By Phil Kerpen
One of the central themes of President Donald Trump’s campaign was the need to extricate the United States from international agreements that hurt American jobs and unfairly disadvantage American companies versus foreign competitors. Another major theme was the promise to reverse Obama’s regulatory power grabs that dramatically expanded government control over our lives without the approval of Congress. Those two themes came together in a very concrete promise when Trump said: “We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”
So why hasn’t it happened yet? Public reports indicate that there is an ongoing pitched battle between the president’s top advisers on whether he should keep his campaign promise or abandon it. And my own private sources in the administration believe the promise-breakers may be gaining the upper hand.
Their argument is that America can remain in the agreement while revising its draconian emissions reduction goals in order to “keep a seat at the table.” Bad idea.
The Paris treaty effectively bans coal-fired power plants in the United States while China has 368 coal plants under construction and over 800 in the planning stage. India's coal production under the deal is allowed to double by 2020 – and they are likely to have emissions much higher than what they promised. Even Europe is allowed to build coal plants. It forces Americans to endure painful cuts while the rest of the world continues with business as usual.
Even worse, American taxpayers will be forced to cough up $100 billion in climate-related foreign aid by 2020, with the promise of much more to follow.
As Trump observed on the stump:
“President Obama entered the United States into the Paris Climate Accords – unilaterally, and without the permission of Congress. This agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use right here in America.”
The idea that we could adjust how draconian the cuts are and remain in the agreement depends on a dicey matter of legal interpretation.
Article 4.11 of the Paris treaty says “A Party may at any time adjust its existing nationally determined contribution with a view to enhancing its level of ambition.”
Is easing off the energy rationing by allowing higher emissions enhancing ambition? Maybe, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Moreover, with the EPA undertaking an effort to reverse Obama-era regulations designed to make electricity prices necessary skyrocket via draconian emissions cuts, accepting the validity of the Paris agreement will hand environmentalist groups and state attorneys general a powerful weapon that could derail the entire deregulatory effort. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, for instance, almost certainly has the issue fully briefed.
State Department lawyers insist these concerns can be ignored. White House Counsel Don McGahn reportedly disagrees and sees these as very real vulnerabilities – and who can doubt that the environmentalists and liberal state AGs are likely to find the most anti-Trump judges they can to see things their...
Today the FCC voted 2-1 on party lines to begin accepting public comment on a proposal to reverse the 2015 Obama administration order reducing the Internet to a regulated public utility and returning to the previous light-touch policy.
“We commend Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Mike O’Rielly for standing up to an onslaught of misinformation, smears, and attacks from the radical left – including physical intimidation of the chairman’s home and family,” said American Commitment president Phil Kerpen.
“The Obama administration directed Tom Wheeler to adopt a plan to regulate the Internet under Title II that empowers federal bureaucrats to overrule consumers and deny them choices of products, services, and applications,” Kerpen said. “The order is already undermining investment, and if a Democrat had won the presidential election we would already be seeing popular services banned. The American people chose a different path, a president and in turn, an FCC chairman, committed to deregulation, free markets, and empowering individual Americans.”
The clearest statement of what’s at stake comes from the founder of the principal liberal advocacy group that supports the Obama/Wheeler regulations, from an interview he gave several years ago with a Canadian socialist website called The Bullet.
“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet,” Free Press founder and current board member Robert McChesney said. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
“Today’s vote at the FCC is a key step back from Free Press’s goal of a government-controlled Internet,” Phil Kerpen said. “The FCC should consider it confirmation that they are doing the right thing for economic freedom that Free Press and its fellow travelers were yelling and screaming outside the FCC as today’s vote was taking place.”