By John A. Charles, Jr.
President Trump made the right call June 1 when he terminated participation by the U.S. in the Paris Climate Agreement.
The central problem with the Paris agreement was that the alleged benefits were speculative, long-term, and global; yet the costs to Americans would be real, immediate, and local. It was a terrible deal for American taxpayers who would have been required to send billions of dollars to an international green slush fund, with no accountability.
Pulling out of the Paris agreement does not mean that the climate change apocalypse is upon us. The carbon intensity of the U.S. economy has dropped by 50% since 1980 simply through technological innovation and the dynamic market process. If reducing carbon dioxide is a worthy policy goal—which is just an assumption—the United States already has an impressive track record of reducing emissions.
The Paris agreement was always a triumph of symbolism over substance. Now that American participation has ended, we can appropriately move on to issues of real significance.
John A. Charles, Jr. is President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.