President Donald Trump announced his contentious decision to opt out of the Paris Agreement by revealing stats that show devastating economic impacts if the U.S. chose to stay in the climate change treaty.
However, as usual, when it comes to Trump, these stats are not exactly true.
On Thursday, the president declared his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement would protect American jobs.
“Compliance with the terms of the Paris accord, and the owners, could cost Americans as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs, not what we need. Believe me, this is not what we need,” he said.
He also cited a number of negative stats, including a “$3 trillion in lowered GDP and 6.5 million industrial jobs, while households would have $7,000 less income and in many cases, much worse than that.”
However, his argument doesn’t hold water, especially because the stats were taken from National Economics Research Associates (NERA) and are unrealistic.
The report was commissioned by the American Council for Capital Formation (whose board includes prominent Republicans) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce , which have been called “unabashed apologists for America’s biggest climate polluters.”
NERA created an improbable model of the U.S. economy if the country were to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as it pledged in the Paris climate agreement. Experts assert the study assumed the energy industry won’t innovate to the new regulations to keep the costs down and would not increase clean energy generation. It also didn’t account for jobs these new adjustments would create.
“None of the outfits that are modeled in this model would stay in business in the real economy for more than 10 or 15 years,” said Gary Yohe, a professor of economics and environmental studies at Wesleyan University. “That’s why even massive oil producers like Exxon and Conoco support the Paris climate agreement — they’re adapting to a changing economy.”
Consequently, saying 2.7 million people will lose their jobs is a huge overstatement because they are not accounting for jobs that clean energy has created. Stats support this by reporting jobs in the solar sector grew by 25 percent and in the wind industry energy by 32 percent in 2016 as companies shifted towards sustainable energy sources.
In fact, even as 1.1 million people work in coal, oil and gas industries, another 800,000 people have jobs in low-carbon emitting business like renewable fuel, natural gas or nuclear power technologies, according to the Department of Energy.
Another thing the study itself acknowledged is the potential benefit from emissions that have been avoided.
“The study results are not a benefit-cost analysis of climate change,” the report asserted. This means the devastating numbers had not been balanced against another model, one that showed the possible gains to the U.S. economy by attempting to prevent climate change.
In fact, Trump’s statement also contradicted the long-term forecast by the U.S. Department of Energy. If former President Barack Obama’s energy regulations were to be implemented, the U.S. energy generation would continue to grow through 2040.
Natural gas production would increase and account for 40 percent of the United States energy production. Even oil yield would continue till 2025 and then level off as drillers move towards less-productive areas. Green energy production would also grow as sustainable resources become cheaper because of support to wind and solar energy.
Just listened to Trump on the leaving the Paris agreement, incoherent, dark, with debunked stats. Vintage Trump.— george dombalagian (@george7841) June 1, 2017
Only 28 percent of trump voters wanted to end the Paris Agreement. 😃 pic.twitter.com/1CZoa0KBuP— Tina Dupuy (@TinaDupuy) June 2, 2017
Here's a fun fact: EVEN NORTH KOREA IS PART OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT THAT TRUMP JUST VOWED TO WITHDRAW FROM— Ben (@BenCrick) June 2, 2017
looks like details are emerging regarding Trump's alternative to the Paris agreement pic.twitter.com/MU3Oi81AoN— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) June 2, 2017
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters