Now nearly 200 of the planet's countries have signed on to the Paris Accords and yet Donald Trump pulls out of the agreement joining the only other two non-signers: Syria and Nicaragua.
Since Syria's in the midst of a horrendous civil war and Nicaragua said the Paris Agreement didn't go far enough, we can only assume it's Trumps utter stupidity that drove his decision.
But what do the factcheckers say?
Trump "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris. I promised I would exit or renegotiate any deal which fails to serve America's interests."
Invoking the city of Pittsburgh, Pa., has a certain irony, because the city voted overwhelmingly for Trump's rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Clinton won almost 60 percent of the vote in Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh. The percentage was even higher in many precincts within the city of Pittsburgh itself. (Allegheny County includes a range of suburbs in addition to the city.)
In announcing that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a global accord aimed at addressing climate change, President Donald Trump made more than a few false and misleading claims.
In listing his reasons why the U.S. should pull out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump claimed that the U.S. would be exposed to “massive legal liability if we stay in.” But international environmental law experts say that that is not true.
Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, told us Trump is wrong. He said the U.S. actually may be more exposed to lawsuits if it withdraws from the agreement.
“Withdrawal may actually create a greater likelihood of success in lawsuits challenging government inaction,” Burger told us. “So not only is he wrong, he actually has it backwards.”
- The AP:
An AP Fact Check finds holes in President Donald Trump's reasoning for pulling the U.S. out of a landmark international agreement on fighting climate change.
The White House says the Paris accord would "effectively decapitate" the American coal industry. Yet the industry has been in decline for many years, and the primary cause is competition from natural gas.
Trump also cited a study as evidence the agreement would cost millions of American jobs. He didn't say the study was paid for by two groups that are opposed to environmental regulations. And they receive backing from those who profit from the continued use of fossil fuels.
The White House portrays the impact of the accord on the Earth's climate as negligible. But an expert says that's based on an outdated report.
- More AP:
WHITE HOUSE: “According to a study by NERA Consulting, meeting the Obama administration’s requirements in the Paris Accord would cost the U.S. economy nearly $3 trillion over the next several decades. By 2040, our economy would lose 6.5 million industrial sector jobs — including 3.1 million manufacturing sector jobs.”
THE FACTS: This study was paid for by two groups that have long opposed environmental regulation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council for Capital Formation. Both get financial backing from those who profit from the continued burning of fossil fuels. The latter group has received money from foundations controlled by the Koch brothers, whose company owns refineries and more than 4,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines.
The study makes worst-case assumptions that may inflate the cost of meeting U.S. targets under the Paris accord while largely ignoring the economic benefits to U.S. businesses from building and operating renewable energy projects.
Academic studies have found that increased environmental regulation doesn’t actually have much impact on employment. Jobs lost at polluting companies tend to be offset by new jobs in green technology.
WHITE HOUSE, citing a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “If all member nations met their obligations, the impact on the climate would be negligible,” curbing temperature rise by “less than .2 degrees Celsius in 2100.”
THE FACTS: The MIT programmer who wrote the report says the administration is citing an outdated version, taken out of context. Jake Jacoby said the actual global impact of meeting targets under the Paris accord would be to curb rising temperatures by 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
“They found a number that made the point they want to make,” Jacoby said. “It’s kind of a debate trick.”
One degree may not sound like much, but Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute in Germany, says: “Every tenth of a degree increases the number of unprecedented extreme weather events considerably.”