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Trump keeps a campaign promise — his worst one

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
After Trump spoke, many of the analysts I heard emphasized that Trump’s approach seems to be a continuation of his campaign or an early start on the next campaign.

Oh no.

President Trump has shown a great willingness during his short tenure to reverse himself on things he promised to do when he was Candidate Trump. His health care plan was going to “cover everyone.” He wasn’t going to touch Medicaid, etc.

But, as you have no doubt heard by now, he has decided to keep one of his worst promises, or maybe his worst promise, the promise to pull the United States out of the Paris Accords on climate change. 

The accords, signed by nearly 200 countries in 2015, was created to try to save the earth’s climate so future generations can – what can I say? – have a planet on which they can live.

If he follows through on this, the United States will join just two other countries in the world that had declined to sign the agreement – Syria (which maybe has its hand full with the civil war and all) and Nicaragua, which complained that the Paris agreement wasn’t strong enough.

By the way, there seems to be roughly no disagreement over whether Trump has the power to do this under U.S. law. It was not a treaty, ratified by the Senate. It’s a non-binding agreement in which each of signatories committed his or her country to take certain actions – actions chosen by the country itself – to help the world achieve some overall goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in hopes of forestalling a potentially cataclysmic decline in the ability of Planet Earth to support life.

In 2012, Trump tweeted that global warming was a hoax, perpetrated by China. He later said that he never said that, but here’s the tweet.

He doesn’t always tell the truth about these things. On other occasions, he has said that the “Chinese hoax” remark was a joke. Ha ha. If you find this kind of thing amusing, Newsweek has compiled the dizzying back and forth he had with himself about global warming.

On May 26 of last year, Trump pledged in a North Dakota campaign speech that he would “cancel” the Paris Accord, to which the United States was not yet committed (although Pres. Barack Obama was clearly on a path to signing the accord) and which had not yet been signed by enough countries to take effect.

The North Dakota quote was: “We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement.” If you care about words, as certain occupants of the Oval Office do not, Mr. Trump cannot “cancel the Paris Agreement.” Most of the countries of the world have signed onto the accord and remain committed to fulfilling the obligations they have undertaken. But he can withdraw the United States from it and there is no mechanism for the rest of the world to punish him or us for doing so.

Most of the countries of the world have signed onto the accord and remain committed to fulfilling the obligations they have undertaken. But he can withdraw the United States from it and there is no mechanism for the rest of the world to punish him or us for doing so.

Obama signed the accord on behalf the United States on Sept. 3, 2016. Enough countries signed in the ensuing two months for the agreement take effect on Nov. 4, 2016. Mr. Trump was elected on Nov. 8, 2016. He allowed some suspense to build even until yesterday about whether he would follow through on his pledge to “cancel,” then yesterday he announced that he would.

Trump is doing pretty badly so far at legislating, but, as president, he can cancel U.S. participation. What an Obama signature can get us into, a Trump signature can get us out of. And, theoretically, the next president could get us back in.

In announcing his decision yesterday in the White House Rose Garden (ironically the place Obama announced the agreement calling it “a turning point for our planet”), Trump talked relatively little about global warming and far more about economic issues and efforts by others to steal American jobs. For example, he said:

“China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can't build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it. India can double their coal production. We're supposed to get rid of ours. Even Europe is allowed to continue construction of coal plants.

In short, the agreement doesn't eliminate coal jobs. It just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States and ships them to foreign countries. This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.”

Trump argued that Obama had signed what amounts to a raw deal for U.S. workers, a deal that will lead to the elimination of too many jobs in coal mining and related industries, a deal that requires the U.S. to pay a “vast fortune” into a kitty to share the cost of implementation.

The word “deal” appeared in his remarks 13 times. He likes that word. He talked much less about the threat that global warming might pose to life on earth.

As far as the “vast fortune” bit: The Washington Post’s annotated transcript of Trump’s remarks says “this is nowhere near a “vast fortune.” The U.S. gave this climate change bank account $1 billion for the first year. The U.S. is expected to bring in $3.5 trillion in revenue in fiscal 2018. There are one thousand billions in a trillion.

The Paris agreement does indeed try to pressure rich countries to pay more to reduce carbon emissions, and imposes tougher goals on advanced countries to reduce their emissions more quickly. If the purpose of the deal is to make money, it’s a raw deal for America and the other rich countries of the world (but they are all staying in).

If the purpose of the deal is to organize virtually all the world’s nations around a plan to avert a planet-threatening apocalypse, then it might be necessary for the wealthy nations to pay more and do more to replace dirty energy sources with cleaner ones.

In his remarks yesterday, Trump relied heavily on numbers from a particular study, which the Post called “the estimations from an industry analyst that was founded by a conservative economist, and a report that environmentalists say is not neutral.”

Trump held out hope that a way can be found to get the United States back into the program: “We're getting out,” he said, “but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that's fair.”

To date, Trump has not been able to explain how this negotiation will occur, or even with whom he would negotiate. The way the accord evolved, each nation was given the flexibility to come up with ways of reducing carbon emissions, and set their goals for doing so. There is no enforcement mechanism for countries that fail to meet their goals.

They say that if you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail. If you’re Trump, everything looks like a subject for a tough negotiator. But perhaps, just perhaps, not everything is.

Yesterday, the leaders of France, Germany and Italy said that they were unwilling to negotiate with Trump about this, and Todd Stern, the Special Envoy on Climate Change during the Obama administration, told the British newspaper The Independent that since each nation voluntarily set its own targets for reducing carbon emissions and "The US has the ability to change its own targets."

In his remarks yesterday, Trump started the negotiations anyway. Trump used China as the case study of a nation that is getting too much benefit, paying too little and being allowed to keep polluting for too long, especially compared to the United States. I can’t check all his assertions, but I’m sure there’s some truth to it. It goes back to what I said above about whether this is an effort to save the earth or to make money.

Writing for the New Yorker, environmental expert Elizabeth Kolbert notes that China is indeed the current biggest emitter of carbon, followed by — guess who — the United States. But, because the United States is many decades, maybe even a century ahead in emitting industrial waste (because we’ve been an industrial powerhouse so much longer), Kolbert wrote that “on an aggregate basis [the U.S.] is responsible for more of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere than any other country. When Barack Obama helped forge the Paris accord, he was trying to make up for decades of American inaction. Trump has now nullified that effort. The just result would be that it is the U.S. economy that ends up suffering.”  

After Trump spoke, many of the analysts I heard emphasized that Trump’s approach seems to be a continuation of his campaign or an early start on the next campaign. Trump fairly blatantly spoke about three states that were going to benefit, job-wise, from his new approach – Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio – three of the four swing states that won him the presidency. Said Trump:

“It's time to pursue a new deal that protects the environment, our companies, our citizens, and our country. It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, along with many, many other locations within our great country, before Paris, France. It is time to make America great again.”

And, what admirers of the speech thought was the best line:

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Vice President Mike Pence, who had the honor introducing boss, said:

“Our president is choosing to put American jobs and the American people first.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in a TV interview after Trump’s appearance, reinforced Trump’s argument that this was all about jobs and money and getting even with other world players who were able to pick Obama’s pocket. Said Ross:

“Any time people are taking money out of your pocket, and you make them put it back in, they’re’ not going to like it. And that’s what this is… This was not really about climate. It was about money.”

And Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, addressing Trump: “Your decision today to exit the Paris Accords reflects your unflinching commitment to put America first.”

My favorite fact-checking outfit, FactCheck.org elucidated a few shortcoming in the factual accuracy of Mr. Trump’s presentation.

Lastly, and then I swear I’ll stop, if you need a laugh, The New Yorker's Andy Borowitz translates Trump’s presentation as an attack on the earth, for being a “loser,” and vows to make a deal with a better planet.

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Comments (56)

Just saying

Will anyone be surprised if land values in Siberia go through the roof as a consequence of climate change, thus pleasing the oligarchs who supported the election of Dear Leader?

Siberia ain't going to be

Reality

Like many of Trump's proclamations, this one will mean little in comparison to the economic choices made by the energy industry here and abroad. Whether or not we are formally part of the Accord, the economics will remain the same.
As coal and oil get more expensive and renewables get cheaper (the wind and solar technologies are maturing), our energy balance will shift, whatever Trump says or does.
And as carbon taxes are enacted by the EU and others, that will further tilt the scales, regardless of how Trump and his stooges try to put their thumbs on them.
Roll on, King Knute.

Just out of curiosity

…I can't help wondering how Mr. Trump did in the 2016 election in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Maybe he really IS representing the views of the people of Pittsburgh. Or maybe not.

Allegheny County

Hillary in fact won Allegheny County by a comfortable 56% to 40% margin.
http://www.politico.com/2016-election/results/map/president/pennsylvania/

Jobs? Economy?

Is there anyone out there who really, sincerely believes that pulling out of the Paris Accord was about preserving American jobs, or stopping wealth transfers, or even defending our sovereignty? This action was all about appeasing his base of supporters (a minority of voters, but whatever) for the 2018 elections, and to keep them fired up for 2020. The easiest way to do that is to reverse course on anything the Obama Administration did. It doesn't matter what the consequences are. All that matters is that something was done by Obama. Therefore, it must be bad.

The Trump administration governs by reflex, not deliberation. It is that kind of simple-mindedness that is going to destroy the country.

The Paris Agreement is quite

The Paris Agreement is quite likely too little, too late. My reading of the progression of the changes is that we are at or already past the point where a drastically changed future is guaranteed. In fact, it is quite likely that Trump, with a normal lifespan, will have inescapable evidence in front of him of the new world he and his old-style capitalism have wrought.

But the Paris Agreement was a start toward mitigating a future with a climate inimical toward all life. And, as the minimum it should be advanced by all who care more than the money they plan to stuff into their coffin or their heir's tiny hands. It's not an exaggeration that the next generation will face climate problems that all the money in the world cannot fix. And just like his health-care plan and his tax plans, his actions will ultimately damage his base the most.

Nature bats last. And, man, her bats are hot these days...

great quote

"Nature bats last" one of my favorite quotes. We are far behind the steps much of the world has already taken. If we were at all serious we wouldn't have burned more gasoline in the summer of 2016 than we had ever used before. The world now has no delusions that we will ever be part of the solution.

Strangeness

Trump does take positions that hurt my head. How do you renegotiate a non binding commitment? How do you break a promise you haven't made? For other nations, how do you go about negotiating demands that are undemandable? Can any deal be that artful?

Do we really need it?

I thought I heard two guests on NPR last week state that we will meet the Paris Accord numbers even without it.

If so, I am trying to find its value. Is it to bring the world together? To create a common platform? I can see why it might be beneficial, but is it that big of a deal?

Menus

Among the folks I occasionally hang out with there is a saying, "If you aren't at the table, you may well be on the menu." The Paris accords are not a panacea, not a complete solution to any problem, they are part of a process. They provide a forum where America, the richest and most powerful country history has ever known, can exercise it's influence within the global community. It's a place and process that makes easier to do what we want to do. By the very act of withdrawing, particularly in this context which which seems deliberately designed to avoid addressing the substantive policy issues involved we are simply making it harder, if not impossible to exercise the influence our wealth and power make available to us.

Agreed.

Great comment, Hiram.

"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"

Or even our President. He hates the job, the job hates him, the people hate him and he hates the (majority of) the people. He is too backward/stubborn to even know:

Do popular stuff and be popular

Do unpopular stuff and be unpopular

When was he last seen as being possibly happy? When he was campaigning and bragging about his favorable (POPULAR) poll results early in the GOP primaries. He actually had a few funny and charming moments back then.

Put your time into popular stuff like infrastructure or a healthcare plan that does improve coverage over the ACA and now you are working on stuff that is favored by 60+% of the public. He would be moving the popularity dial the right way again.

He cares nothing about public policy, all he wants is to be loved and adored and popular and can't figure out the first step to getting there.

No Donald, "I shall not seek, and I will not accept" the job as your Chief of Staff.

Ignorance is Bliss

Your hammer nail analogy is a good one and well worn by folks like me: The way I heard it "If the only tool in your tool box is a hammer all problems will look like nails"

What the hammer doesn't understand: Necessity is the mother of invention: Invention in terms of increased energy efficiency conservation etc. by not being at the table, we don't learn what other folks are doing, nor do we understand new challenges and successes from multiple perspective, (called open mindedness) . ergo: we will not be on the bleeding edge of the inventions and technological advances, ergo, you give advantage to China, Germany etc. the countries competing fro answers to the challenge. What we have is a President and a republican party that is "Afraid to compete in the real world" turn back the clock (on almost all fronts) when business was abusive, labor laws were non-existent, the atmosphere, waters and the lands polluted, to when the powerful and mighty ruled the roost. Folks the clock doesn't turn back others will just take the lead since Trump and company is to slow and fearful to play in the big leagues with real competition. Ignorance truly is bliss as America slips into a 3rd world country. You elected a hammer and all we will get is ignorant nail answers.

Productive Punishment

The world does have a mechanism to punish Donald Trump and the United States for “cancelling” the Paris Climate Agreement. It’s called “I’ll show you” and every participating country should step on the gas, so to speak. Aggressively accelerate their renewable energy initiatives. Raise the price of their energy products exported to the United States. Disseminate the results of their work via social and traditional media worldwide. Create a Climate Nobel Prize. Here at home, Minnesota and other states should keep the Paris accord alive; many have already committed. Mr. Trump is fond of shows. Let's give him one.

To Ray's question about the

To Ray's question about the value of the Paris accords: Yes, symbolic unity of all nations of the world, agreeing to voluntary actions (based on their circumstances) to save our planet from destroying its capacity to sustain life at all, matters. It's probably the biggest issue facing humankind.

Bringing everyone--including China and all the little struggling nations that always wanted exemptions because of their poverty and lack of development--together in a global plan was HUGE. It was hard to do. Having the USA agree was essential to the rest climbing aboard. It was a supreme act of international diplomacy and of sharing the science (the science that Trump's new EPA leader has taken down from the EPA website).

Of course,Trump still doesn't sound like he understands what the Paris accords did. Or how any of this works. To hear the Trumpians go on and on about coal and the old kind of dirty-energy jobs that will be revived somehow by the US thumbing its nose at the rest of the world, out of ignorance, nauseates.

California is again setting the pace, by its governor going to China to work together with them on new technology that's clean and more efficient, and showing that someone in the US knows that this is the only planet we have. Trump cannot count on there being another planet out there, a kind of "Planet B."

I actually heard yesterday on PBS's "Newshour" some Trumpian say that in the US there have never been any government regulations to address pollution. He claimed that the free market had been taking care of it. No I mean it: he actually said that an unregulated free market was responsible for the US not being as polluted as it was in the 1970s. No laws or restrictions on car emissions or catalytic converters or power plant emissions or waste water plants. Just the free market!

That's how far these guys are from reality.

Whale Oil or Die!

One of the few things I remember Donald Rumsfeld saying came soon after George Bush's "Mission Accomplished" aircraft carrier landing and perp walk to the stage under the banner.

It was the beginning days of the "insurgent" fiasco (that led to US entrapment in the $6 Trillion Iraq tar pit -- we're still in -- and the creation of ISIS). When asked about the mad bombers who were just starting to tear up Iraq, Don said,

"Oh, those are just a few dead-enders."

That's the impression I get of those who are so reflexively opposed to the whole "alternative energy" thing. That is to say I'm sure there were a whole lot of whale oil industry dead-enders doing all they could to fend off or slow down the kerosene competition back in the good old days just before the Civil War.

I mean, don't these people ever pay attention to what's happening in the world?

I was under the impression that conservatives believe in things like balanced books, getting the most "bang for the buck," efficiency, competition, innovative products, services and systems and the economic growth, jobs, "return on investment," prosperity, etc., they deliver.

Available Option A: An energy system that runs on sunlight, wind and hydro power that, once installed and paid for, would eliminate the bulk of America's energy bills forever.

Available Option B: Perpetual (as possible) re-investment in an energy system that costs just as much to build, pay for and maintain that needs to be fueled by expensive sludge that poisons everyone who has to pay for it forever.

It's a free country, so people are free to believe in and fight for Option B as long and hard as they can (as are corporations because, remember: Corporations are people too), but it's time for all those people to stop calling themselves conservatives.

They're not. They're just Republicans.

Option A is conservative.

Option B is stupid and suicidal.

Careful who you vote for.

Fantastic for all those who want to keep the Paris

Accord alive, have at it, enjoy.... The Accord is a non binding piece of paper full of words and no actions. The rest of the world is upset not because we pulled out (China had til 2035 to decide what restrictions they wanted to impose on themselves, so who really cares) but because the Billions of dollars we were going to pay to who knows who, are now not available!! Not sure how we fell off the world stage because we looked at a bad deal and said "no thank you"! Why are the 800,000 workers in the "green energy" sector here in America going to lose their jobs because we pulled out of a non binding agreement..... Geeeze people get a grip.

And that's the news from Lake Trump

Please provide a source for your "800,000 workers" figure.
"Green energy" employment is a function of economics. The only way it will drop is if the cost of non-competitive fossil fuel is artificially kept low with subsidies. Since those subsidies come from our pockets, ultimately we still pay the price for coal.

800,000!

Using your figure, there are over 11 times as many people working in clean energy as there are in coal mining (69,460, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and that includes people who are in the industry, not just miners).

So all this concern for coal miners is a lot of rubbish, isn't it? It's all about hippie punching, and flipping off environmentalists. As with virtually everything else about the Trump administration, it's about putting on a show for his followers.

Are the followers going to swallow it? If so, let's have that discussion about why it's wrong for liberals to be so condescending to Trump supporters.

whoops

One of my favorite CEOs defended this decision. he framed it from the point of view of his industry -steel. In general, however, Trump keeps making choices that isolate us. These choices do play to his so called base, but seem to leave us swimming upstream against progress and the rest of the (industrialized) world.

In terms of MAGA....

Become terribly offensive to your closest geographic neighbors--Mexico and Canada

Dump the TPP and clear the way for One Belt, One Road, the global trade domination initiative of China

Talk down NATO and issue weasel-words with respect to your attachment to the fundamentals of the Treaty

Celebrate the UK Brexit-- it is becoming clear that Trump and Farage are 2 parts of a scheme to diminish world governmental structures

Ce;ebrate the authritarian governments and leaders of the world.

Withdraw arbitrarily from a "feel good" first effort to address global climate change--won't change the science of the impeding crisis, but hey, hope it doesn't hit until later.

Again, I want to start with

Again, I want to start with thanking Mr. Black for providing an honest picture of this Paris Accord – the one most other liberal journalists would not do. So let me analyze it on this basis without even mentioning science.

So this accord is “a non-binding agreement in which each of signatories committed his or her country to take certain actions – actions chosen by the country itself – to help the world…” So first, it is non-binding so no one can guarantee that China or Russia would do their part (and history shows that western democracies are much better at keeping their words than those countries so all bets are off). Second, it is based on what each country chose to offer meaning that pulling out of that doesn’t say anything about what America will be doing…

Mr. Black quotes Trump as saying ““China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can't build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it. India can double their coal production. We're supposed to get rid of ours. Even Europe is allowed to continue construction of coal plants. In short, the agreement doesn't eliminate coal jobs. It just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States and ships them to foreign countries. This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.” Since no rebuke was provided to this statement, I assume that it is correct. So can anyone explain how this is good for America and its workers?

“The U.S. gave this climate change bank account $1 billion for the first year.” So it’s a billion that can be spent in America…

“The Paris agreement does indeed try to pressure rich countries to pay more to reduce carbon emissions, and imposes tougher goals on advanced countries to reduce their emissions more quickly. If the purpose of the deal is to make money, it’s a raw deal for America and the other rich countries of the world…” First, as was noted in the article earlier, nothing is “imposed” since everything is good will offering. Second, why should America do more than China or India if we already pay by buying their goods and labor? And third, it is not about making money; it is about not losing it and about people having jobs…

“Kolbert wrote that “on an aggregate basis [the U.S.] is responsible for more of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere than any other country…” OK, it is also most likely responsible for more innovations and advancements than any other country – should it be taken into account?

So, at the end, what difference does this agreement make? How is pulling out so bad and dangerous? If California wants to make living there even more expensive, it can put more regulations there… And all environmentalists can still advocate for renewable energy sources and invest as much as they want into it… And if it is good business, maybe we will meet and even exceed the Paris Accord goals… as apparently two NPR guests said…

What is it with the

What is it with the conservative romance with coal? Face the financial fact--it is noncompetitive with natural gas in terms of price (and cleanliness). Why do conservatives want to hobble the US economy with an expensive, dirty fuel ?

You talk about innovation--why do conservatives hate innovation in solar, wind and other energy forms ? Given that solar and wind are now cheaper than coal--why do conservatives want to stop the innovations in the US that are driven by the demands of the US market? Why do conservatives want US consumers to have reduced choice? Why do "free-market" conservatives hate the independence of a dispersed energy economy ?

Conservatives may want to beat a dead horse, but don't force the US economy to support the buggy-whip manufacturers to do so.

Misunderstanding

Where do you get an idea that conservatives like coal? Who said I like coal? I don’t care so long as it is the economic factors that kick it out of business, not government decrees… And I think solar, wind, tide, and all other renewable power is great… and if they are cheaper than coal, so be it and coal will die. But it should be a natural death, not a murder. No one wants to stop the innovation, just the unnecessary (by your own account) government interference.

Read the news--the economics

Read the news--the economics of natural gas kicked the bottom out of coal for power generation. That happens at least 4 or 5 years ago.

But hey, all we hear about is coal, coal, coal from the conservatives.

And as for China --the government is very worried about civil unrest due to the extreme pollution due to coal-powered industry and they are moving as fast as they can to alternatives.

(quote)

Responding to the air pollution crisis, China’s central government has made some monumental strides. It is estimated that by 2020, over 15 percent of China’s energy capacity will come from non-fossil fuel sources, and the country is the clear global leader when it comes to renewable energy.

The most wind energy capacity in the world is in China.

The most solar energy capacity in the world is in China.

The most hydropower capacity in the world is in China.

However, the most coal-fired energy capacity in the world is also in China....

...“The entire coal power overcapacity situation has been caused by the fact that power generation from coal has hardly increased since 2011 and has been falling since 2013. This is the biggest climate story in the world - China's coal demand is actually likely to have peaked in 2013, almost a decade ahead of targets,” Myllyvirta said.

“In other words, they've overshot, they've overshot their capacity requirements by a significant amount already,” Harvey concurred. “In my opinion, coal usage has already peaked in China, I would foresee the breaks being put down on coal construction and a lot of those plans for plants not being completed or built at all.”

Last year, China’s coal consumption dropped 3.7% while coal imports plunged 30.4%.

“The massive over-investment in coal-fired power is a wasted opportunity to deploy clean energy even faster, and overcapacity is exacerbating the problem of ‘wasted’ wind and solar power, as grid operators fail to prioritize renewable energy sources over coal,” Myllyvirta opined.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2016/07/08/if-china-is-so-commi...

(end quote)

It's a fast changing world that leave the dinosaurs of the conservative movement far behind.

So once again, why do conservatives hate free-market innovation, clean dispersed power generation ?

Why do they try to rig the economy and government in favor of the buggy-whip manufacturers ?

Why is it so important to support pollution and environmental degradation ?

I do

“Read the news--the economics of natural gas kicked the bottom out of coal for power generation. That happens at least 4 or 5 years ago. But hey, all we hear about is coal, coal, coal from the conservatives.” Sure, thanks to fracking (which has been bitterly opposed by Democrats, by the way) gas is now much cheaper than coal in most cases… But in some cases coal is still a viable alternative and government should not kill it – that is why the conversation revolves around coal, not because conservatives are in love with it (even though liberals hate it). And are you quoting Lauri Myllyvirta from the Greenpeace? Don’t you think he has some agenda?

“So once again, why do conservatives hate free-market innovation, clean dispersed power generation? Why do they try to rig the economy and government in favor of the buggy-whip manufacturers? Why is it so important to support pollution and environmental degradation?” Let me reply as clearly as I can. Conservatives like free-market innovations and that is why they want free market to decide when clean power generation will replace coal. No, they do not try to rig the economy – only government can and setting too strict limitations is rigging economy. No one supports pollution and environmental degradation – waiting for a few more years before coal is economically not viable is not it…

Strange

By the way, it seems weird to accuse conservatives of not wanting to conserve the Earth – don’t they love their families and children and grandchildren? Do they want them to die from global warming? OK, this seems silly so another option is that conservatives are so stupid and uneducated that they don’t understand how the global warming works and why it is dangerous. Well, my bet is that majority of millennials don’t know the science of greenhouse effect and yet they are the loudest supporters of “protecting the Earth.” So it is perfectly possible and actually quite likely that many conservatives understand the science; they just don’t buy into 100 year projections based on imperfect computer models that don’t take into account all the unknowns of the next 100 years…

Priceless

Complain that liberals are painting conservatives as evil and/or stupid, whilst proclaiming liberals (millenials being the preferred stand in for liberalism these days) are stupid and/or vapid and shallow.

I always have logic and facts...

Sure, but I explain why it is so and give facts and logic to support that… You chose to respond to this post, not the previous one because facts are indisputable.

What Conservatives Want

"[D]on’t they love their families and children and grandchildren? Do they want them to die from global warming?" Families and grandchildren don't enter into the calculus here. What conservatives want is to stick it to liberals. It doesn't matter what it is, or how it's done. They are contrarians who are incapable of articulating what they want except in terms of getting back at the left. Why else do you think they are such spectacular failures at anything resembling real governance?

"So it is perfectly possible and actually quite likely that many conservatives understand the science; they just don’t buy into 100 year projections based on imperfect computer models that don’t take into account all the unknowns of the next 100 years…" Let's look at a little different area, to show how well conservatives "understand" the facts. It has been shown that tax cuts for the wealthy do not promote prosperity, and that high taxes are not necessarily a drag on the economy. Yet the Republican Party continues to push tax cuts tilted at upper-income taxpayers as the key to their economic plans. They can try to defend this policy on moral grounds, but instead, they keep insisting that, if we just cut taxes on billionaires, it will be all peace, prosperity, and health, with private bliss and public wealth as bonuses. The fact hat this has never been borne out in practice doesn't deter them one little bit. So why should I think that they have sound scientific reasons for denying global warming?

What a generalization

“Families and grandchildren don't enter into the calculus here. What conservatives want is to stick it to liberals. It doesn't matter what it is, or how it's done. They are contrarians who are incapable of articulating what they want except in terms of getting back at the left.” So conservatives are monsters who want to punish liberals even if their own children die? On the other hand, don’t liberals want to stick it to Trump and conservatives – isn’t it what has been going on for half a year now?

“Let's look at a little different area, to show how well conservatives "understand" the facts. It has been shown that tax cuts for the wealthy do not promote prosperity, and that high taxes are not necessarily a drag on the economy.” Actually, it has not been shown and there is a difference of opinions here… However, it has definitely been shown that letting government run everything is very bad indeed – there has never been an example to the contrary… On the other hand, economics is not a precise science… physics is… but predicting events a hundred years forward is not science at all and has never worked… and that is what they are denying, not the physics and chemistry.

Generalization

"So conservatives are monsters who want to punish liberals even if their own children die? " I honestly believe that they don't pay too much attention to the consequences. Sticking it to the liberals is all important.

This morning, we see that the Trump administration is rolling back some OSHA rules promulgated by the Obama administration. Why? Because they love the working people who are protected by these rules?

"On the other hand, don’t liberals want to stick it to Trump and conservatives – isn’t it what has been going on for half a year now?" And how much effect has it had?

"Actually, it has not been shown and there is a difference of opinions here…" Actually, it has been shown. Look at the marginal tax rates during the postwar expansion. I'm not saying that the higher tax rates caused the expansion, but the evidence is undeniable that it did not stop it.

"However, it has definitely been shown that letting government run everything is very bad indeed – there has never been an example to the contrary…" I re-read my post a couple of times, and did not see that I ever advocated having the government run everything.

“I honestly believe that they

“I honestly believe that they don't pay too much attention to the consequences. Sticking it to the liberals is all important.” I have no doubts that you honestly believe this but quite often beliefs are not a true reflection of facts… And, as I said, I can clearly see that liberals are trying to stick it to conservatives as much as, if not more than, conservatives… And yes, it has a huge effect – preventing Trump from doing what he wants and, quite often, what the country needs…

“This morning, we see that the Trump administration is rolling back some OSHA rules promulgated by the Obama administration. Why?" I don’t know specifics but can guess with high certainty that the point is to limit regulations that are a hindrance for businesses…

“Actually, it has been shown. Look at the marginal tax rates during the postwar expansion. I'm not saying that the higher tax rates caused the expansion, but the evidence is undeniable that it did not stop it.” Or postwar expansion was so strong (due to external reasons) that high tax rate just slowed it down but not stopped…

“I re-read my post a couple of times, and did not see that I ever advocated having the government run everything.” True, but your common thread is that we have to rely more and more on government… and let it dictate things to us.

Guess With High Certainty!

"I don’t know specifics but can guess with high certainty that the point is to limit regulations that are a hindrance for businesses…" Right, because we want to give businesses the unhindered right to expose employees to toxic chemicals. We also want to make information about workplace safety and health enforcement difficult to find. Not that conservatives are evil, or anything.

"Or postwar expansion was so strong (due to external reasons) that high tax rate just slowed it down but not stopped…" Did that happen in the 90s, under the Clinton tax increase? What happened during the GW Bush administration--tell me again how his tax cuts produced economic growth.

"True, but your common thread is that we have to rely more and more on government… and let it dictate things to us." I don't recall ever intimating anything of the kind. Are you implying that we can rely on the private sector to be sure everything is fine?

Not at all

“Right, because we want to give businesses the unhindered right to expose employees to toxic chemicals.” No, because most employers do not expose anyone to toxic chemicals and many OSHA requirements are overkill. Employers, you know, are not evil…

“What happened during the GW Bush administration--tell me again how his tax cuts produced economic growth.” He had to deal with 9/11… Didn’t Reagan’s policies produce growth? Still considering that he had to deal with the Soviet Union… And why is the State of New York is cutting taxes?

“I don't recall ever intimating anything of the kind. Are you implying that we can rely on the private sector to be sure everything is fine?” You constantly say that government should establish more and more rules to reign in the business and the wealthy… And take care of health care… and ban coal… I am not saying that there should be no rules but I am saying that at some point there is a point when there are too many of them and we are very close to that point if not beyond it…

A Request

I'm losing interest in this thread and have no intention of replying further, but I would ask that, in the future, you refrain from putting words in my mouth. I have never called for "banning coal," and saying that I "constantly say that government should establish more and more rules to reign in the business and the wealthy" is at once an exaggeration and misstatement of what I have said.

Thank you.

My apologies

Clinton said that she would kill coal and it seems that many liberals would gladly do that as well along with more and more government control. I do not know your exact position so I apologize that it might seem that I attributed these specific ideas to you but I actually made a general statement about socialism which I did many times before. However, I also have a request: Please do not put thoughts into conservatives’ (and my) heads such as “families and grandchildren don't enter into the calculus here. What conservatives want is to stick it to liberals. It doesn't matter what it is, or how it's done. They are contrarians who are incapable of articulating what they want except in terms of getting back at the left.” I would appreciate this a lot and it will allow for a better discussion.

It's the typical polluter's

It's the typical polluter's dilemma--they say "of course we want a clean environment" followed closely behind by "but don't make me work in a way compatible with a clean environment". And, dismantle the structures that have ensured that the US has a cleaner environment than China.

It's always best for the individual bottom line to shed costs onto someone else. That is the where the conservatives are at--lip-service to environment and then limit regulations and shed costs onto others. So they worry about the money that they can pass on to their children more than the environment they are forcing them to live in.

And, by the way, while you talk about 100 year projections, the new climate future is coming much much faster than that. You can believe it or not, but a majority already are aware of the changes that have already occurred. It will happen regardless of what Illya says or thinks.

I do it anyway

“It's the typical polluter's dilemma--they say "of course we want a clean environment" followed closely behind by "but don't make me work in a way compatible with a clean environment." Sure, don’t make me – I’ll do it on my own (and better than when I am forced). Because “making” people do something never really works well…

“And, by the way, while you talk about 100 year projections, the new climate future is coming much much faster than that. You can believe it or not, but a majority already are aware of the changes that have already occurred.” What changes? I have not really noticed much except lack of major hurricanes for quite a few years now… Remember, weather is not the same as climate..

Making people do things never really works well

Like making kids go to school.

Like making kids go to bed three or four hours before they want to.

Like making people get driver's licenses and car insurance.

Like making them drive less than 100 mph on city streets and highways.

Like making people use bathrooms in public places.

Like making people keep regular appointments with probation officers, pay fines or go to jail if they're caught violating any of the thousands of laws most have seemed to agree on over the years.

When a person thinks about it, there's a long long list of things we are "made to do" every day that we rarely notice or think about.

I'm pretty sure the things on that list got on it because the majority of history's people figured out (through their "less than optimal," school of hard knocks experiences and note-comparing) that it would be a good idea to put agreed upon governors on the engines of our natural inclination to want to do what we want at all times without interference from anyone or anything.

At this point in history it seems a majority of today's people are saying it MIGHT be a good idea to cut back on the array of poisons we keep manufacturing and pumping into our (one and only) environment for the sake of Money.

Money's okay (better than trading 40 or 50 chickens for two or three goats, etc.) but there's a vocal minority of people who seem convinced (to their bones) that putting ANY limits on ANYbody's (allegedly) legal efforts to, or means of, making as much of it as they can is as big a moral failing as any of the seven deadly sins.

Because it pops right into my mind, an example of that kind of thing (and making people do things they don't want to do) was our president's involvement in the money-making venture known as "Trump University." The idea behind it -- the "sizzle" that was sold -- was, for a reasonable amount of tuition, that institution would teach interested parties the True Secrets of making the kind of money our president made in real estate.

But that institution was made to do something it didn't want to do: It was made to stop; go out of business; give those who saw themselves as taken advantage of and stolen from some of their money back. And, I believe, while not admitting to any wrongdoing whatsoever, our president was made to write a check for somewhere around $20 million to cover his end of "satisfying the complaint": Something I'm almost sure he would have rather not have been made to do.

Was that an example of "government overreach"? A case of over-regulation and, most importantly, was it an example of making people do things they don't want to do not working well?

Was it an example of something we, as a society, should not have made that organization and president do because, if we hadn't, things would have worked out much better for those who had signed up for TU's classes?

If the stream runs through my property should I not be able to dump drain oil, old batteries, worn out tires or truckloads of livestock manure into it without radical liberal environmentalists getting on my case?

Or, on a larger scale, if I'm the owner of a chemical factory, oil refinery or coal-fired power plant and the private property it sits on, should I not be allowed to dispose of my process's by-products any way I see fit without any regulatory interference?

According to your logic, it seems you think things would work out better for all concerned if no one tried to make me do anything I didn't want to do when it comes to my business practices.

I'm not sure, but I think that kind of logic played a role in the Cuyahoga River (in Ohio) catching fire in 1969 which, I believe, was instrumental in a past (Republican) president, Richard Nixon, seeing to it that the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts were put into law and that the Environmental Protection Agency was set up to enforce those laws.

https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/63#.WThBUMYzXIw

Talk about the government doing something to make a WHOLE lot of people do something they didn't want to do! Those people didn't want to stop doing what they were doing and, as this topic demonstrates, they've been fighting that "infringement on their rights" ever since.

It seems you're saying everyone in Ohio would have been better off had the government not interfered and just let that river fire burn itself out because making people do something never really works well.

That may be, and it's probably just a coincidence, but I don't think any rivers in America have caught fire since.

Not exactly

All your examples are either about kids who don’t know any better or about what most people do because they think it is the right thing to do (I highly doubt that many people think it is a good idea to drive a 100 MPH on city streets or pee in the bushes) so those rules are actually making very few people do things and the rest don’t think of them because they do it anyway. But when rules are written to make everyone do things without their willingness to do so, we get Socialism and we all know how it works. So yes, people have figured out that government is necessary but history shows that too much of that reverses the advantages of having government in the first place.

“there's a vocal minority of people who seem convinced (to their bones) that putting ANY limits on ANYbody's (allegedly) legal efforts to, or means of, making as much of it as they can is as big a moral failing as any of the seven deadly sins” Sure, and there are also people who think that government is evil and must be abolished… Those people are called anarchists and they are part of all left wing demonstrations…

“If the stream runs through my property should I not be able to dump drain oil, old batteries, worn out tires or truckloads of livestock manure into it without radical liberal environmentalists getting on my case?” No, you should not… but you should be allowed to swim in that stream without being told that your body produces too much oil and is polluting the river… Seriously, practically anything and everything has optimal point: it gets better to certain level and then it gets worth… Forcing regulations that would put coal totally out of business now if it will happen in a few years anyway because of better energy sources to found and developed is an overkill…

Let's have a treaty....

The Paris agreement is used to affect a huge portion of America's economy. This was signed by our former president, not our benevolent dictator, without input from the American people, congress, or the Senate.

Those who love democracy and our representative republic should demand that we have an official treaty. The American people, through their Senators, need to have a say when such actions are taken by a President.

The arrogance of those who advocate this agreement and it's importance should have the moral courage to advocate that our representatives have a say in such a far reaching "agreement." The anguish of pulling out of this "important agreement" only argues for the American people having a voice.

Sure

Right after we eliminate the GOP majorities in Congress. But its not those folks represented by liberals that you're talking about, is it...Look, we get it, conservatives would prefer the letters EPA to denote Every Polluter Allowed, but you realize you aren't the only ones with opinions on the subject, right? Well, you have your chance, environmental degradation is gonna get a shot of steroids in the next few years, I hope you lot will at least be able to muster the self respect to acknowledge the lack of job growth that will accompany it, admit your misjudgment. I doubt it, though. As always, the rest of us will attempt to clean up your mess when it all hits the fan, lord knows you won't.

Majority DO support Paris agreement....

Where do you get your "alternative facts" from ?

(quote)

By more than 5 to 1, voters say the U.S. should participate in the Paris climate agreement.

In a nationally representative survey conducted last November after the election, we found that seven in 10 registered voters say the U.S. should participate in the Paris climate agreement. Only 13 percent say the U.S. should not.

Majorities of Democrats and Independents, as well as half of Republicans, say the U.S. should participate. Only conservative Republicans are split, with marginally more saying the U.S. should participate than saying we should not.

By nearly 2 to 1, Trump voters say the U.S. should participate in the Paris Agreement. Almost half of Trump's voters say the U.S. should participate, compared with only 28 percent who say the U.S. should not.

We have also found that a majority of Americans in all 50 states say that the U.S. should participate in the Paris climate agreement.

Even states with the lowest levels of popular support – West Virginia (52 percent support), North Dakota (56 percent) and Kentucky (56 percent) – have a majority of citizens who say the U.S. should participate in the global agreement. So do the states that provided President Trump with his electoral win: Pennsylvania (68 percent), Michigan (65 percent) and Wisconsin (64 percent).

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-06-01/a-biparti...

(end quote)

So whose interests are the Trump representing ??

So first, it is non-binding

So first, it is non-binding so no one can guarantee that China or Russia would do their part (and history shows that western democracies are much better at keeping their words than those countries so all bets are off). Second, it is based on what each country chose to offer meaning that pulling out of that doesn’t say anything about what America will be doing…

President Trump, complains that the Paris accords are both draconian and non binding. Then he goes on to complain that these draconian measures are insufficiently binding on others. Well which is it? But the issues Mr. Trump raise are of concern, he just hasn't give any thought to what those concerns are. In this, as in much else, Mr. Trump is simply mouthing talking points that he hasn't bothered to understand.

Yes, indeed sovereignty is an issue, both for us and for others. Just like we do, other countries are cautious about making binding promises to politicians they don't for. We see that in the discussions over NATO, and we see that where environmental issues concerned. The various world leaders are elected by their voters, they aren't employees in one of Donald Trump's hotels, something Mr. Trump shows no signs of understanding.

There is nothing to be gained from Mr. Trump's withdrawal from the community of nations. The problems won't go away, nor will the community of nations. All Mr. Trump has done is work to limit America's influence in a process that will continue with a less effective voice from America.

Please forget for a moment

Please forget for a moment what Trump is saying; think of what I said: by all account this agreement, non-binding and voluntarily, is just another “feel good” paper which most likely will never be really implemented by most of the world except environment conscious Western Europe… But America will have to pay to some fund to help developing countries which probably produce a fraction of a percent of total pollution and which will use the money to enrich their governments, like it always happens in the “community of nations.”

Fell Good?

"On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade"

Aggressive goals are how we advance as a nation. Trump's goals are to go back in time, soon we will find ourselves back in caves.

I agree

“Aggressive goals are how we advance as a nation.” I totally agree… I just don’t think the world community was forcing Kennedy to set that goal…

"Please forget for a moment what Trump is saying"

I would love to do that, and do it for more than just a moment. Unfortunately, he is the President so we can't ignore him.

We should, but we can't.

I am thinking...

So terrorism is all over, North Korea has nukes and is projecting to have ICBM in 3 to 5 years, over half a million people dead in Syria, inevitable earthquake is threatening to destroy the entire California – and we are supposed to think that climate change is the greatest threat to us?

On the other hand, let’s look at the logic of the whole thing. According to liberals, renewable sources are cheaper than coal AND big businesses care about money only. Logically then, big businesses will jump on this opportunity and abandon coal in droves; ergo, Paris Agreement is totally unnecessary and leaving it will not cause any harm…

Seems

You state the obvious: Industry has been moving away from coal for over probably 100 years. There is no war against coal, any more than there is a war against using wood in your fireplace. As a kid they delivered coal to residential houses, than fuel oil, now natural gas, moving to solar, because it is more environmentally friendly, and that is not a bad thing, (in this person's thinking). That change is called progress, and gained through the use of science, the same science they use to study climate. Or is semiconductor technology, thermodynamics, metallurgy, materials, lasers, etc. all junk science as well as climate science? .

The real question is: Why are you so against working with other countries, scientists etc. when the upside is a less polluted environment? "unnecessary" that is quite the leap of faith, given that 95% of the scientific community suggests we accelerate our efforts to clean up the environment, i.e. all we have to lose is our planet, "spaceship earth" and nowhere else to go, So "unnecessary" coming off a blog post relative to the global science community, does not seem like a fair piece of valid logic, nor reasonable, relative to the fatal potential consequences for life on earth because of climate impact.

Let's be more practical

Of course it is the obvious… So I don’t get it why liberals accuse conservatives of loving coal and fighting against solar power… And why they are so upset that Trump pulled out of Paris agreement if coal is losing anyway…

“The real question is: Why are you so against working with other countries, scientists etc. when the upside is a less polluted environment?” I am not against working with other countries provided they are honest, keep their promises, and don’t try to take advantage of us. I just don’t see it often… In this case we have to pay billions of dollars which will go to coffins of third world dictators… On the other hand, all other countries will be reducing pollution not because they want to go along with America but because they think they will benefit, one way or the other; and if not, they will not do it… Everyone is acting out of perceived self-interests. Again, our participation is irrelevant. If a car is moving on its own, whether you push it or not is irrelevant…

“So "unnecessary" coming off a blog post relative to the global science community, does not seem like a fair piece of valid logic, nor reasonable, relative to the fatal potential consequences for life on earth because of climate impact.” I listed at least four potential threats that will occur much sooner than climate problems… Shouldn’t we be more practical?

1 Point

It is not obvious to Trump!

It looks like he does

Actually Trump does understand this – that is why he pulled out.

Sorry bud, unless you have a

Sorry bud, unless you have a "back-up" planet in mind--it is the biggest threat to humanity and it is something that can be, and must be, tackled now. Your statement is exactly why people end up thinking the modern "conservative" doesn't give a damn about the climate and environment their children will live in.

It's only been a tiny sliver of time on earth where the environment has been such to support human life (all all of the remaining and extinct species that evolved with us). The rest of the time not so much, and sometimes it was downright inimical to virtually every from of life.