Reaction to US withdrawal from Paris climate agreement

It was no surprise that Donald Trump announced a US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, he would have risked serious questions from his support base if he had reneged on one of his biggest campaign promises.

But there has been a lot of criticism from around the world, which not surprising given that the US is one of only three countries that are out of the Paris agreement – and one of those because it doesn’t do enough to combat climate change.

There has been a more mixed reaction from the US. Many have been critical, from corporations to ex-politicians like Michael Bloomburg (Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is launching a coalition to defy Trump and uphold the Paris Agreement) and Arnold (Schwarzenegger on Paris agreement: ‘One man cannot destroy our progress’).

And an ex-President:

But the Trump administration is defending the withdrawal.

“Exiting Paris does not mean disengagement.”

“People have called me a climate skeptic or a climate denier… I would say that there are climate exaggerators.”

“We’ve led with action, not words.”

The action of withdrawal is not leading.

We’re just not going to agree to frameworks and agreements that put us at an economic disadvantage.”

Getting out of step with the rest of the world on climate change may turn out to be more of a disadvantage.

Does President Trump believes climate change is a hoax?

He doesn’t know what Trump believes about climate change? Communications fail big time, whether he doesn’t know or is not disclosing.

There have been a number of claims that Trump doesn’t understand the Paris Accord, or climate change.

Trump’s speech announcing withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change has been analysed.

Vox: The 5 biggest deceptions in Trump’s Paris climate speech

Yesterday, President Donald Trump gave a speech announcing that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

It is a remarkable address, in its own way, in that virtually every passage contains something false or misleading.

1) No, an agreement cannot be both nonbinding and draconian (Spoiler: Paris is the former)

Early on in the speech, Trump said: “Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the nonbinding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”

2) No, Paris cannot be “renegotiated”

Trump said the US will “begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. If we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”

As mentioned above, each country determines its own contribution. That’s why they’re called “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs). Each country is free to revise its NDC at any time — no negotiations needed. If Trump wants different terms he just has to say so.

3) No, abiding by the agreement will not cost the US a bazillion dollars

“Compliance with the terms of the Paris accord … could cost Americans as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025,” Trump said. “The cost to the economy at this time would be close to $3 trillion in lowered GDP and 6.5 million industrial jobs, while households would have $7,000 less income and in many cases, much worse than that.”

To support these ludicrous assertions, Trump cited a study (progress, I suppose!) from National Economic Research Associates. The study was commissioned by the American Council for Capital Formation and the US Chamber of Commerce, two longstanding corporate anti-tax lobbying groups. To help with their lobbying, they needed a study that showed Paris targets would cost a bazillion dollars. So they ordered one from NERA, and NERA, as per its reputation, delivered.

Rachel Becker at the Verge has a great post looking at some of the study’s assumptions. (Washington Post’s FactCheck also has some good stuff on it.) Suffice to say, it’s a model rigged to show high costs. It doesn’t count the value of avoided emissions; tech innovation slows for no apparent reason; businesses do not innovate to avoid costs, they just absorb them. It flies in the face not only of most other models, but of recent experience, in which growth in advanced energy has outpaced even the most optimistic forecasts. The sector is now adding jobs at a faster clip than virtually any other economic sector.

4) No, China and India are not getting away with anything

“Further, while the current agreement effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America,” Trump said, “China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So we can’t build the plants but they can. According to this agreement, India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it. India can double their coal production. We’re supposed to get rid of ours.”

First, side note, it’s not clear that Trump has any clue what “clean coal” means. Insofar as it has any meaning, it means coal plants that capture and bury their carbon emissions. Far from “blocking” the development of clean coal, a commitment to reducing carbon emissions is the only reason to invest in it.

But then, I think Trump just says “clean coal” when he means “coal” because lolnothingmatters.

Second, China is not “allowed” to do anything. Like all other participants, China offered its own NDC and can revise it at any time. The only one in control of China’s policies is China.

Third, China is still building (advanced, cleaner) coal plants because, unlike the US, it does not have access to cheap, abundant natural gas, which has been the main driver of recent US carbon reductions.

Fourth, India (which also won’t be “allowed” to do anything) is, in fact, projected to use more coal, but it is working at breakneck speed to transition. It has pledged to get 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, which will include building out 100 gigawatts of solar energy by 2022. India is set to pass Japan this year to become the world’s third largest market for solar (after China and the US).

Fifth and finally, we’re not “supposed to get rid of” our coal plants. Coal plants are closing (and not getting built) because coal is getting its ass kicked on the market.

5) No, other nations are not laughing at us behind our backs — or they weren’t, anyway

“The fact that the Paris deal hamstrings the United States, while empowering some of the world’s top polluting countries, should dispel any doubt as to the real reason why foreign lobbyists wish to keep our magnificent country tied up and bound down by this agreement,” Trump said. “It is to give their country an economic edge over the United States.”

Here we come to the root of the matter: tribalism. The tribalist (or “nationalist” as they are often called) sees all relationships, including relationships among nations, as zero-sum contests. There are only strong and weak, dominator and dominated, winners and losers.

For the millionth time, a voluntary deal cannot hamstring anyone, nor can it empower anyone. But the tribalist brain simply cannot grok an arrangement of mutual long-term benefit. So it must be unsavory “foreign lobbyists” trying to get us “tied up and bound down” so that they can drain our precious bodily fluids.

“At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?”

We feel ridiculous and weak and the only way to restore our fragile ego is with dominance displays, to show everyone once and for all that we are in charge and the most important.

I think that last paragraph sums up one of Trump’s biggest flaws.

CNN: Author of MIT climate study says Trump got it wrong

>President Donald Trump used a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study to back up his departure from the Paris climate agreement on Thursday. But one of the study’s authors says the President misinterpreted their data, showing “a complete misunderstanding of the climate problem.”

John Reilly, the co-director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, told CNN Friday that he was unaware the White House was going to cite the study and only found out that they were mentioned when he was contacted by a Reuters reporter.

<href=”http://news.mit.edu/2016/how-much-difference-will-paris-agreement-make-0422&#8243; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>How much of a difference will the Paris Agreement make?” — looked at the incremental changes in the accord that would happen if countries kept their promises. It found that over a 5- to 10-year period global warming would slow between 0.6 degree and 1.1 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

“Even if the Paris agreement were implemented in full,” Trump said Thursday, “with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a 2/10’s of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100.”

He then held up his hand, pushed two fingers together and said, “tiny, tiny amount.”

Talking points distributed by the White House also explicitly cited MIT.

The comment and the talking points were meant to undercut the efficacy of the Paris agreement, a claim that Reilly says is wrong.

“The whole statement seemed to suggest a complete misunderstanding of the climate problem,” Reilly said. “I think Paris was a very good deal for the United States, contrary to what they are claiming.”

He added: “This one small step with Paris is a necessary step. It is an incredibly important step. If we don’t take the step than we aren’t prepared to take the next step.”

Will Trump or any his supporters care about any of the criticism? Probably not when related to climate change.

But the level of disagreement and criticism from within the US and around the world is likely to be another blow to Trump’s ego.

59 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  June 3, 2017

    Pruit has to go ! 😡 He’s a prize [deleted. G] ! Who else have they got ? 😳
    What about Leonardo Di Caprio ?

    • Gezza

       /  June 3, 2017

      * Pruitt. 😕 Sorry [deleted.G] ❤️

  2. Gezza

     /  June 3, 2017

    I thought Sean handled it well though. 🤕 Love that loyal little guy. 🐶 👍

  3. Conspiratoor

     /  June 3, 2017

    China’s commitment…
    “Peaking of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and making best efforts to peak early”

    Weasal words. In other words, we will take this seriously 13 years from now, but in the meantime we are committed to our primary goal of economic conquest.

    • Gezza

       /  June 3, 2017

      I hope you’re not the one who’s got it in for the little guy, c? The European Prez, wotsisname, was just shown on Aljaz tv saying Trump’s decision was a mistake. I had to feed the pooks so I missed the rest, but I reckon he could right. Just saying.

      • Gezza

         /  June 3, 2017

        * be right.

      • Conspiratoor

         /  June 3, 2017

        G, flick across to the green post and aquaint yourself with the latest pearl from the world’s greatest…

      • Conspiratoor

         /  June 3, 2017

        European politicians have a more pressing issue to worry themselves with G, but malheuresment the silly bastards haven’t yet twigged to it. Cheers,c

  4. duperez

     /  June 3, 2017

    Overseas journalist sent me some reactions:

    • duperez

       /  June 3, 2017

      Oops, couldn’t drop pictures in!

      [I’ve added the picture to your initial comment.]

  5. That’s a stupid generalised claim.

    Criticising the withdrawal from an agreement that almost all other countries remain committed to does not equate to hate. Talking up hate without good reason or specifics does nothing to mend the growing divide, it drives it.

    • David

       /  June 3, 2017

      “Criticising the withdrawal from an agreement that almost all other countries remain committed to does not equate to hate. Talking up hate without good reason or specifics does nothing to mend the growing divide, it drives it.”

      What are the good reasons for staying in this agreement? The fact ‘almost all other countries’ have made their own commitments to do nothing and signed them does not mean it’s sensible for the US to stay in with a commitment to spend billions on other countries while damaging US industry.

      Pakistan, for example, have pledged to reduce there emissions once they have peaked. Does anyone seriously think this is worth a damn?

  6. Conspiratoor

     /  June 3, 2017

    An interesting comment from one of the Dilbert faithful…

    “There’s also the “preference cascade” explanation, which doesn’t disagree with Adams’ explanation. Just that people describe their beliefs so they match socially acceptible positions. But when people can express their real opinions without fear or social stigma, you hear what they really believe.

    And when it comes to investing your own money, you’ll be true to your deepest beliefs — which, if stated aloud, may be very different from what you’ve been saying, even to yourself”

    • Gezza

       /  June 3, 2017

      Yeah, well I’ve pulled my millions out of coal futures & put them into Space-X & Di Caprio movies now. (Not Streep ones though.) 😉

  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 3, 2017

    Not sure how these guys ger away with saying Trump misinterpreted their study without offering the slightest evidence that he did.

    I guess it’s just the usual alarmist claim that “expertise” trumps evidence and data.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  June 3, 2017

      He is on record as saying that climate change is a hoax put out by China. China also rapes/d the USA, Trump has said, Odd that he welcomed the rapists to the White House. How forgiving-yeah, right.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  June 3, 2017

        Irrelevant to my point.

        FWIW, here is his actual quote re climate change:

        And re “rape”: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/01/politics/donald-trump-china-rape/

        Sunday marks the first time in this campaign that Trump has used the term “rape” to refer to what he views as China’s dominance in trade with the U.S.
        “We’re going to turn it around. And we have the cards, don’t forget it. We’re like the piggy bank that’s being robbed. We have the cards. We have a lot of power with China,”

        Trump added that he is not “angry at China,” but with U.S. leaders whom he accused of being “grossly incompetent.”

        So nothing to forgive. But don’t let the facts interfere with your prejudices.

  8. Joe Bloggs

     /  June 3, 2017

    More trump bullshit

    “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
    – trump

    “Fact: Hillary Clinton received 80% of the vote in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh stands with the world and will follow Paris agreement. As the mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris agreement for our people, our economy and future.”
    – Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  June 3, 2017

      Trump won Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh Dems lost. Will probably lose more bigly next time too.

      • Conspiratoor

         /  June 3, 2017

        Not only lost but one he took from the Dems. On the basis of his promises ..one of which he has just delivered

        • Gezza

           /  June 3, 2017

          Just saying …

          • Conspiratoor

             /  June 3, 2017

            What happens when a shit pipe leaks in a socialist paradise G. What has it got to do with Pittsburgh?

            • Gezza

               /  June 3, 2017

              All those mines being extended under the town, c. Think of the children.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 3, 2017

              Seems to be the BBC’s go to sinkhole pic, G. Seems to have been stolen from CNN in Guatamala. They’ve exported it all around the world so it must be a good Lefty one. It probably does vote Democrat.

            • Gezza

               /  June 3, 2017

              It’s not bad, eh? Pretty humungous. That one could probably get close to holding the US National debt in nickels.

      • Joe Bloggs

         /  June 3, 2017

        and trump, who’s is normally completely tone-deaf, is too scared to go to Pittsburgh so he’s holding his ‘Pittsburgh or Paris’ rally in Washington, DC….

        “Let’s have a bigly loud mindless propaganda rally to celebrate our idiotic self destruction! Yay!!!”

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  June 3, 2017

          Idiotic self destruction like closing down your own industries and paying other cointries billions?

          • Gezza

             /  June 3, 2017

            Should that have been coin trees, Al?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 3, 2017

              That’s how the world sees the US, G. Thanks, FWPh.

  9. yawwwwnnnnnn…….. Good work by Trump. The high pitch whining from vested interests like Musk, ConocoPhillips etc tells you a lot. It was all about fat government subsidies for them and Donald has turned the tap off… the whining from NGO’s is driven by their frustration than transferring wealth from the West to the developing world has been thwarted..which is there really marxist driven agenda.

    Is the climate changing? Of course! It always has… the Sahara was once verdant Savannah and not that long ago either in geological timeframes, the American south west was fertile and full of game but then it dried out and the people there had only stone and copper…. What caused that? Was it man? Hardly likely given the small numbers compare to now and the technology they had then..

    Is it all man driven change? Answer – bollocks it is.

    It is very telling that the framing is now “Climate Change” whereas when Gore was pumping the issue up back in the early 2000’s it was “Anthropogenic Global Warming”. The “believers” have dropped the human-centred bit and moved to a wishy-washy Climate Change label. Why? Because Climate Change is undeniable – because its a naturally occurring phenomena, where as AGW is a theory that is not close to being proven.

    Limited, considered risk mitigation is called for – not massive tax and transfer schemes

    • Zedd

       /  June 3, 2017

      yawn…b-s

      • Conspiratoor

         /  June 3, 2017

        Is that all you’ve got zedd. How about a coherent response to the points Dave has raised. Let’s see if you can muster up an argument to support your pov

        • Don’t hold your breath….. When you push back its normally – blind you with lots of science which no one really understands and plenty of scientists poke holes in, or they get huffing and start the “denier” crap, or its you’re a fool, or you don’t care about the planet and can’t eat xyz…..

          I seriously am on the fence on whether humans are causing significant climate change via their activities – but I do recognise a lot of bs being flung around to stop people questioning or being skeptical. Classic debating crap – appeals to expert status, personal attacks etc….

          • “a lot of bs being flung around to stop people questioning or being skeptical”

            – from all sides

            • True there is a fair misinformation campaign being waged by some Pete… but overblown claims of imminent doom trying to create TINA moments and stop people asking questions is the pro AGW crowds modus operandi….. skepticism is greeted with abuse

      • There o those greens/greens supporters with their logic and respectful engagement again. Well done Zedd. When South Dunedin goes under water ask the council to make sure the drainage and pumps are working properly – cause it won’t be global warming causing the problems…

        • Zedd

           /  June 3, 2017

          may I suggest; you take your blinkers off.. dave

          when I was in high school (1970s) I learned that CO2 is a ‘Greenhouse gas’ & thats its atmospheric concentration was about 300ppm, increased CO2 results in warming.. (hence the ‘green house’ effect) I now read that due to burning ‘fossil fuels’ its over 400ppm.. so what happens ?

          you can join your mate ‘trumpy’ & stick your head in the sand, if you like, BUT it wont go away..

          btw; there is no such place as ‘away’ were all the pollution magically goes to. Thats fantasy island !

          • Zedd

             /  June 3, 2017

            btw; make sure you know what your on about.. the floods in 2015 in sth D were a result of massive rain storm (you are right.. the mud tanks were blocked) BUT I have lived here over a decade & it was the worst Ive seen. Also the sea level rise along the seawall, is now crashing over the top on a more regular basis.

            Im guessing you drive everywhere in your V8, belching out massive amounts CO2 ? 😦

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  June 3, 2017

              I learned about CO2 and the hole in the ozone layer at school too, Zedd, even at primary school-so it must have been known or speculated about for some time, as it wasn’t presented as breaking news even then.

            • PDB

               /  June 3, 2017

              Zedd: “BUT I have lived here over a decade & it was the worst Ive seen”

              A whole decade! That solves it then – worst ever in South Dunedin’s history!

            • Gezza

               /  June 3, 2017

              Probably should’ve gone for “over a century”, Zedd? 🤔

            • PDB

               /  June 3, 2017

              The 1923 Dunedin flood was worse – it also had more rainfall over a 24 hour period.

  10. Zedd

     /  June 3, 2017

    more narrow-minded misinfo. from the smug, greedy right !
    Its all just excuses for “I want money.. thats all I want” (who cares how much pollution/harm it creates) 😦

    “WAKE UP !!!”

    • Zedd

       /  June 3, 2017

      btw; you can build the biggest mountain of money & gold.. but you cant breath, drink or eat either.. that requires; clean air, water & soil etc.

      maybe the signatories to the Paris agreement, should start issuing sanctions against USA goods; eg Coke, KFC, McCRAP etc. (I dont buy any of them)

      • Gezza

         /  June 3, 2017

        Can’t do without Coke with my Baccardis, sorry, Zedd. Can help out with the KFC & McCrap sanctions though. Won’t buy a Hummer now either.

        • Zedd

           /  June 3, 2017

          @Gezza

          fair enough.. 2 out of 3 aint bad 😀

  11. Zedd

     /  June 3, 2017

    Mr Ts opinions are about as credible, as his stupid hairdo 😀

  12. At Friday’s briefing, Spicer used the phrase “I don’t know” four times in response to reporters’ questions. Other times, he simply said he hasn’t discussed the topic at hand, or couldn’t answer the question. That’s an astonishing lack of clarity from a man paid specifically to answer questions on behalf of the president.

    It’s not really astonishing. At least he doesn’t give an appearance he knows or is answering but avoids and diverts like many PR people and politicians.

    • Gezza

       /  June 3, 2017

      I seriously do like Sean Spicer. We only ever see tiny tidbit clips of his press briefings where he gets put on the spot, or bumbles – but he is actually quite a personable, likeable chap, with a GSOH who also has some quite convivial interchanges with the WH press pack at times. I guess he might soon be relieved of his burden, but the way Trump operates, the slickest Comms & PR practitioner in the world probably still couldn’t accurately answer questions on what exactly is Trump’s detailed plan, or exact view, on a whole host of matters. The overnight tweets & ad libs in prepared speeches must be a nightmare.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  June 3, 2017

        I was reading a RCP article on Trump’s many infelicities which complained about him starting his Paris agreement withdrawal speech by sympathising with victims of the Philipines Resort hotel attack where he assumed it was a Muslim extremist incident before it was clarified as apparently not.

        The point is that the beltway see this as a heinous mistake whereas the ordinary guy sees Trump responding just the way they would and immediately relates to him.

        This seems to be a culture gulf that the media has yet to understand. I hope Trump doesn’t change this. I find it a refreshing change from calculating, safety first and butt-protecting politicians. And Spicer is in the front line of this culture clash without any of the audience that Trump is speaking to.

  13. Conspiratoor

     /  June 3, 2017

    “Don’t worry, be happy” says Vlad to Megan Kelly

    “I wouldn’t judge President Trump,” and noted his support on the move to renegotiate a better deal. As for the media backlash? “It seems to me no one should be creating noise about it.” He added that the exit process won’t take full effect until 2020 anyway, so “don’t worry, be happy.”

    • Gezza

       /  June 3, 2017

      The Vladimir has learned the art of maintaining a poker face for everything until the media interviews are over & the doors are closed when he finally let go, can laff his ass off, & slap his knees.

  14. Zedd

     /  June 3, 2017

    about 200 countries signed up to the Paris convention.. next you C-C deniers will be saying they are all wrong & your hero ‘Trumpy’ is the only one who has it right.. (echoes of Key, on everything else) :/

    btw; even many state leaders are opposed to his stance.. but they must be wrong too.. het what

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  June 3, 2017

      Politicians know nothing of science and many know little of economics. What they know is how to bribe, bully and woo voters and businesses. A heck of a lot signed up because they were afraid they’d be bullied if they didn’t.

    • Conspiratoor

       /  June 3, 2017

      • Gezza

         /  June 3, 2017

        The one with the parachute is gonna get dragged underwater by it & drown, while the others will hit the sea, realise what they’ve done, and swim to shore. You realise that eh, c? 😃

  1. Reaction to US withdrawal from Paris climate agreement – NZ Conservative Coalition