Gary Cohn, the National Economic Council director and White House adviser who is accompanying President Trump at the G-7 summit in Italy, is pushing for the president to abandon his campaign promise to end U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement.
“I think he’s leaning to understand the European position,” Cohn told reporters Friday, hinting that he’s trying to move the president toward adopting the agreement signed by former President Barack Obama.
Because the agreement is not a treaty, the president can unilaterally revoke U.S. membership in the accord with the stroke of a pen.
“He knows that in the U.S. there’s very strong opinions on both sides, but he also knows that Paris has important meaning to many of the European leaders, and he wants to clearly hear what the European leaders have to say,” Cohn added.
Regardless of where one falls on the scientific evidence behind climate change, the cost for U.S. participation in the agreement is staggeringly high.
According to an American Enterprise Institute assessment of the agreement, committing to the Paris climate deal costs from $600 to $750 billion per year. Moreover, it would hardly move the needle on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions targeted by the accord.
While on the campaign trail, now-President Trump promised to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
“We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop all payments of United States tax dollars to UN global warming programs,” Trump said in May 2016. “This agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much our energy and how much we use right here in America. So foreign bureaucrats are gonna be controlling what we’re using and what we’re doing on our land in our country. No way. No way,” he added.
In another speech before becoming president, he remarked how the U.S. needlessly “pays billions of dollars” for signing onto the agreement, comparing it to the Iran deal.
On Friday aboard Air Force One, Cohn revealed himself to be a strong advocate for replacing major sources of U.S. energy with “environmentally friendly” but unproductive generating mechanisms.
“Coal doesn’t even make sense anymore as feedstock,” the former Goldman Sachs executive proclaimed. “Natural gas, which we have become an abundant producer … is such a cleaner fuel.”
“If you think about how solar and how much wind power we’ve created in the United States, we can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly,” Cohn added.
But the economic adviser’s analysis appears to disregard the major contribution that coal makes as a source of U.S. energy. The data shows that the United States generates almost one-third of its electricity from coal. Wind and solar, on the other hand, only amount to 6.5 percent of energy production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Since entering the White House, the “shallow state” progressive wing of the building has pushed the president to keep Obama’s climate pledge. Whether he sides with the American voter who elected him or his leftist advisers remains to be seen.