AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
Over the past 11 months, the American people have witnessed a jarring series of contrasts between the Biden and Trump administrations that have left many clamoring for a return to the Trump years. From soaring inflation and skyrocketing gas prices to open borders and botched foreign policy decisions, Americans are already tired of President Joe Biden less than a year into his administration. But perhaps nothing can better encapsulate the difference between the globalist policies of Biden administration and the ‘America First’ policymaking approach of the Trump administration than the controversial Paris Climate Agreement.
The Agreement, to which the United States became a signatory in April 2016 under the Obama administration, is an international treaty aimed at curbing global climate change and has yielded harsh criticism from many conservatives—primarily for being too one-sided and overtly detrimental to the economic interests of the United States. Reports have also shown the Agreement would do nothing to drastically cut carbon emissions or address other purported causes of climate change.
Former President Obama’s entry into the Agreement not only bypassed Congress and sidestepped the constitutional mechanisms for entering into treaties, but it also bound the United States to significant levels of carbon emission reductions within a 10-year timeframe, irrespective of what other countries, including our biggest economic adversaries, did—even though the U.S. was responsible for only five percent of global carbon emissions at the time. By signing the Paris Agreement, according to National Review, the United States was compelled to meet Obama’s target of “reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025”—an amount that would’ve had a devastating effect on American workers. The Agreement would have “cost the U.S. economy nearly $3 trillion over the next several decades” and would have had, at best, a negligible effect on net global carbon emissions.
To meet the Agreement’s absurd targets, the Obama administration relied on its Clean Power Plan (CPP), which it described as having the potential to show “the world that the United States is committed to leading global efforts to address climate change.” The CPP established carbon emissions limits on American power plants—a move that policy experts said could have yielded major economic setbacks. In particular, the CPP would’ve devastated the American coal industry, a sector that had already been hit hard by an overactive regulatory state in recent years.
Moreover, much like the Paris Agreement, the CPP likely would’ve had next to no effect on global temperatures. As the Cato Institute’s Chip Knappenberger said of the Plan, “even if the United States stopped emitting all CO2 now and going forward, it would only reduce emissions by 0.15 degrees Celsius—that’s all we have to work with.”
In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) own climate model emulator found that the CPP would “affect climate by less than two-hundredths of a degree Celsius by 2100, an amount so miniscule that it’s nearly impossible to measure.” The National Economic Research Associates also predicted that compliance with the CPP would cost the U.S. a whopping $479 billion—even while countries like China with significantly higher rates of emissions were allowed not only to continue, but to increase their emissions.
The CPP, which was drafted in a way similar to the Paris Agreement so as to avoid requiring Congressional consent, was not the only means by which Obama hindered the American economy in the name of environmentalism. The Obama EPA, consistent with its well-documented disregard for formal law-making processes, weaponized the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standard to attempt to require cars and light-duty trucks to average 54.5 miles per gallon of gasoline by 2025—up from 35.5 miles per gallon in 2016—without consulting the Office of Management and Budget.
Trump’s reversal of the Paris Agreement, the Clean Power Plan, and the Obama CAFE Standard marked a sharp break from the left’s anti-energy policies, and contributed to lower energy costs throughout his presidency. “The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering an agreement that disadvantages the U.S., leaving American workers, who I love, and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs and lower wages and vastly diminished economic production,” Trump said during his withdrawal announcement in June 2017. Notably, in the years since Trump withdrew from the Agreement, the U.S. still managed to reduce carbon emissions more than almost any other nation on Earth.
Unsurprisingly, however, on his first day in office, Joe Biden signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and has since proposed “improved” fuel economy standards that could harm consumers in ways even more pronounced than during the Obama years. Is it any surprise that in a matter of just 11 months, Americans have been subjected to rapidly rising gas prices and increased energy costs?
If Joe Biden truly wants to escape the cascade of negative headlines that have come to define his early presidency, he has no choice but to abandon the globalist ideology championed by his former boss and return to a set of economic, environmental, and energy policies that serve the needs and interests of the American people. If not, the consequences—both for American families and the U.S. economy—will be painful indeed.