Palmer warns against dire consequences of Paris climate accord
Representative Gary Palmer (AL-06) is speaking out against an attempt by Democrats in Congress to force President Donald Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement, saying the 2016 international climate accord negotiated by the Obama administration will do “nothing to actually address climate change” while devastating the American economy.
Trump announced in June 2017 that the United States would exit from the deal, citing losses in American energy production and independence, as well as significant job losses, as some of the economic disadvantages of the Paris Agreement.
Since then, the president has often celebrated his decision to leave the agreement as a boost to the nation’s economy, especially manufacturing and energy sector jobs. Trump has also stressed that he does not believe the agreement would actually effectively combat climate change.
However, Democrats have now introduced legislation in both chambers directing the Trump administration to fall in line with the Paris Agreement.
The legislation – the “International Climate Accountability Act” in the Senate and “Climate Action Now Act” in the House – would prevent Trump from using funds to withdraw from the Paris climate deal.
Yellowhammer News last week reported that Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) joined most Democratic senators in signing up as cosponsors on his chamber’s version of the bill.
House Democrats last month passed their version of the legislation.
On Thursday, Palmer took to the House floor to speak on an amendment he was offering to Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations legislation that would defend Trump’s ability to withdraw from the accord. In the speech, the central Alabama congressman emphasized what is at stake across America.
“The country has seen record economic growth in the last few years, and the Paris agreement would only set us back with onerous regulations while also doing nothing to actually address climate change,” he summarized in a Facebook post sharing a video of his speech.
“Just a few months ago, it was reported that the U.S. economy exceeded analysts’ predictions and grew at over three percent in the first quarter of this year,” Palmer said on the floor. “In October of last year, unemployment hit a near 50-year low, and wages are going up. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there are 7.4 million jobs available.”
“Now, those on the other side of the aisle want to put at risk that growth and enforce policies that will do nothing to stop climate change,” he lamented.
Palmer then outlined what staying in the Paris Agreement would result in nationwide.
“The Heritage Foundation has modeled the policies that would be required to meet the Obama administration’s Paris commitments and found that by 2035, there would be an overall loss of 400,000 jobs – half of which would be in manufacturing – an average of total income loss of more than $20,000 for a family of four, an aggregate GDP loss of $2.5 trillion and an increase in household electricity expenditures between 13% and 20%,” he advised.
Alabama specifically is one of the states with the most to lose from the Paris Agreement, as the state relies on economic sectors that would be especially impacted.
It is estimated that up to 271,000 Yellowhammer State manufacturing jobs could be put on the chopping block by this proposal. Tens of thousands of agricultural jobs would also be severely at risk, along with high-paying jobs in the aerospace, defense and automotive sectors.
“My amendment would allow the United States to stay out of this unrealistic and overbearing agreement,” Palmer concluded.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn