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Yesterday the President of the United States Donald J Trump decided to remove
the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, something that was agreed to
by basically every country on earth except for Syria and Nicaragua Syria in
war and Nicaragua because they didn't think it went far enough.
Now this just baffles me, I'm trying to understand the reasons for why you would do this,
why withdraw from this agreement but none of the stated reasons make any sense to me
so in this video I'm going to break down the top five bad reasons I've heard
for why the US is withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.
Okay, number one is because it is bad for the US economy. The U.S. set a target of reducing their
emissions from 2005 levels by 26 to 28 percent by 2025, and they've already
reduced the emissions by around 12 to 14 percent. So maybe it's fair enough to say
if you wanted to implement some really strict policies and really curb
emissions there might be a way to do harm to the economy in the process but
here's the thing, the Paris agreement is completely non-binding.
So if the president didn't want to implement any policies to curb emissions
that would be fine and he's not going to be president in 2025 anyway so I mean
what does it matter there's a non-binding agreement there are no
repercussions no one has to do anything it's mainly just a goal it's a target
that target in itself is not going to harm the US economy and all of this
ignores the fact that the world is moving towards cleaner, greener tech
innovation there's going to be a lot of investment in that area, estimates of
multiple trillions of dollars being invested in this so if you're a country
that doesn't embrace reductions in emissions then actually you might miss
out on investment opportunities new innovations and you might lose the
opportunity to be a world leader and that might actually hurt the GDP and if
you look at the Canadian province of British Columbia for example they
implemented a carbon tax and reduced per capita fossil fuel use by about 20 percent
compared to the rest of Canada meanwhile
their GDP grew at the same rate as the rest of the country so there isn't a lot
of evidence to suggest that reducing emissions, directly causes a downturn in the economy.
Which brings us to number two, well the free market should decide
what technologies take off, what innovations happen
the money, the smart money should go where the good investment opportunities
are the government shouldn't be deciding who should win and who should lose
and that we should change to a cleaner greener economy, that is a very American
viewpoint on the world and I like it, I like this idea that markets are smart
and they'll put money where it pays returns the problem is this market has
never been fair and the reason why is because co2 has not been considered
really a pollutant up until now and to be fair co2 doesn't really seem like a
pollutant and if you're just emitting a little bit of it there's no problem the
problem comes when we totally change the amount of co2 in the atmosphere and
only then because co2 has this effect of trapping infrared radiation,
something scientists figured out you know more than 100 years ago. So here's the problem,
people have been emitting co2 which in small amounts is really not a big deal
but in large amounts can cause some damage, damage in the form of more
intense storms and droughts and people have to pay for that so there is a cost
actually associated with emitting co2 except right now that cost is not being
borne by the emitters of co2, it's being borne by the whole world and that makes
the markets not on a level playing field. I mean the analogy for this would be
let's say there's one company that disposes of its pollution appropriately
and that cost some money and so paying this company is more expensive than
paying another company which just dumps its pollution in a river and you know
leaves the rest of the communities downstream to deal with it.
in that market it's not fair because people will go to the cheaper option and they're
only cheaper because they're polluting for free, so in order for free markets to
decide and make a fair decision all I'm saying is we need to factor in the cost
of the pollution. This makes cleaner technology way more competitive and
so yeah let's go for a free market solution but let's make sure the market is truly fair first.
Number three, China and India don't have to reduce their emissions so
why should the United States? Ok well the truth about this is that China and India
are setting targets under the Paris agreement to reduce their emissions but
that is per unit of GDP. With the idea that these countries are still
developing they're still going to grow a lot and so it seems pretty unfair to
curb their emissions so strictly right now, whereas the US is the biggest
historic emitter of carbon dioxide they've emitted about 30% of the total
excess carbon dioxide that is now in the atmosphere
Europe's also emitted about 30% and that has made those countries very rich and
very capable of changing their economies into less polluting economies so the
idea here is that what seems most fair is for the countries that contributed
most of the problem to start to take action first and also because their
economies can deal with it they're rich enough and also the economies of the US
and Europe don't depend very much on just a lot of energy I mean a lot of the
sectors like you know financial and technology and innovation they don't
require tons of energy to to get going, not like building the infrastructure in
in India and China are going to require in order to lift all of those
populations out of poverty so I think it seems pretty fair for the US and Europe
to go first I don't think this is a part where you point to a country that hasn't
really contributed much the problem say well why aren't they changing first before we do it.
If you created the problem you need to be one of the first to try to fix it.
Number four, the Paris agreement wouldn't do anything to help
climate change anyway, now while it's true that under the current emissions
targets that have been set we're not guaranteed to limit warming to under two
degrees Celsius which is what most experts think is kind of a safe level
but it is an important starting point it is all the countries of the world
virtually coming together to agree to do something and I think once people start
taking action to try to achieve these goals we're going to find that it just
gets easier to try to lower our emissions so I think the Paris agreement
is really a floor not a ceiling on what we can do in terms of reducing our
emissions and it's really an important first step and I don't see how anything
is gained by leaving it. Number five; he had to withdraw from the Paris agreement
because it's politically unpopular here in the U.S. That is actually just not
true depending on what poll you look at roughly seven out of ten Americans think
that we should still be in the agreement and
60% of swing voters think that it's good to be part of the deal and even half of
Republicans wanted to stay in so what really is gained here I think there's
certainly a portion of Trumps base that wanted to see him withdraw from this
agreement it's something he can point to is a campaign pledge that's been
fulfilled and it'll definitely energize that base but beyond that it's hard to
see how this is going to raise his approval ratings much which currently
sit around 39% and that brings me to bonus reason
number six which perhaps is the real reason that he did this and it was to
piss off the opposition. He wanted a whole bunch of environmentalists whipped
into a frenzy so that he could point at them and say look how crazy these people
are and how much they prefer the trees and birds and stuff like that over jobs
and the economy and things that people really should care about. The problem is
I mean that relies on people believing that you know these sorts of agreements
would be bad for the economy which I think you can demonstrate from the
evidence that they're not, so I think the best response to this decision is not to
get angry or inflamed or you know go nuts about it because I think that's
kind of maybe why he did it in the first place I think the best reaction is one
that we're already seeing, that people around the U.S. cities, states, leaders
business leaders are all agreeing to work with each other to make sure that
the U.S. meets its responsibilities under the Paris climate agreement
whether the federal government actually, you know signs it, ratifies it or not and
I think that might be the best outcome here if Trump becomes marginalized and
people no longer look to his leadership that might just make him feel small
which is probably the thing he would hate the most.