Trump vs the Market: Paris Accords

President Trump recently announced the United States will be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords, the international treaty on preventing global temperature rising above 2 degrees, signed by 195 countries back in 2015. This places the United States in the dubious company of other non-signatories Nicaragua, who refused to sign as they believed the treaty was not powerful enough, and Syria, who was busy fighting a nationwide civil war. In his speech, which was widely noted to be full of errors and misrepresentation, Trump stated that the deal was “A very bad deal for [the US]” and that he would “bring those coal jobs back”. The problem is, the market doesn’t want his coal jobs, and not even the President can bend the free market to his will.

As noted in Ian Verrender (article link below), the withdrawal announcement was met with derision by American Industry, including petroleum giants ExxonMobil and Conoco Phillips. The United States has moved on, there is now a consensus in the business community that global warming is a reality and that we must move away from traditional fossil fuels. The demand does not exist for these fossil fuels, but more importantly the reason these industries declined in the U.S. has far more to do with their lack of international competitiveness than it does any renewables policy.

Additionally, renewables is the new growth sector for the economy, with 880’000 people employed in manufacturing and another 2.2 million is research and design in the U.S. alone, far more than were employed by the coal industry at its peak in the 1970’s. The United States has long been a world leader in research, design and innovation, and currently continues to be so in the renewables sector. By rejecting the renewables sector and encouraging the return to outdated coal mining, the President is not only encouraging less sustainable business practices for his country, he is ensuring their irrelevance in the future renewable based economic marketplace.



  1. I think they’re trying to shift to ‘clean coal’ although that doesn’t a actually seem possible. All countries should be investing in renewables.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pretty shocking to think that the US dropped out of this deal. I’m not too sure what Trump was thinking but I’d like to see how much the US benefits from backing out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point Michelle, I have no idea what the US stand to gain by leaving the treaty. On the other side, does the treaty still stand with all the other nations who signed it, or is this an opportunity for other countries to back out as well?

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  3. Well said caleb, I’m not sure what the scenario really is but the decision by Trump doesn’t seem overly smart, and will no doubt anger many groups within society. Green energy does seem to be where the future is headed, and I doubt Americans are keen on coal energy, but maybe this initiative will still end up saving jobs in some areas?

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    1. Even through the governments goal is to have strong and sustainable economic growth it feels like this policy change would negatively effect this goal in the long run. Backing out of this agreement does mean the US market has less restrictions and would be able to enjoy the benefits of being a free market but the negative externalities could effect the future generations ability to have SSEG.

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  4. While I can see the political reason behind this decision since trumps approval rating isn’t the best right now and he’s trying to create jobs, this is the wrong way to go about as it does not achieve sustainable growth and can lead to excessive environmental damage

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  5. I do and dont understand this decision made by trump. In terms of strong and sustainable economic growth, i think this policy change would have a negative affect, as well as the negative affects on the enviroment. I do see the point in this being able to create more jobs, as a part of his decision though

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  6. Perhaps Trump could be forced into following the accords by having foreign governments intoduce tariffs on US imports (but this woukd probably hurt them more than the US)

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