I got a letter from a Minnesota-based teacher who is getting inundated by students asking questions about Paris. Many of those questions are dogwhistles (the students do not realize that) indicating that they’ve been getting their information from Trump supporters, or so I can confidently guess. (The school is in an area where many voted for Trump.)
Here’s my response. Short version: he lied about everything.
Most people in Minnesota who have asthma have it because of coal plant generated pollution. Shutting down the coal plants is a primary step in reducing climate change. So, even without climate change, if we could replace coal plants with clean energy production, which we can do, why would we not do that? Anybody in the room have asthma? Anybody in the room not know that asthma is not just an inconvenience, but a potential cause of death?
(And the list of diseases and disorders goes way beyond Asthma)
President says: “The green fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars of which the United States has already handed over $1 billion. Nobody else is even close. Most of them haven’t even paid anything — including funds raided out of America’s budget for the war against terrorism. That’s where they came.”
Other countries have contributed a great deal. The US is the biggest per capita producer of Carbon, and stands to be in the top three countries to benefit from the economic benefits of Paris. So, we pay 3 billion of a total 10 or 11 billion.
This money is not from defense funds, that’s just a scare tactic. It comes from the State Departments economic support funds. In other words, it comes from human rights and such. Trump should love that.
Plus the money does stuff. We’ll get a return on that investment. Like less asthma.
President says: “We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair.”
NO, actually, you get to negotiate if you are in. The agreement was set up to have continuous negotiations.
President says: “China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020.”
Bald faced falsehood. There are no such restrictions or permissions on any country as part of Paris. The expectation is that market forces and consideration of other issues such as disease will reduce the use of coal very quickly over the next few decades.
Kids in todays classrooms will still have kids with asthma, because this is all going very slowly, but the grandkids will hear the word “asthma” and think the same thing folks today think when they hear “gout” or “scurvy” or “rickets.” Diseases that don’t happen any more.
President says: “Compliance with the terms of the Paris accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs — not what we need.”
This is based on a study funded by the anti-science foundations US CoC and the American Council for Capital Formation, and others. It is pretty much made up.
The future jobs in this country are in clean energy. Solar and wind are creating jobs at a much higher rate than coal/gas/etc. Rebuilding the electric grid is going to require people, Americans specifically, and is going to support businesses. Especailly good for Minnesota. 75% of the North American new clean energy infrastructure was built by two companies based in Minnesota, and much of the trucking done to complete those jobs was done by a trucking company based in Minnesota.
President says: “Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree — think of that, this much — Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount.”
First, that is not a small amount. Second, the Paris deal was compared in an MIT report to market forces working on their own. So, the Paris deal is market forces plus a little extra. Why is Trump against that? Third, the Paris deal is also the framework to allow countries to adjust the overall changes needed as time goes on. There are uncertainties, esp. with respect to carbon sinks. This is not a reason the Paris deal does not make sense. It is the reason the Paris deal does make sense. Without the deal, an optimistic 0.2 degree difference would become a 0.5 degree difference. That’s huge.
Maybe it would help if we changed units. Use the new unit I just invented, the “Trump”. There are 10,000 Trumps in a Kelvin. So, the Paris deal gives us 2000 Trumps. That’s YUGE!
President says: “China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years, 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.”
China is slated to cut its carbon use more than most other countries, as does India. This is just looking at a long term projection/plan and cherry picking part of it and ignoring the rest.
President says: “Believe me, we have massive legal liability if we stay in.”
Believe me, we have massive legal liability if we get out. Remember all those kids with Asthma? When the US is the only country causing a worldwide disease and people realize that, we will have liability.
President says: “As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States, which is what it does.”
Noe he isn’t, no he doesn’t, and no he shouldn’t.
See this post for many links to many commentaries about Trump’s folly. See this post for the Washington Post’s fact checking, which I used in part for this commentary.