Friday, June 2, 2017

PolitiFact -- Fact-checking Donald Trump's statement withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement

President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement was loaded with misplaced blame and faulty reasoning to backup his decision. “Our President is on a quest to remake America in his own image, a nation that does not believe in facts and screws over allies, says Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California

Robert Reich remarks on some of Trump’s “whoppers”:

1. "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."

False. Under the Paris agreement, each country publicly declares how much it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and what it will do to get there. In fact, China has actually taken steps to stop building coal plants. China has cut its use of coal three years in a row.

2. "Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree -- think of that; this much -- Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount."

Misleading. Tackling climate problems depends on taking a series of incremental steps to reduce carbon emissions. Pulling out of the Paris agreement would require even bigger future reductions.

3. "At 1 percent growth, renewable sources of energy can meet some of our domestic demand. But at 3 or 4 percent growth, which I expect, we need all forms of available American energy, or our country will be at grave risk of brownouts and blackouts."

Baloney. Economic growth stems from population growth and improvements in productivity. Neither of these factors will drive 3 percent or 4 percent growth in the U.S, regardless.

4. "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."

Rubbish. The Paris accord doesn’t even mention the word coal, nor does it do anything to put a global moratorium on coal. Each signatory sets its own goals and has to report on its progress. India has committed to reduce emissions 33 to 35 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.

We have a president who will say anything. Anything.

[And] Here’s another whopper from Trump: "Beyond the severe energy restrictions inflicted by the Paris accord, it includes yet another scheme to redistribute wealth out of the United States through the so-called 'green climate fund' — nice name — which calls for developed countries to send $100 billion to developing countries," Trump said.

Absolute nonsense.

In the Paris Accord, all developed countries (not just the United States) promised to eventually raise $100 billion a year globally to help developing countries mitigate climate change.

The United States has already given the Green Climate Fund $1 billion already. Trump described this amount as "costing the United States a vast fortune.” Rubbish, it's a rounding error in a budget where total federal spending in the 2016 fiscal year was $3.9 trillion.

There are many reasons this fund makes sense. First, it’s only fair. So far, the largest global polluters by far have been developed nations like the United States.

Moreover, fast-growing countries like India are building the next generation of power plants, and the Paris Agreement won't work unless they decide to forgo dirtier forms of energy like coal. The goal of the funding is to help nudge developing countries towards cleaner energy like wind and solar instead.

If the funding succeeds in lowering emissions and preventing a major temperature increase, the United States reaps the economic benefits as well.

And by helping countries that are especially vulnerable prepare for the effects of climate change, we would prevent or minimize future refugee crises that could destabilize regions and spill over into the developed world.

But Trump is taking us out of the accord.

Know the facts. Spread the truth.

Fact-checking Donald Trump's statement withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement

By Jon Greenberg