President Donald Trump on Sunday criticized the global climate pact that the United States withdrew from under his administration and which Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden hopes to rejoin, as being designed not to save the planet but undercut America’s economy.
Trump said in a video statement from the White House to the Group of 20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia that the Paris Climate Agreement was “not designed to save the environment. It was designed to kill the American economy.”
“To protect American workers, I withdrew the United States from the unfair and one-sided Paris climate accord, a very unfair act for the United States,” Trump said amid a discussion by world leaders on issues relating to environmental protection and climate change.
The Trump administration announced its intent to withdraw from the climate deal back in 2017, though the complex rules of the treaty meant the United States formally exited the agreement on Nov. 4 of this year. The day after, Biden took to Twitter to announce his wish to lead efforts to rejoin.
“Today, the Trump administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden administration will rejoin it,” Biden wrote in a tweet.
While Biden’s purported victory in the race for the White House has been called by many media outlets, it remains unclear whether Biden will indeed assume office in January as Trump’s legal team continues to challenge the results of the election.
The Epoch Times has not called the election, opting to wait until all legal challenges are settled.
President Donald Trump looks on during a briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington on Nov. 20, 2020. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
U.S. participation in the Paris agreement would cost the average family $20,000 and the national GDP $2.5 trillion by 2035, according to the Heritage Foundation. This sacrifice would be made to achieve a global reduction in temperatures of a barely measurable 0.015 degrees Celsius by 2100.
Meanwhile, China, the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas emitter, pledged to do little more than have its carbon dioxide emissions peak in 2030.
Besides withdrawing from the Paris treaty, Trump has also sought to reverse many of the climate action policies of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. This included repealing in 2019 Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan (CPP), which aimed to cut U.S. power sector emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Trump replaced it with the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which reduced this target substantially, although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted at the time that long-term industry trends would anyway reduce emissions by around 35 percent within the same time frame.
At the time, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the CPP “would have asked low- and middle-income Americans to bear the costs of the previous administration’s climate plan.”
“One analysis predicted double-digit electricity price increases in 40 states under the CPP,” Wheeler said.
Anthony Watts, senior research fellow of environment and climate at The Heartland Institute, told The Epoch Times in a 2019 interview that the Paris climate accord would be ineffective in reducing climate change significantly, and even if it did make a dent, it would come at a major cost to the U.S. economy.
Watts argued that the Paris treaty would have cost the United States about 2.7 million jobs by 2025 due to scaling back parts of industries.
“That would have been about 440,000 manufacturing jobs that we would have lost associated with that [Paris climate accord],” Watts said.
On the impact of American participation in the climate deal, Watts said that by 2030 the United States would see a 38 percent decrease in iron and steel production, a 31 percent decrease in natural gas production, and an 86 percent decrease in coal production.
He added that the projections indicated the United States would see a loss of $3 trillion worth of gross domestic product (GDP) and 6.5 million jobs lost by 2040 in the industrial sector.
Watts added that existing data indicates that carbon dioxide emissions in the United States and the European Union have been generally constant or decreasing between 1970 and 2018, which he said was partly due to switching to natural gas and renewable energy.
Trump, in his G-20 address on Sunday, said that since withdrawing from the Paris pact, the United States has reduced carbon emissions more than any nation.
Agreed to by 189 signatory nations in December 2015, the Paris pact is an effort by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to address what it says is the urgent problem of rising temperatures caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
The pact aims to keep the increase in average temperatures worldwide “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and ideally no more than 1.5 C (2.7 F), compared with pre-industrial levels.
Cynthia Cai and Bonner R. Cohen contributed to this report.