The Penalty is Shame. Trump Can Begin Paris Pullout

November 3, 2019


“Discrediting US Leadership” is another key Putin goal.

Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — For more than two years President Donald Trump has talked about pulling the United States out of the landmark Paris climate agreement . Starting Monday he finally can do something about it.

Even then, though, the withdrawal process takes a year and wouldn’t become official until at least the day after the 2020 presidential election.

In the Paris agreement, nearly 200 countries set their own national targets for reducing or controlling pollution of heat-trapping gases. It was negotiated in 2015 with lots of prodding by the United States and China and went into effect Nov. 4, 2016.

The terms of the deal say no country can withdraw in the first three years. So Monday is the first time the U.S. could actually start the withdrawal process, which begins with a letter to the United Nations. And it doesn’t become official for a year after that, which leads to the day after the election.

If someone other than Trump wins in 2020, the next president could get back in the deal in just 30 days and plan to cut carbon pollution, said Andrew Light, a former Obama State Department climate negotiator now at the nonprofit World Resources Institute.

Light and other experts say the withdrawal by the United States, the second biggest climate polluter and world’s largest economy, will hurt efforts to fight global warming.

“Global objectives can’t be met unless everybody does their part and the U.S. has to play the game,” said Appalachian State University environmental sciences professor Gregg Marland, who is part of a global effort to track carbon dioxide emissions. “We’re the second biggest player. What happens to the game if we take our ball and go home?”

Someone else, probably the biggest polluter China, will take over leadership in the global fight, said MIT economist Jake Jacoby, who co-founded the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

The penalty for the U.S. “is not in economic loss. The penalty is in shame, in discrediting U.S. leadership,” Jacoby said.

Asked what the U.S. plans next, State Department spokesman James Dewey on Friday emailed only this: “The U.S. position with respect to the Paris Agreement has not changed. The United States intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.”


The agreement set goals of preventing another 0.9 degrees (0.5 degrees Celsius) to 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) of warming from current levels. Even the pledges made in 2015 weren’t enough to prevent those levels of warming.

The deal calls for nations to come up with more ambitious pollution cuts every five years, starting in November 2020 in at a meeting in Scotland. Because of the expected withdrawal, the U.S. role in 2020 negotiations will be reduced, Light said.

Climate change, caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas, has already warmed the world by 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) since the late 1800s, caused massive melting of ice globally, triggered weather extremes and changed ocean chemistry. And scientists say, depending on how much carbon dioxide is emitted, it will only get worse by the end of the century with temperatures jumping by several degrees and oceans rising by close to three feet (1 meter).

Trump has been promising to pull out of the Paris deal since 2017, often mischaracterizing the terms of the agreement, which are voluntary. In October, he called it a massive wealth transfer from America to other nations and said it was one-sided

That’s not the case, experts said.

For example, the U.S. goal — set by Barack Obama’s administration — had been to reduce carbon dioxide emission in 2025 by 26% to 28% compared to 2005 levels. This translates to about 15% compared to 1990 levels.

The European Union’s goal was to cut carbon pollution in 2030 by 40% compared to 1990 levels, which is greater than America’s pledge, said Stanford University’s Rob Jackson, who chairs the Global Carbon Project, a group of scientists that track carbon emissions worldwide. The United Kingdom has already exceeded that goal, he said.

“The U.S. agreement is not a tax on the American people. There is no massive wealth transfer,” said Climate Advisers CEO Nigel Purvis, who was a lead State Department climate negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. “In fact, the agreement obligates no country to make any financial payments.”

Formally getting out of the Paris agreement is bad, but at this point after years of rhetoric is more symbolic than anything, said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb. She said she is more worried about other Trump carbon pollution actions, such as fighting California’s tougher emissions and mileage standards and rollbacks of coal fired power plant regulations.

The U.S. was not on track to reach its Paris pledge, according to the federal Energy Information Administration’s latest projections.

The EIA projects that in 2025 emissions will be at 4959 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 17% below 2005 levels, about 500 million tons short of the goal. Emissions in 2018 were nearly 2% higher than in 2016, the agency’s latest energy outlook says. That spike likely was from extreme weather and economic growth, Marland and Jacoby said.


Our overheating planet is splitting the Grand Old Party. Recent surveys suggest that Generation Z and Millennial Republicans care about the climate much more than their elders — and, get this, maybe as much as younger Democrats do.

It’s no secret that Republicans and Democrats aren’t on the same page when it comes to human-caused global warming. But a new poll suggests that Republicans and Democrats between 18 and 38 might as well be in the same party. Any red-vs-blue difference between them “virtually disappears,” according to the survey from Ipsos and Newsy. (It only asked about climate change, not the many other topics that split the two parties.)

This budding concern for the environment has some GOP strategists reportedly saying they’re seriously worried about losing voters to Democrats in 2020, and many are advising their party to adapt to the situation.

Millennials and Gen Zers from both parties had strikingly similar responses in the Ipsos survey, which polled roughly 2,000 U.S. adults about their positions on global warming and climate policies in May. Some 77 percent of younger Republicans said that climate change is a serious threat, one percentage point more than Democrats in the same age range. Meanwhile, the survey revealed a deep chasm in opinion among older folks: 51 percent of Republicans over age 39 agreed the problem was a serious threat compared with 95 percent of Democrats.

Support for a federal carbon tax, further restrictions on methane emissions, and a national renewable energy standard was virtually identical among both Gen Z and Millennials of both parties, with a gap of 2 percentage points or less on each response.

The poll found a slightly bigger gap over support for a Green New Deal, a yet-to-be-determined set of policies aimed at taking on the climate crisis. Yet again, clear majorities of younger generations from both parties supported it: 59 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats. (Some 40 percent of white evangelicals, the GOP’s core base, back it, according to a poll from earlier this summer.)

This startling shift is supported by another recent survey conducted by Glocalities, an Amsterdam-based polling agency, which concluded that 67 percent of Republican voters aged 18 to 34 are worried about the damage humans are causing the planet — an 18 percent jump in just five years.

The increasing number of young Republicans waking up to our planetary catastrophe could have “serious implications” for the GOP, said Martijn Lampert, a research director at Glocalities, in a press release. He attributed the shift to younger Republicans’ more favorable attitudes toward science, the media, and higher education compared to older members of their party. He also noted that increasingly severe wildfires, droughts, and floods, along with Christians’ moral obligation to care for the planet and the people on it, may be playing a role.

Whatever the motivation, it’s clear that elected Republican representatives are increasingly out of step with voters on climate change, a divide exacerbated by the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine science and environmental regulations.


18 Responses to “The Penalty is Shame. Trump Can Begin Paris Pullout”

  1. renewableguy Says:

    Drove my Tesla Model S to Springfield and back to lobby my State representative and Senator for an Illinois Law called CEJA. (clean energy jobs act).

    Home town to Springfield is 176 miles and I have about a 200 comfortable mile range on my car. Stopping in Bloomington Normal on the way and on the way back took about an hour and a half more than traveling by gas. Getting to the supercharger in town and then back out added on time. While waiting to charge up used the facilities in Blooington Normal town hall, took a short nap and moved on. !st hour of parking was free and then $1 per hour after that. Both directions parking was free. The cool weather on oct. 29th shortened up the range of the car somewhat, so I drove 60 mph both directions.

    My car has a 70kw-hr battery bank. During cold weather I get around 3 miles per kw-hr and during warm weather I can get 4 miles per kw-hr. Tesla doesn’t make battery banks that small now for the Model S.

    Trump’s stupidity for the power of the presidency just is confounding. The technology is here now to adapt to earths limits of climate. I can’t wait for the transition out of this nightmare.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      I wouldn’t expect cool weather to reduce battery capacity, unless you ran the seat or steering wheel heaters?

      • renewableguy Says:

        By this graph there is a small amount of capacity is lost.

        At the least, the car uses a heater to keep battery capacity higher while traveling. I don’t know the power draw to do that. I usually have a seat heater going. I keep the energy app going to show me my average power draw while driving. Watching my power draw, my energy use out of the battery bank goes up during winter.

    • mboli Says:

      If you are plugging your electric car into the electric grid in Illinois, the emissions footprint is a little discouraging. We live in one of the dirtier areas of the country.

      Gasoline produces 8.89 kg of CO2 per gallon.

      — Region SRMW emissions: 0.736 kg/kwh, so 12.1 kwh of electricity is equal to about 1 gal of gasoline
      — Region RFCW emissions: 0.625 kg/kwh, so 14.2 kwh of electricity is equal to about 1 gal of gasoline.

      Region RFCW includes the greater Chicago area and a strip across northern IL.
      Region SRMW includes the rest of the state.

      Assuming 3.5 miles per kwh for your Tesla S, and 10% loss from charging, that means your car has the emissions footprint of about 38 MPG (region SRMW) and 45 MPG (region RFCW).

      As a resident of RFCW I was quite motivated to perform this calculation before I bought my plug-in hybrid. The good news is that public electricity infrastructure is steadily improving. The above numbers are from the 2016 eGRID database. The 2018 eGRID numbers are due out next year, they will be better.

      • renewableguy Says:

        I used union of concerned scientists estimate for our area and I tell people I get the same pollution rate as a Prius. I also buy 100% renewable energy for our home third party. Basically I have a car about the size of a Chevy Impala that gets the same pollution rate as a Prius. I use this car as my work car and it is very useable and practical to carry things to my different jobs.

        • Gingerbaker Says:

          Sounds like you are being too hard on yourself. If you have 100% RE electricity, 98% of the time you are getting infinity mpg. 🙂

        • mboli Says:

          Yes! The Union of Concerned Scientists web site is not working nowadays. But they use eGrid (it’s the only dataset around) and somehow they have the electric efficiency of all the plug-in cars. Their estimate for my plug-in Prius is not much different from what I have been observing.

          So basically I was somewhat disappointed, but decided it was worthwhile to buy the car anyway.

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    USA! USA! USA!

    Since most of the CO2 and other GHGs that reached the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial era are still up there warming the Earth, cumulative emissions are what matter most. US leadership in this regard is uncontested.
    USA! USA! USA!

    Bar Chart Race
    Largest Cumulative Emissions by Country, 1850-2018

    • J4Zonian Says:

      Oops. Since 1750, that is.

    • Cummulatieve CO2-emissions don’t matter. Most of this already felt out of the atmosphere. For the near future only presentday emissions matter and for the far future only the co2 that has not been emmited but saved by using renewables.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        Say what?

        CO2 takes thousands of years to be scrubbed from the atmosphere by natural means.

        Perhaps you can explain?

        • J4Zonian Says:

          The explanation for that is usually that the person wants to blame China and India rather than the US. Facts don’t matter; only the feelings of rich white dudes are important. (Notice the Freudian typo hinting at that? The 2nd one, that is. The first…I prefer not to think about. Raymond seems to have some issues to work out with his or her…typing coach.)

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            I don’t even understand the 2nd error – “felt”?!?

            The first one I enjoyed, though – reminded me to renew my Patreon payment to YouPorn. j/k

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      Future emissions are the important ones. Also rates per person are what count. Huge rates by India and China etc, are used as an excuse for ‘we’ first’ worlders to maintain our high emitting lifestyle. Using administrative areas is only useful for progress, or otherwise, statistics. Am constantly hearing how anything Oz does has no effect because we are so few, and China is the problem. This despite we being about 5 times them per capita.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        Dirty skies and full lunch buckets
        Or The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past.

        We need to discuss “important”. Future emissions are the only ones we can change, so they feel important to activists. But they’re abstract and unknowable, so hard for others to think about. Thus part of our problem getting people to do something. Awareness of the possibility of how high those emissions could go, and the effects of that, should compel us to act urgently, while awareness of cumulative past emissions by rich white people should make us aware of the connection between pollution and what we think of as “prosperity”. Since the only true wealth is healthy people in a healthy biosphere, that other might be better thought of as exploitation–colonialism of lands, people, nature, minds, philosophies, law… They should also make us aware of the differential responsibility for past emissions that determine who’s obligated to pay how much to reduce future emissions. (Since future emissions are the only ones we can change.) Obviously, those who have “benefited” most by the carbon still wafting in the skies, still warming us are the ones who have to pay most. Past carbon dioxide isn’t even past.

        I read an article many years ago in Coevolution Quarterly called “The Gift Must Always Move”

        Click to access 06-17-09_The-Gift-Must-Always-Move_SFS.pdf

        that began to teach me the difference between economics and reality, between ownership and participation. The US and Europe, compelled to weaponize carbon by dissatisfaction that became addiction, have accumulated the most wealth. Contrary to what physics tells us, that wealth is carbon compressed by pressure into gold. It’s formed into ships, guns, armies, Bastiatian philosophies and law, and lopsided treaties, and back into fear embedded in the system by use and threat of all those.

        Emissions are an indicator of the amount of disconnection from feelings–of compassion, ‘animistic’ identity, guilt…

        Per capita emissions tell us who, individually, who can pay how much; national emissions tell us what levers have to be pushed to accomplish all of what we need. The first thing we need is the ability to keep all of those in our minds at the same time.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        This helps by showing a number of ideas at once. It has a bunch of good things but uses a 2°C carbon budget. Really, we were way over budget by the time we passed 1° and we can see the effects all around us; the graphic should be redone to reflect that.

        And btw, the race graphic starts in 1850 after all; 2 dates in the text are wrong but once the animation gets going it’s apparently apparent it’s 1850. Someone might fix that, too.

  3. al mar Says:

    The Penalty is Shame… and sadly Trump is shameless.

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