In an interview on MSNBC on Thursday, former Secretary of State John Kerry said President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord “puts America last,” is “shameful” and will hurt kids by worsening their asthma.
“It is a shameful moment for the United States, to have unilaterally walked away from an agreement which did not have one other country requiring us to do something,” Kerry told Andrea Mitchell. “It was a voluntary program … The president was not truthful with the American people today, and the president who talked about putting America first, has now put America last.”
Kerry claimed Trump is not helping the “forgotten American.”
Trump “is not helping the forgotten American,” Kerry said. “He is hurting them. Their kids will have worse asthma in the summer. They will have a harder time having economic growth. He’s made us an environmental pariah in the world, and I think it is one of the most self-destructive moves I’ve ever seen by any president in my lifetime.”
Kerry’s primary arguments that Trump’s decision will hurt kids with asthma and damage the economy were incredibly misleading. A 2015 study by researcher Dr. Corrine Keet at John’s Hopkins Children Center found no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of asthma for kids living in inner-city areas, where there is much more air pollution, and kids who live in the suburbs and rural areas. More than 23,000 children were included in the study.
Daniel Simmons, the vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, noted in a quote appearing in an article by E&E News that asthma rates have been steadily worsening even though air quality has been improving.
"Air quality has been increasing, pollution has been decreasing, things are getting better and asthma's getting worse," Simmons said. "You have this disconnect."
In 2013, USA Today reported that Earth’s warming climate has caused pollen season to increase, thereby exacerbating many people’s asthma. If climate change is being caused by human-produced carbon-dioxide, this could lend support to Kerry’s claim about asthma. Of course, scientists disagree over what has caused Earth’s climate to warm over the past century, and, perhaps most importantly, increased pollen comes from increased plant growth and, as a result, increased crop yields. Should more plants and food for people and animals really be demonized?
Kerry’s argument that Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement will cause economic problems is equally absurd. Kerry cited in the interview the “millions” of renewable-energy jobs that have been created to help curb carbon-dioxide emissions as an example of how the Paris Agreement and its associated efforts would have a positive impact on the economy, but the truth is that the only reason the wind and solar energy industries have been able to survive is because they are heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Further, wind and solar are much more expensive forms of energy, which means Americans’ power bills would continue to rise under the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement.
As H. Sterling Burnett, a research fellow in climate and energy issues for The Heartland Institute, where I also work as executive editor and a research fellow, noted in a recent article on Trump’s decision, “Numerous studies, including a NERA Economic Consulting report cited in Trump’s announcement, showed meeting the carbon-dioxide targets imposed on the United States under the Paris agreement would force the premature closing of many of the nation’s least-expensive power plants. NERA estimated meeting the nation’s obligations under the agreement would cost the U.S. economy nearly $3 trillion, and by 2040, the United States would have lost 6.5 million industrial-sector jobs, including 3.1 million manufacturing jobs.”