Canceling U.S. Participation Protects Competitiveness and the Constitution
President Trump should keep his two-part campaign promise to cancel U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments to United Nations global warming programs. The Paris Agreement is a costly and ineffectual solution to the alleged climate crisis. It is also plainly a treaty, despite President Obama’s attempt to implement it without the Senate’s advice and consent. Failure to withdraw from the agreement would entrench a constitutionally damaging precedent, set President Trump’s domestic and foreign policies in conflict, and ensure decades of diplomatic blowback.
For those and other reasons, the Paris Agreement imperils both America’s economic future and capacity for self-government.
The Paris Agreement and the 1992 treaty it purports to modify, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, both contain provisions for withdrawal. Concerns about diplomatic blowback if President Trump withdraws from the Agreement or submits it for the Senate’s advice and consent actually confirm the wisdom of exercising one of those options. The Paris Agreement is designed to institutionalize a running campaign of diplomatic blowback unless the U.S. submits to ever-tightening constraints, ratcheting up every five years. If Trump withdraws, any diplomatic blowback would largely be a muted one-off event, without the economic, political, and security costs that staying in the Paris Agreement entails.
To safeguard America’s economic future and capacity for self-government, President Trump should pull out of the Paris Agreement. There are several options for doing so, which are discussed in this paper. Regardless of which option Trump selects, his administration should make the case for withdrawal based on the following key points:
- The Paris Climate Agreement is a treaty by virtue of its costs and risks, ambition compared to predecessor climate treaties, dependence on subsequent legislation by Congress, intent to affect state laws, U.S. historic practice with regard to multilateral environmental agreements, and other common-sense criteria. […]