Fact Check: 5 grievous lies Donald Trump told to justify America’s exit from Paris Climate Agreement

President Trump struck another item off his campaign pledge list as he finally withdrew America from the Paris Climate Accord on the 1st June, to the immense disappointment of party nations, all 194 of them.

President Trump referred to the Paris Accord as “the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States, to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers, who I love, and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lowered wages, shuttered factories and vastly diminished economic production.”

So, for love of country and people, Trump pulled out the United States from the Paris Accord and its “draconian financial and economic burdens”.

Anyone familiar with Trump’s speeches is aware that they are usually riddled with lies, half-truths, and statements cited out of context. The justification he presented to the world for pulling out of Paris was no different.

This is a roundup of some falsehoods he put forth in justifying his decision to leave the accord:

Thus as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund, which is costing the United States a vast fortune. Compliance with the terms of the Paris Accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as $2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs – not what we need, believe me, this is not what we need.

According to NPR, the Green Climate Fund is a “planned assistance fund that would transfer aid from developed nations to developing nations. The goal is a continuing fund of $100 billion a year starting in 2020.” 43 nations pledged monetary contributions to the fund, which collectively amount to $10.13 billion. President Obama committed the US to $3 billion, out of which $1 billion has been paid. “The fund’s “pledge tracker” states that the U.S. contribution is “[s]ubject to the availability of funds”, and because the agreement is totally non-binding, NPR Environment Editor, Jennifer Ludden is confident the “White House could easily have stayed in the Paris accord”, without paying into the climate fund. After all, Trump’s budget proposal does not include those payments.

As for the cost to jobs cited by National Economic Research Associates, Washington Post and Politifact recommend taking these figures with a pinch of salt. Apparently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council for Capital Formation, who are the backers of NERA, are foes of the Paris Accord. The NERA March 2017 study, upon which these statistics were derived, makes assumptions which the Post explains. On the flip side, the NERA model ignores the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the technologies that will affect the economy positively.

 “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.”

This is false. No country was bound and gagged to participate in the Accord. Furthermore, each nation set its own targets. Nothing prevents or permits countries from undertaking specific actions. What each country committed to doing to reduce carbon emissions is nonbinding and there are no liabilities for breaking their commitments. In actual fact, China has taken measures to stop building coal plants. In January, China stopped construction of 103 new coal-fired plants. The move sidelined scores of projects where work had already begun and put 120 gigawatts of capacity on hold. Between the effects of an economic slowdown and an effort to move toward less-polluting sources, China has cut its use of coal three years in a row.”

Moreso, market forces have seen to the closure of more coal plants. According to Gary Cohn, chairman of Trump’s National Economic Council, “coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore as a feedstock. Natural gas, which we have become an abundant producer, which we’re going to become a major exporter of, is such a cleaner fuel.”

“The green fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars of which the United States has already handed over $1 billion. Nobody else is even close. Most of them haven’t even paid anything — including funds raided out of America’s budget for the war against terrorism. That’s where they came.”

 

This is false. As earlier stated, 45 countries pledged contributions toward the Green Climate Fund, developed countries more than others; and the US did hand over $1 billion out of its $3 billion commitment. The second part of Trump’s speech “implies that the money was taken out of U.S. defense monies. But the U.S. contributions were paid out of the State Department’s Economic Support Fund, one of the foreign assistance programs to promote economic or political stability based on U.S. strategic interests.”

“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.”

Again, Trump is speaking out of context. Yes, India does have plans to double their production of coal. The Paris Agreement does not bar them from doing so. It doesn’t even mention the word coal. In 2015, Anil Swarup, a top bureaucrat in the coal ministry told Reuters, “(But) our dependence on coal will continue. There are no other alternatives available.” However, the doubling of India’s coal production is subject to land acquisition and environment clearance, which has not taken place yet.

Besides, all parties to the Paris Agreement have what’s known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution toward the goal of reducing carbon emissions, and in keeping with that, India “said it would follow a path of low-carbon commitment in tandem with its national laws and development agenda, including eradication of poverty. India also committed to reducing emissions 33 to 35 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.”

“Believe me, we have massive legal liability if we stay in. As president, I have one obligation, and that obligation is to the American people. The Paris accord would undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty, impose unacceptable legal risk and put us at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world.”

According to Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University,  Trump has it backwards. “Withdrawal may actually create a greater likelihood of success in lawsuits challenging government inaction, Burger said. “So not only is he wrong, he actually has it backwards.”

Washington Post explains that “Trump is referring to concerns raised by White House counsel Don McGahn that staying in the Paris agreement would bolster legal arguments of climate advocates challenging Trump’s decision to roll back the Clean Power Plan,” an environmental regulatory rule of the Obama administration which is crucial to the US meeting their Paris targets, but which is under litigation and therefore on hold. State Department lawyers disagree with McGhan and UCLA environmental lawyer, James Salzman, said this point blank: “No. It is not true. There is no liability mechanism under the Paris Agreement. There was language in the agreement about loss and damage from climate change but the accompanying decision text stated clearly that this does not provide a basis of liability and compensation for claims. Ironically, this text had been added to address U.S. concerns.”

Bonus

“As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States, which is what it does.”

This takes the cake! Trump is not big on the environment, as this Washington Post Fact Check shows. Quite the opposite, actually. “Environmentalists have criticised Trump’s plans to build a golf course on protected sand dunes and chopping down hundreds of trees for a golf course renovation.” Although one of Trump’s properties, the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., received an award for “environmental stewardship through golf course maintenance, construction, education and research in 2007, three years later, the golf course was cited for a series of environmental violations. In our Dummies Guide, we explained that Trump has called global warming a scam. So no, Trump cannot suddenly lay claim to have a love for the environment as justification for pulling out America from the Paris deal.

VOX reporter, , was so blown away by Trump’s deceptions, he had to pen down a critique. World leaders did not hold back their tongues when they flayed Trump for his decision.

[Read also]: “The Thread: That is nuts” “F–king morons” | Americans blast Trump for pulling out of the Paris climate agreement”


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