We Won’t Always Have Paris, Thank Goodness


In light of Dan Yorke’s surprising incredulity that Mike Stenhouse would be satisfied with President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, I was happy to come across Roger Kimball’s shared glee over the withdrawal and the ensuing lunacy from the Left:

Hysteria on the Left was universal. But as many cooler-headed commentators observed, one of the really amusing things is that the Paris Accord means exactly nothing. Since it requires nothing of its signatories, it will yield nothing from them. As an editorial in The Wall Street Journal pointed out, “amid the outrage, the aggrieved still haven’t gotten around to resolving the central Paris contradiction, which is that it promises to be Earth-saving but fails on its own terms. It is a pledge of phony progress.”

Kimball offers two things that Paris does do, though.  First is offering people an opportunity for cheap-to-them virtue signaling.

The second reason for the hysteria follows from the one serious effect of the climate accord. It has nothing to do with saving the environment. Every candid observer understands that the real end of the accord is not helping “the environment” but handicapping the developed countries. At its core, the accord is intended as a mechanism to redistribute wealth by hampering countries like the United States from exploiting its energy resources and growing its economy. Hamstring the United States, but let countries like China and India—industrial strength polluters, both—do whatever they want.

Like many international agreements, the unspoken subtext of the Paris Climate Accord is “hamper America. Grab as much of its wealth as you can. Say it’s in the name of ‘fairness.’”

The irony is that the Left is throwing around terms like “traitorous” and “betrayal,” which makes me think of Indiana Jones.  Kimball quotes left-wing billionaire political activist Tom Steyer on the first term; I’ve noted our own Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s using the second, conspicuously just a few days after the mega-donor’s statement.  And yet, they’re using those words to describe an action that, from the perspective of many conservatives, puts working Americans’ interests first.

That’s a strange sort of betrayal, if your loyalty is to Americans.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Justin, you must be an old movie expert. “We’ll always have Paris”, that’s “Casablanca” isn’t it? I watched the Indian Jones clip. Compare with “American Graffiti” notice the dental work on Harrison Ford. To discourage groupies, Clark Gable used to take his teeth out.

    Paris Accord, I can’t understand why we signed up in the first place.

  • BasicCaruso

    That noise you hear is the sound of dollars and influence leaving the U.S.


    “I think China will have a real opportunity to step up and basically say to the rest of the world or the rest of the developing world, ‘Hey, the United States promised you money. The United States is not delivering on that. We are. Who’s your friend now?’” says Selin. “So it sort of changes the balance. Whenever the Chinese provide money for overseas investment, their strings attached are going to be different from the strings attached, generally, by the United States and Europe. For instance, the Chinese are not too concerned about human rights.”

    Without the U.S. in the Paris agreement, China and others are likely to step in to take a larger leadership role. That could give Chinese renewable energy companies a boost in the global marketplace, and leave American companies farther behind because the U.S. doesn’t have a seat at the table in major negotiations.

    As the U.S. is no longer seen as a leader on climate, the loss of global influence could also pose a security threat. “We will lose influence with parts of the world where we have very transparent security concerns–in North Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia,” says Light. “I think that what’s going to happen, again, is that China, the Europeans, and others are going to step in and fill that gap. They’re going to get that influence, and the U.S. interest will suffer.”


    Kimball’s reply to that? “Er, OK.” Real deep thinking there.

  • BasicCaruso

    This is perhaps the most bizarre statement and interesting that Justin chose to quote it…

    “It has nothing to do with saving the environment. Every candid observer understands that the real end of the accord is not helping ‘the environment’ but handicapping the developed countries.”

    The only two countries not to sign on to the agreement are Syria, in the midst of a civil war, and Nicaragua which felt the agreement did not go far enough. Now the U.S. joins that group.

    Apparently Kimball thinks he understands the interests of developing countries better than they do themselves. Here’s Prime Minister Modi, clearly not able to grasp the handicapping nature of the agreement:


    What role do you see for India in ensuring the climate deal stays?

    This is India’s moment to show great global leadership. India needs to continue to do what it does best: innovate. India has a rich history of entrepreneurship and charting its own course. It’s the world’s largest democracy with a huge, vibrant civil society . By forging ahead with a shift to a greener and cleaner economy , it will be stronger and wealthier as a result.

    Trump said that the Paris Accord is not tough enough on India and China. Why is India becoming a target?

    It’s regrettable that climate action has been presented by President Trump as a kind of punitive transaction, because that’s simply not the case.

    • BasicCaruso

      Hmm, I guess I misread “developed” as “developing”. Notably though the Indian PM views the accord as a catalyst and boon for innovation, a sentiment shared by CEOS of many U.S. corporations…

      The criticism of Trump came from executives across many industries, and it was a sign of just how damaged the Trump brand has become, said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.

      Brinkley said the broad criticism of a president from so many CEOs, who by nature are cautious in their public comments, was very unusual.

      “It’s an absolutely bizarre and unprecedented moment in American history,” said Brinkley.

      • Mike678

        Thanks Russ :)

  • BasicCaruso

    “Trump used our research to justify pulling out of the Paris agreement. He got it wrong.”

    Because carbon dioxide is a global, not local, air pollutant, climate change is a problem that demands a global solution. I want to make clear to anyone who may have been misled by the White House’s talking points that MIT does not favor withdrawal, and that my program’s research does not support that action.

    • Mike678

      Thanks Russ. :):)