American Senator Rand Paul blasted the Paris climate accord on Thursday for being unfair after President Donald Trump made good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
Paul told his CNN host that Trump is right to pull out of the deal because other countries weren’t keeping their promises. The US will only withdraw fully in November 2019 — more than two years from now.
He mocked the notion of the planet facing mass extinction. “Mass extinction? Really?” Paul said. “That’s a ridiculous statement…I don’t think we should be alarmist about this.”
But Paul objected to the deal on economic grounds. He said the US would lose more than six million jobs in the deal and questioned the scientific predictions: “You need to make sure that your viewers know that most of [climate scientists’] models has been wrong,” Paul said.
“China doesn’t have to play by the same rules,” Paul noted. “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 and China has to do nothing?”
“So if America has to reduce her Carbon footprint by 20 percent, but China doesn’t have to reduce their at all, how could that possibly be fair? Who in their right minds would sign something that says China doesn’t have to do anything,” Paul said.
“Is it fair that Russia gets to increase their carbon output 50 percent?” Paul added, questioning the fairness of the deal.
He said that Americans were probably more interested in keeping their jobs than they are about “alarmist” theories. “I’m betting you that…America will say, ‘we want jobs and we don’t want these alarmists who are saying we’re gonna have mass extinction.’ So I think people want jobs and they want a clean environment.”
“Are you really saying that man is not contributing to climate change?” the CNN host asked Paul.
Paul responded: “This is the big argument that none of you guys get…How much is nature and how much is man? I’m perfectly willing to admit that man can have an influence and we should minimize our pollution. But those who say that it is all man and don’t acknowledge that the 4.5 billion year old planet has gone through climate change based on natural effects…”
President Donald Trump said the withdrawal is “in America’s economic interest and won’t matter much to the climate.” He made the announcement in the Rose Garden.
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said. “This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” he said specifically about China and India.
China and India both joined the Paris agreement in 2016, but have no plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because they need to increase coal production to fuel their growing economies. “They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us,” Trump said of China. “The agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America,” Trump said, “and ships them to other countries.”
The Paris agreement required developed countries, including the US to send money to Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was created to pay for green energy projects in poor countries, but Trump said the US would no longer be involved in paying for that.
As part of the Paris accord, rich countries had promised to give $100 billion in climate aid to poor countries by 2020.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has been one of the most vocal opponents of the deal, with an ad campaign and petition to force Trump to withdraw.
“President Trump has done the right thing by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement,” Tom Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance (AEA) told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Pyle headed Trump’s Energy Department transition team.
Pyle said it was a bad deal for American workers and would have caused continued harm to energy-starved poor nations. “Despite an intense lobbying effort from corporations, green lobbyists, UN bureaucrats, and the Al Gore’s of the world, Trump stood firm on his commitment to resetting our energy and environmental policies,” he said.
President Barack Obama had joined the Paris Agreement in 2016 without Senate approval, pledging to cut US greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The deal was to funnel at least $3 billion into the global climate effort.
But CEI senior fellows Chris Horner and Marlo Lewis had called on Trump to submit the Paris Agreement to the Senate for approval as required by the US Constitution.
“The Agreement endangers America’s capacity for self-government,” their recommendation reads. “It empowers one administration to make legislative commitments for decades to come, without congressional authorization, and regardless of the outcome of future elections.”
The European Union’s top climate change official, EU Climate Action Commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, said it was “a sad day for the global community”. Most major fossil-fuel companies supported staying in the Paris deal.
France, Germany, Italy issued a joint statement denouncing Trump’s decision. “We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies,” a joint statement declared.
The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, called the decision “a mistake that would have dramatic consequences”.
“That incredible diplomatic achievement could not have been secured without the decisive role of the United States of America. That is why President Trump is committing a mistake with dramatic and fatal consequences,” Paris’ mayor said. Some 25 major corporations had signed a letter to stay in the deal.
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