Should the U.S. Leave the Paris Climate Agreement?

CNN reaction to the withdrawal of the Paris Climate Accord

The Claim: the U.S. leaving the Paris Climate Accord is disastrous and irresponsible of President Trump. (occurred June 2, 2017)

The United States should not re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement. While it may sound bad to leave an agreement that helps the environment, the climate agreement is not as effective, and far too costly, than it is perceived to be. The accords, established under the Obama administration, had no binding commitments to cut carbon emissions and various countries did not hold themselves to the standards they agreed to.

A large majority of countries signed the agreement, however many of these countries such as China and India continue to use industrial methods that hurt our environment. This was because the countries set their own standards for carbon emission reduction (rather than an independent group setting the standards for them), and there was no verified enforcement on these reductions. 

At the same time, the United States was spending billions of dollars on this agreement. There’s a very obvious trade-off here, as the money spent and the regulations created can destroy jobs and lives. Why would we let other countries like China continue to pollute and do exactly what they want, while ruining the American economy (estimated at over $2-Trillion loss over ten years)?

The United States continues to cut its carbon emissions, while other countries are causing far more damage than us. The steps laid out in the agreement would not have radically lowered climate levels over the next century anyway. MIT predicted that the agreement is “estimated to be likely to reduce global temperature rise by less than 0.2 degrees Celsius in 2100.” This is not significant for the amount of money we will spend.

 Because of these reasons, the agreement is more of a political virtue signal created by politicians to look like they are fighting the problem, without actually creating meaningful agreements to help the environment. For these reasons, the United States should not re-enter a failed agreement and should look to create a new one that is more effective.

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