It’s easy to distill Donald Trump’s decision on the Paris Climate Agreement down to the fact that, like a coddled toddler, he ascertained that as president no one could make him do it.
Easy to deduce that, like a smart 3-year-old, he rejected peas and carrots because, yuck.
The thing is, if that was Trump’s mindset, he’d have explained it in terms any 3-year-old could understand.
Instead, Trump laid out his decision with a whole bunch of words that amounted to (1) a Gatling gun of lies or (2) a sophomoric attempt to explain something way over his head.
First, the lies (for a full review, Google “Trump” “Paris” and “fact check,” but reserve some time):
Even for one who has established himself as the least credible person ever to rise to his position – with only 36 percent of Americans telling Gallup they find him trustworthy – his statement about the Paris agreement was a tour de farce.
Washington Post reporters shredded his factual claims, the biggest being that the agreement tied U.S. hands while giving the Chinese free rein to “do whatever they want.”
Not true. “From the start,” reports the Post, “the agreement was designed to have the kind of plasticity Trump seemed to be seeking by allowing nations to choose the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions they were willing to cut.”
That’s “tremendous flexibility with no penalties,” explained Columbia University environmental law professor Michael Gerard.
Gerard added, “Trump obviously didn’t read the Paris agreement, and his statement was written by people who willfully misrepresented its content – his staff or his lobbyist friends.”
Then there’s the whole issue at hand: climate change — an issue on which Trump has had several positions, depending on what his audience wanted to hear, we can presume.
In the mode of one who isn’t ready to think big thoughts, Trump appears disinclined to think this whole thing through before embarrassing his country in the eyes of the world.
Yes, truly, this is Donald Trump against the planet on multiple planes. What good company we have found with Nicaragua and Syria. However, let us not forget that the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to ratify the Paris accords.
But, wait. Someone phone Sen. James Inhofe and the “hoax” chorus.
Climate deniers surely rubbed their ears to hear Trump imply in his statement that reducing emissions might actually do something, temperature-wise:
“Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance, it is estimated that it would only produce a one degree – think of that, this much – Celsius reduction in global temperatures by the year 2100.” (MIT analysis says the agreement, if fully enforced, would reduce the planet’s warming by a full degree.)
Ah, so are you saying climate change can be mitigated by emissions cuts, Mr. President? Or are you plying the made-in-China hoax you were telling us about on the campaign trail?
More likely, as Vice President Pence says, it is just part of the “climate change agenda” pushed by liberals because, hey, that’s what liberals do. They conspire to get masses of climate experts to agree with them, and they march on Washington to make everyone uncomfortable.
The problem, America, is that we are trying to parse the words of a man who is at a loss for them, and whose command of facts makes words immaterial.
As David Brooks writes in The New York Times, “At base Trump is an infantalist. . . Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency.”
In other words, we’re out of the Paris Accords because, yuck.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.