The alleged unfairness of the Paris Climate Change agreement, according to President Trump, lies in its uneven demands for economic sacrifice for the U.S. and the consequent blow to our country’s economic growth.
It may once have been true that economic growth and carbon reduction could not be achieved at the same time, but it is not true now.
Statistics reveal that economic growth and carbon reduction can be — in fact, have been — achieved at the same time.
Devashree Saha, an economic researcher at the Brookings Institution, shared the good news last March in a conference call with Citizens’ Climate Lobby: the International Energy Agency could report that beginning in 2014, GDP trended upward in the U.S. and some 20 other nations while carbon emissions did not. In the United States, the news was even better. There have been four periods since 2000 when the GDP increased while emissions declined (from 2000 to 2001, from 2005 to 2006, from 2010 to 2012, and in 2015).
Aside from the fact of climate change itself, there is no more important fact than this economic one. No one wants to meet the Paris goals only to return to the misery of the Great Depression. It is now clear that we do not have to risk such economic calamity. The goal set at Paris is attainable.
Mark E. Neely Jr.,