Here’s what Trump is getting wrong about the Paris accord


http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/31/trump-paris-decision-based-on-flawed-deal-maker-mentality-commentary.html

Here’s what Trump is getting wrong about the Paris accord

  • President Trump is expected to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Treaty.
  • The decision appears to be rooted in an uninformed view of outstanding issues, no appreciation for scientific consensus, little respect for the history of progress that has fueled, rather than retarded, economic growth.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017 | 3:43 PM ET

President Donald Trump talks with Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at Trump Tower last February.

Elon Musk: We’ll depart White House councils if US leaves Paris Accord  Wednesday, 31 May 2017 | 2:10 PM ET | 01:31

Well, we apparently won’t always have Paris.

President Trump is expected to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Treaty, once again claiming that all bi-lateral agreements hurt U.S. jobs.

It would be nice if the president’s analysis of the multi-lateral framework that has guided the Western world over the last 70 years had some basis in fact. But, alas, as ever, it does not.

It is true that American jobs have been lost, at times, to foreign competition; to the forces of an integrating global economy, to innovation and automation and to some specific regulatory changes.

On balance, however, the U.S. economy has grown over the last many decades and remains the largest economy in the world. The U.S. economy, also, is currently experiencing full, or near-full, employment, despite all the evil forces of a global economy decried by this president.

With specific regard to the current climate accord, the global consensus calls for a significant reduction in CO2 emissions in order to fight the damaging and potentially catastrophic effects of climate change, global warming, or however you choose to describe rising temperatures, greater volatility in the weather, rising sea levels and the disruption of various global eco-systems.

Having said that, I am not a “tree hugger.” I don’t have the necessary scientific background to claim expertise in this area. I don’t know if the changes we are seeing are the result of natural cycles that occur in geologic time, or if they are governed by solar cycles, or are, as many worry, anthropogenic (caused by humans).

“It is true that American jobs have been lost, at times, to foreign competition; to the forces of an integrating global economy, to innovation and automation and to some specific regulatory changes. On balance, however, the U.S. economy has grown over the last many decades and remains the largest economy in the world.”

To me, it doesn’t really matter. It seems obvious that whatever the reason, we, as humans, should act responsibly when it comes to the care and cleaning of our habitat.

Further, that care and cleaning comes with trade-offs. It may result in the net loss of jobs in industries that cause the most environmental disruption, but also leads to entirely new jobs that remediate the effects of dirty technology.

Entirely new technologies and industries are being created that add jobs to the domestic and global economy while also enhancing our efforts to maintain a sustainable environment.

The Montreal Protocols, developed and ratified during the Reagan years, and signed by 197 nations, called for the reduction of CFC’s into the atmosphere to repair the ozone hole that had been growing above the Antarctic.

It has worked remarkably well and did not stop the Reagan Revolution from growing the economy and adding countless jobs during that period.

In 1991, the U.S. and Canada, under President George H.W. Bush and Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, signed a bi-lateral accord to reduce the sulfur dioxide emissions that led to acid rain. That too has been an environmental success.

And if you’ll recall, the agreement did not prevent the 1990s from being the decade in which the U.S. saw the largest number of jobs created, some 22 million, in modern economic history.

It was another staunch Republican, Richard Nixon, who created the Environmental Protection Agency, in case anyone has forgotten, to reduce pollution and streamline the patchwork of anti-pollution laws in states and localities.

Since my childhood, we have outlawed littering. (Remember tossing your McDonald’s bags out the car window and your dad flicking a cigarette butt to the side of the road???)

We’ve grown to be much better stewards of our environment over the last 47 years and the economy has quadruped in size!

Once again, it appears the president is basing his decision-making on preconceived suspicions about multi-lateral agreements (Paris, NATO, NAFTA, WTO, TPP) and simply guessing that they all disadvantage the U.S. because they may, in part, benefit someone else.

That is a “deal-maker’s” mentality. Everything is a zero sum game. My gain is your loss and vice-versa.

It’s rooted in an uninformed view of outstanding issues, no appreciation for scientific consensus, little respect for the history of progress that has fueled, rather than retarded, economic growth.

The president desires to be our fearless leader whose answers to the perceived problems of the U.S. economy are caused by others.

The president is rejecting alliances, agreements and protocols that will enhance, or create, further stability and opportunity, both at home and abroad.

The vision of a great leader extends well beyond the borders of the country he, or she, leads.

The world relies on America’s willingness to be open to new ideas, just as we are at home, to protect what we have built and to grow the pie for everyone. If the world grows, we grow … and if the entire planet grows more sustainably, so do we.

It’s sad that this president can’t see through the smog of his own ideas.

Commentary by Ron Insana, a CNBC and MSNBC contributor and the author of four books on Wall Street. Follow him on Twitter @rinsana.

For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.

Watch: The impact of the U.S. leaving Paris Climate Agreement

Would a Paris Accord exit be a disaster?

Trump considering exit from Paris climate change deal  Wednesday, 31 May 2017 | 2:11 PM ET | 04:15

 

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