Political Focus: The Paris Climate Agreement

John Bozick, Web Editor

After much debate and division in both the Trump Administration and congress, President Trump has announced plans to formally withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. As is the case for most things our bumbling “President” does, the rest of the world and a majority of the country strongly disagreed with him.

Trump’s decision to leave the Paris agreement goes against some of his closest advisors, including his Daughter Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Prominent business leaders such as Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Solar City, and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein also voiced distaste for the president’s move.

President Trump was open to renegotiating the deal with our European allies. However, this move was shot down within minutes when the leaders of France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement where they called the deal “irreversible”

The President’s rhetoric in describing the climate deal also seems a bit extreme, as he states that the agreement would have “draconian financial and economic burdens” on the United States. However, the emission standards of the Paris Agreement have no legal bindings and only require the United States to report its carbon emissions, which it may revise if it turns out to be too economically burdening.

Renewable energy also employs more people in the United States than any other form of energy according to a report by the Sierra Club. This is compared to coal which, according to a study by the Department of Energy, saw a 39 percent decrease in overall employment since 2009. In just the last year, coal has seen a 24 percent decline in overall job growth.

The President’s announcement also did not stop many states from saying they will still adhere to the agreement, a move that could pit the states against the federal government.

Shortly after The President’s announcement, California Governor Jerry Brown, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance.

After this announcement, the governors of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Oregon, Hawaii and Virginia all announced their states will be joining the alliance as well. All states joining are pledging support behind the climate agreement and are focused on upholding the environmental standards put forward by the agreement.

However, on June 2, The Washington Post brought up an important question about the alliance potentially violating the “Constitution’s interstate compacts clause,” essentially this clause prohibits states from entering into an agreement with other states and foreign powers without the approval of congress.

Yet, given the alliance is no more than a week old, it’s tough to say whether or not it would be violating the parameters of this clause, as it is still unclear as to what exactly the alliance plans on doing. More time is needed to see if the alliance is indeed constitutional

In the long run, President Trump’s decision seems like more of a middle finger to the rest of the world instead of a smart economic move. Not only does it isolate the United States from its traditional European Allies, but it also hands over an entirely new job market to the European Union and China.