Yesterday, President Trump made a decision as far as the Paris Accord on global warming was concerned, at least the USA's involvement. The lead up to the decision, of course, was the real Sturm und Drang, with various leftists in Hollywood and the press wringing their hands and making absurd statements.
In essence, they were saying that if we were to pull out, it would show that we don't care about climate change, we don't care about Europe, we don't care about our place in the global community, blah, blah, blah. Look at the quotes -- every one of them was some version of the above.
And none of them actually talked about the accord itself, its verbiage, its terms, none of it.
In other words, the assumption was that if there is an accord, it is by definition a good one, and we should simply sign it and go along.
That's kind of like -- and this is my point -- when politicians here point out legislative votes by candidates against some bill and claim that they obviously must hate kittens, children, seniors, the environment, etc., because the topic of the bill was worthy.
Get the difference? There is intent, and there is legislation. You may want to improve the air and water -- we all do. You may want for everyone to have health insurance (not everyone actually thinks that's a good idea, but go with it). And you may be talking about something that is actually in the province of the Federal government to legislate.
But that doesn't mean that the proposed legislation is any good. It may carry unintended consequences, as most do, in the same way that every outcome of a pill, including the one for which it was prescribed, is a "side effect." It may simply be ineffective based on past implementations of its approach. It may be at the wrong level -- Federal instead of state or local.
So there are lots of reasons to vote against legislation without being opposed to its intent. More politicians need to say, in public, that they voted against Bill XYZ even though they support its goal, because, as written, that bill is bad legislation that will cause worse damage and/or not achieve the goal.
Such is it with the Paris global warming thing. Its goal of preventing, or slowing down, the rise in global temperatures is probably OK, at least according to people who don't want to have more farmland opened in Canada and Russia and palm trees in Oregon.
But the accord itself is a piece of crap. In that accord, each country set its own goals and its own methods for getting there. The goals could be -- and were in many cases -- qualitative, not quantitative, to where you could say that "We'll try really, really hard, and we sure commit to trying." Literally. The USA, under Barack Obama, signed up to all manner of metrics and goals that, if we subscribed to them, would render our products utterly uncompetitive and choke our economy, all for the "goal" of a fraction of a degree less rise by 2100.
And that, my friends, is without agreement on whether a rise mightn't actually be a good thing.
So I hoped that President Trump would simply dump the whole thing. Of course, he could have declared the accord to be a treaty and thus constitutionally subject to Senate approval. That would kill it, sure, but also give the left talking points in Senate races that the Republicans are set to do well in -- and have to.
So I hoped that the president would take it on himself, either to pull out of it by fiat, or to declare it an unratified treaty, void it and say he would not submit it to the Senate (to protect the Senate). But specifically I wanted him to make a good speech that explained that, despite the crowing in Hollywood and on the left, good intentions do not mean good legislation. Paris is a terrible document that would not achieve its own intent.
This accord was bad legislation, and we needed to get out of it. We won.
Copyright 2017 by Robert Sutton
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