President Donald Trump has promised to make a “big decision” in the next two weeks on the Paris climate accord after promising to “cancel” the agreement during the campaign last year.
Fundamentally, the Paris Agreement is a costly and ineffective approach to addressing global warming. There are compelling economic, environmental, and legal reasons for Trump to make good on his campaign promise, and the commonly heard arguments for remaining in the agreement do not pass muster.
The Paris Agreement, signed by more than 170 countries, aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The means of accomplishing this goal largely center on reducing carbon dioxide emissions by transitioning the global energy economy away from affordable, dependable conventional sources of energy.
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Countries involved in the agreement each submitted nationally determined contributions, setting their respective obligations for keeping temperatures in check.
As a member nation, the U.S. also submitted its goals under the Obama administration. The domestic regulations listed by the Obama administration aimed to reduce greenhouse gas levels across the entire economy by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025.
The U.S. regulations alone would increase energy costs for U.S. families and businesses, causing an overall average shortfall of nearly 400,000 jobs and total income loss of more than $20,000 for a family of four by the year 2035.
Compliance with the Paris Agreement will cost the global economy trillions of dollars over the next 80 years. Yet the results will be almost zero reduction in projected warming, even if every country met their respective carbon dioxide reduction targets as promised under the agreement.