Green Watch

Happy Energy Independence Day


One year ago, President Donald Trump submitted the letter of formal withdrawal from the disastrous Paris Climate Accords, something he pledged to do on the 2016 campaign trail. “It’s time to exit,” he told the American people.

One year later, the United States is free from one of the worst energy policy decisions in decades, and the future of American energy independence has never looked brighter.

All Pain, No Gain

Using a model developed by the U.S. Energy Department, the Heritage Foundation has estimated that the Paris Climate Accord by 2035 would have cost the average family of four over $20,000 in lost income, raised household energy prices by as much as 20 percent, and cost the economy $2.5 trillion.

Paris offered unprecedented immiseration for at best a miniscule gain. If the United States were to eliminate all of its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, it would shift global temperatures by less than 0.2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, according to a National Center for Atmospheric Research model.

In short, Paris expected Americans to pay through the nose with nothing to show for it—while shoveling cash into a multi-billion-dollar global Green Climate Fund created to benefit major CO2 emitters, such as India and communist China.

The U.S. Energy Boom

The eco-Left’s virtual cult of unilateral economic suicide surrounding the Paris agreement contrasts with the incredible opportunities brought by the fracking revolution, which has offered the U.S. independence from oil-rich tyrannies and made the average consumer wealthier.

In 2009, the U.S. was the world’s third-largest oil producer behind Russia and Saudi Arabia. In 2019, America became a net energy exporter for the first time in 67 years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It led the globe in both oil and natural gas output in 2019, more than doubling oil production and increasing gas production by two-thirds in a decade. The U.S. oil industry now produces 12.3 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Energy is the master resource. Cheap electricity benefits everyone who buys food, drives a car, uses household plastics, and heats their home. The Paris Climate Accord promised to grind our cheap energy renaissance to a halt.

But driving up electricity costs is a major tenet of environmentalists. On the 2008 campaign trail, then-Sen. Barack Obama said that under his Clean Power Plan “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” by as much as 250 percent. (The Clean Power Plan was implemented by executive order in 2015; President Trump rescinded it in 2017.)

Legal Shenanigans

Just as bad was how the Obama administration pulled the country into the Paris agreement. Obama administration officials negotiated the Paris Climate Accord as a foreign treaty, and President Obama signed it. Yet the Obama administration avoided calling it a treaty domestically and refused to submit it to the Senate for ratification—the body required by the Constitution to ratify all treaties—likely because it was controlled by skeptical Republicans and because many Democratic senators would likely have also voted against it.

Yet because President Obama signed it, the U.S. as a signatory is obligated under international law to treat the agreement’s global warming stipulations as legally binding until such time as U.S. withdraws from the treaty. This manipulation of the treaty process was premeditated by the treaty’s proponents, but their legal duplicity also left open the door for the next president to withdraw from the treaty relatively easily.

Leftists may scowl, but freedom-loving Americans should celebrate November 4 as Energy Independence Day.

 

For more on the Paris Climate Accord and environmentalism, see our work:

 

Hayden Ludwig

Hayden Ludwig is an Investigative Researcher at Capital Research Center. He is a native of Orange County, California, and holds a Master’s of Public Policy from George Mason University.
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