US States and Local Governments, Embrace Climate Change At Your Own Risk

When President Trump announced that he was pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Democrats and environmentalists erupted in outrage. But in addition to attacking Trump on the floor of Congress and in their endless sea of press releases, Democrats have now begun to take action.

On June 1st, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and California Governor Jerry Brown announced the creation of the “United States Climate Alliance.” This group’s members now currently include eleven states (Washington, Oregon, California, Minnesota, Hawaii, Virginia, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Delaware), Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. These states and other members have all promised to work together to combat climate change and yes, their one common strand is they all have Democrat administrations.

Another alliance has also formed with more than thirty US cities as well as universities and public institutions also promising to work together on fighting climate change. Meanwhile, California Governor Jerry Brown went on a trip to China to meet with Chinese national officials and concluded his meeting by signing a memorandum between China and California to work towards carbon emissions reductions along the original timeline proposed by the Paris Climate Agreement.

Lastly, a few days ago, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed a law that adopts the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and establishes it as law for the State of Hawaii. In all these accounts, the reporters authoring the stories or sometimes even the politicians themselves being interviewed portray all of this activity as a way of snubbing the White House and getting even with President Trump for pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

But what Democrats and environmental activists do not understand is that their actions perfectly play into the Republicans’ hand. The argument of whether climate change regulations are a state or federal matter will be for another day, but in this case, the actions being taken represent their respective constituencies. During the campaign, Trump had very specifically campaigned on pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement and he won election. So in respect for that as well as perhaps a few other reasons, Trump pulled the US out.

However, many of these Democratic governors, legislatures, mayors, and governments are in areas where large levels of their constituents support and believe that climate change is real, and are willing to sacrifice economic progress for greater regulations. In my opinion, more power to them. If California wants to increase its already restrictive environmental regulations, then all that will do is push their major employers and manufacturers into the arms of states with less regulation like Arizona, Nevada, or Utah, resulting in job losses which in turn will have a long term negative effect on their economy.

Rather than bring down the entire US economy and stint the economic growth we are currently experiencing, let’s let individual states and local governments experiment with “trying to save our planet” and when their economies tank, let’s see if they keep playing the same tune. More likely however, they’ll blame Donald Trump even though they alone got themselves into this mess. Pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement wasn’t about trying to make the entire nation stop fighting climate change, it was about making sure all of us aren’t required to sacrifice our jobs and income for a fight that a few believe in.

Follow Publius Tacitus on Twitter at @PCTacitus

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