So, the US is out of the Paris agreement, and the world is reacting in abject horror. We’ve just been going through his speech and, unsurprisingly, the President made some rather extraordinary claims. Here’s a selection of the strangest, along with a smattering of corrections.
“The world went crazy when the Paris agreement was signed. They went wild. This was because it placed America at a serious economic disadvantage.”
This is essentially a new conspiracy theory. Trump used to continually tell people that climate change was a massive Chinese-led hoax, but he dropped this claim as of late. Now, Trump’s claiming that the world wants to steal America’s money via this agreement – rather than, you know, save the planet and safeguard their children and grandchildren.
“China can do whatever they want. They can build coal plants, and we can’t.”
China and America can both do whatever they want. China is choosing to gradually switch out coal in favor of nuclear, solar, and wind power. America is choosing to shoot itself in the foot.
“This agreement is less about the climate and more countries gaining a financial advantage to the United States.”
Well, ironically, by pulling out of the pact, other countries will gain a financial advantage. Their clean energy markets will continue to produce new jobs, increase efficiency, and save money on climate change prevention measures. America will foot an enormous bill in comparison by attempting to resuscitate the dying coal industry.
“So we’re getting out, but we’ll start to negotiate, to see if we can make a deal that’s fair. If we can that’s great, if we can’t that’s fine.”
Trump here is essentially saying that it is irrelevant whether the US is in any climate change prevention agreement or not. This is the equivalent of saying: “I’m starving. If I get food, great. If not, who cares.”
“In order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the US will withdraw from the Paris climate accord.”
By withdrawing from the Paris accord, he is making the US a lonely place that will be economically and climatologically hammered as a direct result.
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
Yeah – that’s where the agreement was forged and signed. The agreement itself is not all about Paris, obviously.
Trump also claimed that the agreement is preventing the development of “clean coal”, something that does not exist. (Clean coal is a form of low-carbon coal. He might as well have said that the Paris agreement is preventing America from researching ghosts and pixies.)
“Even if the Paris agreement was implemented in full, it is estimated that it would implement two-tenths of a degree of temperature reduction by 2100.”
The agreement’s text was designed to take in the world’s best science on the subject. If fully implemented, the world’s warming will be restricted to no more than 2°C (3.6°F) by 2100. Currently, we’re on about 1°C (1.8°F) since the Industrial Revolution. So we have 1 degree to prevent, which means Trump is off by a factor of five.
Then again, numbers were never his strong point.
“We don’t want other countries laughing at us.”
Good luck with that one, Donald.