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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Right or Wrong

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

A couple of weeks ago, when President Trump announced he was going to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, he was both praised and criticized, but he made true on a campaign pledge.

It did cause quite a storm as it stirred up the whole climate change issue and proved again the emotion in this issue. I’ve said before, we almost all agree that the climate is changing, but is it caused by humans? Both sides have arguments.

Those who agreed with the President’s decision, like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said that President Trump was right to pull out of the deal because other countries were not holding up their end of the bargain.

“China doesn’t have to play by the same rules,” Sen. Paul said of the agreement. “The debate should be over whether the Paris Accord is fair. Is it fair for China to keep polluting at alarming rates and for us to be cutting back on carbon while China has to do nothing? Is it fair that Russia gets to increase their carbon output by 50 percent?”

I read another article from the Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltimore that also agreed with President Trump’s decision based on some facts of the agreement.

First, the Senate never signed the agreement. The U.S. Constitution states that 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,” in Article II, Section 2.

Second, the emission reduction targets are not binding. Reporting is mandatory, but actual reductions in fossil fuel emissions are not. Even then-Secretary of State John Kerry said, “If there had been a penalty, we wouldn’t have been able to get an agreement.”

Third, the agreement costs roughly $100 billion annually. The Wall Street Journal reported, at the time, “Developed countries like the U.S. have to help provide at least $100 billion annually from a variety of sources after 2020 to help developing countries cut their emissions.”

Fourth, the non-binding targets are totally arbitrary. The emission targets are not just non-binding, they are self-made.

Fifth, the agreement relies on self-reporting. The teeth of the agreement come in mandatory reporting, but what if you can’t trust it?

Sixth, the U.S. will almost certainly not meet its target. That could have an adverse impact. Everyone knows the U.S. will not meet the ambitious carbon reduction targets laid out by the Obama administration.

As the Washington Post reported, “It’s clear that the Trump administration will fail to meet the climate goals the Obama administration established under the agreement, namely, a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below their 2005 levels by the year 2025.”

This could be problematic, assuming some nations actually do take the targets seriously.

Seventh, the jury on carbon dioxide is still out. This is the big issue out there. Our climate models over the last decade were way off. Both scientists and lay-people have differing opinions.

In my opinion, at some point, the president needs to renegotiate the terms with the agreement, sign on and get the Senate to approve the agreement. The U.S., along with all countries, need to address climate change and study the effects of carbon. It shouldn’t be a method to stop business growth if carbon proves to not be an issue. Proactive action may be required as we find new evidence on the truth of carbon.

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