the other channels occasionally for laughs and to see what the enemy is up to. I don’t watch them to be well-informed on the truth because the truth is not in them. They are either deliberate liars or they are seriously deluded and believe the deliberate liars and echo them.

        Fox has its share of flaky reporters, now, more than ever, with some of the younger reporters, but all in all, you are much closer to reality by watching Fox News than you will be watching anything else. Fox and Friends in the mornings is superb. The other channels present the false reality they live it as the truth but it is far from it.

        I remember when there were only three tv channels and all of them were Liberal-leaning and Republican bashers. And no internet to use to complain about them. Those were the bad old days of constant leftwing propagada. We still get it today, even more so, but at least there are conservative voices out there now. And the conservative voices are winning the ratings war. :)

  27. C’mon, Donald, time for a bit of leadership. When faced with decisions like this one, I find it helps to ask myself “What would The Baron Vladimir Harkonnen do?”

  28. Mr.Trump got elected to drain the swamp not drink it .This is one of the easy ones Punt the Paris Unagreement . Put it to a vote if necessary like Kyoto was . Paris sets legal traps because they knew it would never withstand a vote .
    What’s changed since Kyoto by the way ? Climate gate , failed grossly exaggerating climate model predictions disproven, kids still know what snow is , the Arctic didn’t melt and polar bear populations are thriving . Besides warming has more benefits than drawbacks regardless. Gee how did the EPA miss that ?
    The only people who would get absolutely screwed will be USA if they followed up this tax payer rip off .
    Over thinking this as the swamp critters smooze and manipulate will be a test of the Trump team resolve
    and the pretend Republicans will show themselves .
    Pandering to eco- hustles would be a huge huge mistake but .breaking a core election promise would be an adios moment .

  29. Time to repeal the Paris agreement, a Limerick

    The Paris agreement repeal:
    More CO2 please, a good deal.
    It’s the feed-stock of life
    not the cause of all strife.
    Yet apocalypsians squeal.ople

    The greening of the earth thanks to increasing CO2, feed more people, less hunger. What’s wrong with that? With more CO2, plants use less water to perform photo-synthesis, especially in warm climates.
    https://lenbilen.com/2017/05/11/time-to-repeal-the-paris-agreement-a-limerick/

  30. America still has a network of cheap reliable coal fired power stations which give it a powerful advantage over the rest of the world. If you close this down and use Chinese wind turbines and solar panels while the Chinese continue to develop their coal fired power you have lost a great competitive advantage.

    Be brave America, you could again save the free world!! The emperor has no clothes.

  31. oh good lord … everyone does realize Trump will ignore these clowns advice …

  32. The current US government is probably the last one with the chance to leave the Paris Agreement undamaged, as political as economical

    – The Paris Agreement is based on purely political terms, it is not based on technical / scientific certainties.

    – the Paris Agreement is a self-imposed perpetual danger, leading to ‘moral’ political blackmail.

    – the Paris Agreement, including Carbon Tax, does not provide a real economic base, it offers inlet ports for irrelevant, insubstantial, illusory air [ sic ] deals.

  33. If the US government – or the government of any other state – sees an advantage in certain aspects inhirited in the Paris Agreement there is always the possibility to conduct direct, bilateral or unilateral negotiations and discussions –

    – AFTER dismissing the whole Paris Agreement Bundle.

  34. The Democrats and most of the media are close to a complete melt down . Finish them off and get it over with . Exit the Paris farce and move on . Who cares who might be upset . How many Democrats voted for Kyoto by the way ? That’s right none , zero . That is because the Senate passed the Byrd-Hagel Resolution
    95 to 0 . The Senate Resolution ensured the USA would not be a signatory to any agreement that mandated green house gas emissions unless the agreement mandated (not pledged) reductions from developing countries (China ) during the same time period . Of course China was not foolish enough to agree to such nonsense nor would other developing countries so pledge away but the USA has already drawn the line in the sand .
    The Kyoto extension was not signed by little places like Russia , Canada and Japan for good reason .
    But beyond the technicalities let’s face it … it’s a hoax designed to fund the UN , transfer wealth for warm fuzzies ., and prop up renewable corporate welfare with a nice little piece carved out for the promoters and bankers .
    The USA Senate already dealt with this despite delusions that Paris is anything but Kyoto- lite .
    Good conferences though . All expenses paid and save the planet too . Sweet .

    • “The Democrats and most of the media are close to a complete melt down .”

      Isn’t that the truth! I’ve never seen the Left so crazy.

      Of course, Obama and friends have been agitating the situation for eight years, by trying to divide and conquer us, so that contributes a lot to the craziness, and then the Leftwing billionaires are funding the radical Left to undermine American society, and that contributes more craziness.

      They have ginned up the craziness to a new level now, and that’s what we are seeing now.

    • The majority of viewers of this site will never be able to accept that there is really no difference between democrats and republicans. They buy into the political theater on the boob tube. I think Trump really intended to drain the swamp but he has surrounded himself with the worst of the worst people. And they will run the government, not Trump. Mike Pence, Jared, Tillerson, Mattis … Not a dime’s worth of difference from the last administration or the one before that. More debt, more war, more global warming …

  35. The history of ‘luxury [ import ] goods’ taxes like

    – coffee, tea tax
    – fossil fuels, gas tax
    – alcohol tax
    – tobacco tax
    – sparkling wine tax … etc.

    most always show a growing ‘moral’, ‘blackmail’ aspect. To suspicions, accusation ‘consumers’ are threatning their environment = ‘all other people’.

    On the basis of moral, political arguments;

    leading to ever lasting, barely scientific underlined confrontations –

    – but with heavy impact on financial or living standard matters.

  36. Trump will need a media diversion within a week with all the talking exploding watermelon heads ranting non stop about his recent firing of FBI Comey. So expect something very large to happen before the G7 meeting that takes place end of month after his Middle East peace tour. He certainly deflected all the Russia news talk last month with his 59 Tomahawks he delivered to Syria and the MOAB to Afghanistan, so I would think that either Iran or North Korea is going to get some special attention soon. Or perhaps someone/something else, but he definitely will need a diversion and quick.

    Would be best to probably divert soon and trot out this stupid Parisite Agreement and threaten to kick it to the curb, and/or maybe give the Senate the chance to vote on it before the G7 conference so he doesn’t have to go empty handed and take the blame. The knives are definitely out for him now, and if continues to act in reactionary mode, then he is going to be a lame duck president very soon fighting off every thrusting political knive coming his way now. It is probably time for him to just quit listening to all the cooks in his kitchen and go by his gut instinct. It was what won him the nomination and the election, so banging Paris will only have him keeping his word to those who elected him.

  37. My Personally Conclusion

    The Paris Agreement can be seen as a draft;

    The Paris Agreement can be seen as a draft. A gravel pit or a ruin to gain construction materials.

  38. And one more thing: The Senate Resolution of 1997 had this to say about Kyoto and/or any subsequent ‘Other Agreement. In my opinion, Paris is/was dead on arrival because it was not even legal for Obama to implement by Executive Order without having the Senate ratify it. It carries no actionable force.

    This was also to include Developing Parties (other developing countries like China & India reducing their emissions in the same time frame) a. In Kyoto or any Future Agreement, Or b. Would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States. Note that this includes Kyoto and any agreement thereafter, or any Other Agreement. The Paris Agreement was never legal for the USA to enter into as an Executive Order under Obama, unless ratified by the Senate as per the Terms A & B. Read it and Weep!!!

    Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that

    (1) the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the
    United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997, or thereafter, which would

    (A) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex I Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period, or

    (B) would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States; and any such protocol or other agreement which would require the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification should be accompanied by a detailed explanation of any legislation or regulatory actions that may be required to implement the protocol or other agreement and should also be accompanied by an analysis of the detailed financial costs and other impacts on the economy of the United States which would be incurred by the implementation of the protocol or other agreement.

  39. I’ve often wondered about Karl Kraus citating german or austrian newspapers punch lines or whole stories about best dressed, even in tuxedos, arrogant german business men,
    during WWI, completely drunk, paying all consumations in locals, bars, pubs including prostitutes and every by runners for consumation of Sect / sparkling wine-

    ’till I understood it was for the good cause : http://www.kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=1052

    Meanwhile in the streets of Berlin, Vienna, Paris …. there where developing riots against aliens, foreigners.

    / you’re never too old to learn something new /

    • Who has their hand on the Tiller(son). Not the Donald it seems.

      Looks like he doesn’t have the nads to act on Paribns. He likes targets where there isn’t a lot of flak and no lurking fighter aircraft. Thought he would have more mettle but he is looking more and more luhike a ball in a pinball machine. Maybe it’s just four months, but he appears to be losing control. Assuming he had any to begin with. Perhaps expectations were too great.

  40. When I hear Tillerson speak I hear Exxon speak . Carbon tax yeah bring it on . Why wouldn’t they happily collect and remit another tax for government if they can get greenies off their back and point to how self righteous they are .
    Maybe it hasn’t occurred to Tillerson that Obama’s alleged world’s biggest threat is a hoax and that there are some real problems to solve . Or are the big ones left to Ivanka to work on with Chelsea and Al Gore .
    Tillerson is going to be a major lose cannon .

    • Yes, I am afraid of that too now. I thought in the early days, ok, give him some time to get up to speed and actually for awhile I thought that silence was maybe a strong show of force. Talk soft and carry a big stick. Actions speak louder than words. Still hoping for all this, but I am not holding my breath anymore. Just because he had success as a CEO at Exxon, is perhaps no cred for actually being an effective Secretary of State. I doubt Trump has Tillerson on a short leash, and is probably wondering if the guy is paying attention much. Starting to feel sorry for Trump in having a team that is appearing to be so divided. Hope I am wrong.

  41. One thing they always leave out of the “Price on Carbon” equation is how to compensate those that remove carbon from the atmosphere e.g. Farmers, Foresters, landholders that allow nature do it’s thing on their land.
    The NASA animation of carbon dioxide flux’s around the world show’s that photosynthesis is a powerful process so those that promote it should be payed the same rate as those who are taxed when they emit CO2 .
    That would only be fair!
    But I’m not holding my breath.

  42. “GOP Elders”. We have a similar problem in Canada. A self-appointed group of former politicians and policy wonks calling itself the “Eco-fiscal Commission” has been attempting for years to have a carbon tax foisted on Canadians. They bought into the CAGW hysteria hook, line and sinker.
    http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/terence-corcoran-the-ecofiscal-scheming-starts

    Sadly, now that we have a true-believing Liberal government in power it looks like we’ll soon have a national carbon tax (aka tax-on-everything).

  43. The Eco-facist Commision more likely . Main goal …spend other peoples money on a politically correct
    science-fiction hoax lead by Mr Selfie a silver spoon part time drama teacher .

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