President Trump’s triumphant Rose Garden ceremony announcing his withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement sent a message loud and clear to his supporters: Promise kept.
But the move also served as a clarion call to angry Democrats, potentially complicating the political path for Republicans facing tough midterm challenges and, ultimately, Trump’s own reelection bid.
Trump, whose approval rating has hovered around 40 percent for most of his presidency, probably did not gain new converts with his decision, and Democrats now see an opportunity to further intensify the focus of their base in the 2018 midterm elections. They also foresee the climate-change decision as a key part of their broader argument to college-educated swing voters who have been among Trump’s weakest supporters.
“He’s unleashed a number of forces that I don’t think he understands that ultimately are going to work against him,” said Tad Devine, a longtime political strategist and former adviser to the presidential run of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “People are interpreting this not as my house is going to be flooded tomorrow, but our federal government is being run by people who don’t care about science.”
Trump’s gamble could pay off. If the pace of economic growth quickens and jobs return for his core supporters, he could point to the decision to exit the accord as proof of his leadership, his backers say.
It’s official — on June 1, President Trump announced that “the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord,” but suggested that he would be open to new negotiations that are “fair” to the United States.
Here at the Monkey Cage, we’ve provided in-depth analysis over the years on the Paris accord, climate change, energy security and environmental developments. For a full listing of these posts, see below.
In our June 1 post, Joshua Busby at the University of Texas answers the big questions: What does this mean, and what’s next? He writes, “Under the normal rules of the agreement, the United States cannot withdraw until November 2020,” but “there is a nuclear option.”
Jessica F. Green, an New York University professor and frequent contributor on environmental policy topics, explains why the Trump decision would not roll back the considerable U.S. progress on environmental protection. She notes, “States, cities and many companies in the United States realize that sensible climate policy is, well, sensible.” With U.S. companies pursuing green options and U.S. utilities phasing out coal-powered plants, she points out that the U.S. government does not control — or make — many of these decisions.
Monkey Cage contributors have also looked closely at the Paris accord itself. Was there too much flexibility in the wording? What made the Paris accord different from other climate change negotiations? More broadly, what happens to global security if the effects of climate change force millions to migrate? And what are the nuts and bolts of energy politics, aviation emissions and U.S. energy conservation programs? We invite you to keep reading.