Several western Republicans welcomed the news that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate agreement after an announcement made by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden last week.
U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), called the Paris agreement a “bad deal” for America’s working families.
“President Trump is keeping his word and getting America out of a bad deal,” said Barrasso. “The Paris climate agreement set unworkable targets that put America at a competitive disadvantage with other countries and would have raised energy costs for working families.
“Americans deserve clean air and a healthy economy. It’s possible to have both by withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement,” Barrasso stated.
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) said in a statement that the United States could not absorb the costs unilaterally, saying that the Paris agreement was not a “fair deal for Americans.”
“Since day one, the Paris Climate agreement has been unattainable for New Mexico and our nation. The Agreement will force American energy producers to dramatically change their business or shut down, ultimately limiting options for families across New Mexico, while allowing some of the worst global actors to take action as they see fit. This has never been a fair deal for Americans,” said Pearce.
“[The] United States cannot saddle the global burden of change on the backs of the American people,” Pearce continued.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who also spoke at the press conference where President Donald Trump announced his decision agreed, saying, “After all – before the Paris Accord was ever signed – America had reduced its CO2 footprint to levels of the early 1990s. In fact – between the years 2000 and 2014, the United States reduced its carbon emissions by more than 18 percent and this was accomplished largely by American innovation and technology from the private sector rather than government mandate.”
Trump said his decision to exit the Paris Accord was based on it being a bad deal for America, calling it “very unfair, at the highest level” for the United States.
“As President, I can put no other consideration before the well-being of American citizens. The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers – who I love – and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production,” said Trump.
By exiting, Trump said the country would not “suffer this self-inflicted major economic wound.”
Western business leaders from industry agreed. The head of the Western Energy Alliance Kathleen Sgamma wrote, “At a time like this, I like to remember how much more effective we as an industry have been in providing a real solution to climate change than any international treaty such as Paris or Kyoto; government policy like a carbon tax or cap-and-trade; or renewable subsidy.”
“Our industry is responsible for 62 percent of the emissions reductions in the electricity sector, compared to just 38 percent for wind, solar and other non-carbon generation, according to the Energy Information Administration,” Sgamma said. The Alliance is a supporter of Western Wire.
Amy Oliver Cooke, Executive Vice President of the Independence Institute, a Denver-based free market think tank, told Western Wire via email, “Today President Trump made good on a promise that America will lead through innovation not onerous regulation. By withdrawing from the Paris Climate Treaty, President Trump makes it clear – again – that he knows Americans can enjoy the benefits of responsible domestic energy production, affordable power, and a clean environment. He continues to reject the Left’s cynical either or choice. For all those reasons, I applaud and thank him.”
Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), also on the Senate environment committee, applauded the decision in a statement saying, “President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement demonstrates what I have said since the Obama administration negotiated our commitments: the Paris Climate Agreement is nothing but empty promises.”
“Prioritizing the bottom line of hard-working Americans over the agendas of environmental extremists,” Inhofe said, would put the country back on a “path towards energy independence.”
Earlier this week, both Barrasso and Inhofe along with 20 other Senators, sent a letter to President Trump urging his withdrawal. They noted that remaining in the Paris Agreement might trigger a series of lawsuits against administration efforts, including rescinding the Clean Power Plan.
Meanwhile, Democrats out west, even from energy producing states, complained about the decision.
U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who also backed former President Barack Obama on the venting and flaring rule wrote, “No agreement is perfect, and adjusting our commitments or timetable would have been viable avenues to pursue. But abandoning this agreement altogether is a reckless decision that forfeits an opportunity to guarantee a viable future for North Dakota coal, oil, and natural gas on the global level.”
“Additionally, leaving the deal signals that this administration isn’t serious about wind and other North Dakota renewable resources, which businesses and homeowners are demanding more and more,” Heitkamp said.
Heitkamp’s concerns were mirrored by national environmental activists like the Sierra Club and California billionaire Tom Steyer.
Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club wrote, “Donald Trump is making a shameful mistake of historic proportions. Our grandchildren will look back with stunned dismay at how a world leader could be so divorced from reality and morality. He is abandoning millions of Americans who will bear the brunt of climate disruption — from record floods to droughts and hurricanes that destroy people’s homes and livelihoods.”
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Earlier this week, Steyer called exiting Paris a “traitorous act of war,” and today tweeted, “Donald Trump is betraying the moral, political, and economic leadership position America has achieved over centuries at the cost of American lives.”
“It’s not up to states, cities, and local communities to pick up the mantle of leadership and take the actions necessary to protect our children and leave them a better world,” Steyer wrote.
Despite the hyper-partisan tone, a University of Colorado Professor called the furor over the decision to withdraw political theater, and said pulling out of the agreement might actually be a better deal in the end.
“Paris is but a means to an end, and arguably, not much of one anyway. Trump gives climate advocates an opportunity,” Roger A. Pielke, Jr. tweeted. “The opportunity is to reimagine an approach to US climate policy that is acceptable, even fought for, by Republicans.”
“US climate policy is going to be wildly unstable until policy wonks come up with good policy options that both parties support,” Pielke, Jr. tweeted.