WASHINGTON (BP) — President Donald Trump has announced he will pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, making good on one of his campaign promises.
In the evangelical community, the June 1 announcement sparked renewed debate between two evangelical organizations on opposing sides of the climate debate — the Cornwall Alliance and the Evangelical Environmental Alliance.
Trump described the 195-country agreement from December 2015 as a job killer that’s unfair to American taxpayers. “So we’re getting out — but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” Trump said.
All but two countries — Syria and Nicaragua — signed on to the accord and President Barack Obama touted it as a key diplomatic victory for his administration.
Trump said he cares about protecting the environment but insisted the Paris accord is “less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.”
Cornwall Alliance founder and national spokesman E. Calvin Beisner affirmed Trump’s exit from the accord, which he said took courage in the face of pressure from many world leaders. An outcry of numerous political and environmental leaders and street protests followed the president’s announcement.
“Not only Americans but people all over the world should celebrate,” Beisner said, calling it “the right decision” in a news release posted at the website of the evangelical organization that has been a regular critic of climate change claims.
“It’s right because, as former NASA scientist and leading climate alarmist Dr. James Hansen put it, the Paris agreement is ‘a fraud, really, a fake … just worthless words,'” Beisner said.
The Cornwall Alliance news release expanded on Hansen’s words, noting, “… even assuming climate alarmists are right and human emissions of carbon dioxide are driving dangerous global warming, full implementation of the Paris agreement throughout this century would be of no help to the environment or to people. Instead, it would be harmful to both.
“And as President Trump said today, the Paris agreement is predicted by its proponents to ‘reduce global temperature by no more than 2 tenths of a degree Celsius.’ That reduction would cost $23 to $46 trillion per tenth of a degree Fahrenheit — an amount that will have no effect on the environment or human wellbeing.”
“It would trap billions in poverty for decades to come,” Beisner said in the news release.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in his weekday podcast The Briefing, “Oftentimes in this heated controversy you will hear the two positions sometimes reduced to simply the scientists and the science deniers. But that doesn’t reflect upon the fact that the science itself is predicated upon a worldview, and that worldview in so many ways is very clear in seeing human beings as the problem and denying any kind of divine purpose to the creation, not to mention to the role of human beings within.”
Meanwhile, the Evangelical Environmental Network’s top two leaders, CEO Mitch Hescox and executive vice president Jim Ball, called Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord “a profoundly foolish and arrogant act.”
EEN’s Hescox and Ball said Americans “can still fulfill our pollution-reduction pledge even without the Trump Administration. Because the commitments … are voluntary, there is no reason our country still can’t work towards fulfilling our pledge. Since the Trump Administration won’t lead, governors and state legislatures and mayors and city councils and businesses and utilities and civic organizations and houses of worship and homeowners and individuals can come together, tally up our pollution reduction commitments, and present that information to the world.”
Hexcox and Ball asserted that “overcoming climate change, if done right, can create sustainable prosperity –- in large measure due to the clean energy transformation. Clean energy is a multi-trillion dollar opportunity for countries smart enough to make the necessary investments in basic and advanced R&D to spur invention and innovation. It will be a primary driver for economic prosperity in the future.”
The EEN leaders also noted that poor countries “have done nothing to create the problem, and yet they are seeing and will see the worst of the consequences. Our American values of fairness and compassion should lead our country to fulfill our commitment and continue to pay our share of the Green Climate Fund to help the poorest of the poor.”
The full text of Trump’s announcement can be accessed at http://cornwallalliance.org/2017/06/full-text-statement-by-president-trump-on-the-paris-climate-accord.