Another stop on the Hate Trump Hissy-Fit Express is the decision by a couple hundred cities and some states to vote to bind themselves to the Paris climate accords.
This is a bad idea on multiple fronts. We’ve already explained why Trump was absolutely correct to pull the United States out of the environmentally worthless but constitutionally alarming agreement.
But there are plenty of reasons aside from the general awfulness of the Paris accords for these cities and states to not take this step.
1) It’s a violation at least of the spirit of the U.S. Constitution — the contract binding the states together in a union. Constitutional scholar KrisAnne Hall recently wrote a piece explaining how states and cities cannot make contracts with foreign governments without breaking the contract of the Constitution between states — the Constitution that created the United States.
While these laws and ordinances may not be a technical violation of the Constitution — they are voluntary — but they are passably close. They do bind the city or state to them as long as the political entity chooses to remain a part of them. Like any agreement between democratic nations, they can be annulled with a vote of the nation’s representatives.
2) Another thorny constitutional issue: Which laws will these cities and states see as supreme? What will the cities and states do if the rules guiding the accords conflict with federal law in some way? Or state law or city code, for that matter? Do the Paris accords take precedence, or federal law? Considering what we’ve seen in the flagrant disregard for constitutionally authorized federal law through the sanctuary city actions, the answer does not seem as obvious and hopeful as it should.
Obviously, if the Paris accords are supreme — that is, if states and cities decide to violate federal law in order to adhere to their decision to bind themselves to the Paris agreement — then we do have a full-fledged breaking of the contract binding the states together. Unlike so much of the hyperbole surrounding every Trump tweet, this is an actual, true threat to the Union.
3) What is the cost of abiding by the Paris accords? Most cities are facing current and growing financial challenges stemming from overly generous benefits, unfunded pensions, ignored infrastructure and the future diminishment of the tax base through ongoing technological disruption.
The Paris accords are costly. Even in the rosiest scenarios, the costs are steep upfront but supposedly made up over time through energy savings. Whether those savings will ever materialize or not is another question — our money is on “not,” based on virtually every historic promise of government. But since the sensationalized verbiage says that the planet is doomed if we don’t make these changes, then the costs are almost irrelevant.
But if the doomsday predictions are off on climate change — and they have been so far — and the savings do not come through, then these cities and states are setting themselves up for major financial and services problems.
4) Let’s just clearly reiterate that all of this constitutional and financial risk is being promoted for an agreement that, by its own estimates, was not going to accomplish much in retarding the “global warming” threat.
The risk-reward of the agreement itself, holding true even further for the cities and states binding themselves to it, was just never a wise endeavor — even if you accept that climate change is now anthropogenically driven and not part of a broader planetary cycle.
5) This leads us to the final point. This looks a lot like leftist cause enthusiasm married to an opportunity to poke Trump in the eye. In that respect, this is perfect for 2017 American Democrats. Not coincidentally, all the cities and states taking these positions are Democrat dominated.
This gives every appearance of being pure pettiness, now a staple of the Left in this country. These are adopted with regular, heavily politicized anti-Trump shots. We can be quite sure that if President Obama had said he didn’t think the cost-benefit ratio of this is good for America, none of these cities would have passed their own laws to follow it.
Given all this, it just seems to be more of the ongoing strategy to diminish and undermine the duly elected President of the United States at every possible opportunity — at the risk of the union of the United States and the financial security of the cities and states involved. It’s tempting to say the citizens of these cities and states deserve better, but a majority of them elected those leaders.
So to the electorate: Caveat emptor!
Rod Thomson is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Revolutionary Act.