A little over a year ago, I wrote that President Trump saved the planet when he pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. The decision, I argued, “enabled the free market to do exactly what liberals want: Empower individuals to better the environment” — without government intervention.
I was right.
As individuals, we are taking steps to protect the environment by choice — not by mandate — and going green is paying off.
According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest monthly energy report, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are at their lowest point since 1992. Per-capita carbon emissions are the lowest they’ve been since 1950.
We’re also outpacing our allies, many of whom criticized President Trump’s decision to put America first. In the last year alone, U.S. carbon emissions fell more than 0.5 percent, while European emissions rose 1.5 percent.
It’s the height of irony, given Europe’s virtue signaling last year. After President Trump shredded his predecessor’s unconstitutional “treaty,” the globalist leaders of France, Germany and Italy claimed it “cannot be renegotiated.” They referred to the “irreversible” agreement as a “vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies.”
The globalist decree would have left us spending trillions of dollars a year to mitigate a rise in global temperatures, without really mitigating it at all. The Paris climate agreement was expected to drop temperatures by one-fifth of a degree over the next century.
Apparently, it wasn’t such a “vital instrument” after all. Europe is failing to pull its weight as Americans cut pollution to historic lows.
The decline in U.S. carbon emissions is a testament to the free market’s enduring power. There is nothing more vital for environmental protection than our freedom to protect the environment as individuals — without Big Government and its endless red tape.
Anti-Trump liberals and conservatives alike are investing in renewable energy, choosing hybrid vehicles over gas-guzzlers and encouraging their neighbors to do the same. We’re cutting down on waste like never before. We’re reusing more than ever. And we’re recycling, recycling, recycling.
This year, the environmental industry is expected to grow five percent to $407 billion — without the Paris agreement. By 2020, the waste management segment alone is projected to surpass $70 billion in economic activity, with an average annual growth rate of 3.6 percent.
Corporate America is doing its part. Tesla is working on the world’s largest battery farm in the California desert, reaffirming its commitment to electric vehicles and an energy grid powered by renewable options. The new power plant will be capable of producing “up to 1.1 GWh” of electricity — enough energy for millions of homes.
Tesla isn’t alone. Last year, 19 companies announced deals with energy providers to build 2.78 gigawatts worth of solar and wind generating capacity. At least 22 companies in the Fortune 500 have committed to buying enough renewable energy to match 100 percent of their electricity use moving forward.
Earlier this year, oil and gas companies such as ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell met with Pope Francis to discuss climate change and put concrete solutions on the table. They’re backing up their words: ExxonMobil is developing renewable oils from genetically engineered algae, while Royal Dutch Shell vows to become a leading supplier of renewable electricity.
“Going green” is creating new jobs and new industries to boot. As always, free-market forces outperform the unfunded mandates and taxpayer-funded, job-killing enforcement bureaucracies of Big Government.
Even as the Left demands more environmental regulations, President Trump is wise to side with the free market. When individuals are free to choose when and how to adjust their daily lives to protect the environment — without government compulsion requiring it — the environment reaps the benefits. When private enterprise is free to experiment and innovate, we see a stronger economy and a real commitment to environmental action.
President Trump understands environmental protection is impossible without individual action and private innovation. It’s because of free enterprise the environmental industry is as large as it is today and growing.
By protecting individual freedom from government regulation, President Trump is saving our jobs — and the environment to boot.
Dan Backer is a veteran campaign counsel who has worked for more than 100 candidates, PACs, and political organizations, including Great America PAC and the Committee to Defend the President. He is founding attorney of political.law, a campaign finance and political law firm.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.