Nevada Democrats wrongly predict disaster over Paris Climate Accord pullout

The caterwauling over President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord and renegotiate was quick, loud and anguished — including from Nevada’s usual Democratic suspects.

Freshman Nevada U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto fired off this prediction of doom and gloom: “Withdrawing from the deal would weaken efforts to combat one of humankind’s biggest threats, not only risking irreversible damage, but also harming our economy. President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement is the height of irresponsibility and an affront to our moral duty to protect our planet.”

Rep. Dina Titus of Clark County was equally over the top: “Any move to abandon this agreement will jeopardize our physical wellbeing, further undermine our standing as a world leader, and endanger our economic vitality for years to come.”

Freshman Congressman Ruben Kihuen, who presents much of Southern Nevada, chimed in by bemoaning: “Now is not the time for America to be stepping away from our leadership role on the world stage, especially when it comes to the future of the planet.”

Freshman Rep. Jacky Rosen of Clark County joined the chorus with this statement: “This decision not only places our country at an economic disadvantage relative to other countries in clean energy production and innovation, but it places us in harm’s way.”

At least Republican Sen. Dean Heller was realistic, while expressing his support for renewable energy development: “Our country will continue to move forward with the development of innovative new energy technologies that make our state and our nation’s energy supply cleaner, more affordable, and more reliable — with or without our participation in the Paris Agreement.”

Was anyone really listening to what Trump said?

Just what is the “irreversible damage?” What is the jeopardy to “our physical wellbeing” and the “future of the planet?” And how are we placed in “harm’s way?”

“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,” Trump said in his half-hour long Rose Garden speech this past week. “In fact, 14 days of carbon emissions from China alone would wipe out the gains from America — and this is an incredible statistic — would totally wipe out the gains from America’s expected reductions in the year 2030, after we have had to spend billions and billions of dollars, lost jobs, closed factories, and suffered much higher energy costs for our businesses and for our homes.”

(According to a Heritage Foundation report, if the entire industrialized world cut carbon emissions to zero, global warming would be reduced by four-tenths of a degree Celsius by 2100.)

Just how many jobs and dollars would it take to avert this impending climate cataclysm?

Citing an economic study, Trump stated that by 2040 the Paris Climate Accord would cost the economy $3 trillion in lost gross domestic product and 6.5 million in industrial jobs, as well as reduce the incomes of households by $7,000 each.

Then there is the fundamental unfairness of the deal negotiated by the Obama administration but never ratified by the Senate.

“Not only does this deal subject our citizens to harsh economic restrictions, it fails to live up to our environmental ideals,” Trump said. “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 — the world’s leader in environmental protection, while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters.”

In fact, the United States over the past 14 years has already reduced carbon emissions by 10 percent, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy, and that is not due to wind and solar power generation, which still accounts for only 3 percent of the nation’s energy output. It is largely due to fracking producing cheaper, clean-burning natural gas to replace coal-fired generation.

But under the Paris Accord, China will be allowed to increase its emissions for another 13 years. India’s participation is contingent upon receiving billions in foreign aid, largely from the United States.

“China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants,” Trump reported. “So we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement.”

Trump noted the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it merely transfers them overseas.

Thomas Mitchell is a longtime Nevada newspaper columnist. You may email him at thomasmnv@yahoo.com. He also blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/.

Comments

  1. Terry Donnelly says:

    Mr. Mitchell, Your defense of abandoning the Paris Climate Accord is a good example of the over-the-top fanatics you accuse Democrats of spewing–methinks the commentator doth protest too much. This agreement was never meant to be a treaty and thus, never subject to Senate approval.

    t is true that China will likely continue to pollute for 13 more years and build coal plants, but the verb “allowed” isn’t accurate. They set their own goals as did India, the other 190+ countries and the United States. We could have set our goals anywhere we wanted. If it made sense for us to continue to build coal plants, we could have–it doesn’t. Coal jobs are a moot argument. There aren’t that many left (some 70,000–less than a good sized fast food chain employs). There will be some coal jobs to be had in the near future, but as a career, other energy jobs will outpace them by a lot. Mr. Mitchell, your own comments on natural gas production belie the loss of coal jobs as a result of signing on with the Paris Accord.

    If we, or they, fail to follow their own directives, the consequence is nothing. Our taking the lead on this with both money and aggressive goals is testimony to our commitment to clean air and water. We still have that commitment. State and local governments, private industry, scientists, and other interested citizens will assure that our forward moving work on clean, renewable, cheap energy will continue. The problem is now that other interested countries (China, not withstanding their low level goals) will take the global lead on directing this project. Their development will overshadow ours and developing countries will contract with China, India, or any other industrial country and buy technology and goods from them rather than the U.S.–costing us jobs and economic gain. 0We should not have backed out on our commitment to the world, not because of anything economic, or “fairness”, but because of our status as a global leader–unless one’s philosophy is so nationalistic that being a world leader isn’t a positive.

    BTW, two-tenths of a degree is a big deal.

  2. Steve Clutterham says:

    Two tenths of a degree in 80+ years is a big deal? Really? Any prediction of this sort would probably have an error factor of +/- 2% or more, over the same period. This would in all likely hood, erase any possible gains. But that is just my opinion and a calculated guess, just like that of the people who came up with the number in the first place. We do not ALWAYS have to be the world leader is donating money to, or spending money on worthy causes. China has the money, gives very little to world causes and in this particular case, is one of the great contributors to causing the very problem we are trying to eliminate. Let them pony up the money just like we force polluting corporations to do here in America.

  3. William Miller says:

    When did Republicans become so short-sighted? As a childless retiree, I really have no skin in this game, but what happens if Republicans are wrong? Oceanside property in Mesquite? By the way, I would be careful about quoting anything said by your ( not my ) President. He had a habit of bending the facts to the breaking point.

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