Representative Nino Vitale votes no on 4,500-page budget bill

President Trump told voters he would remove the United States from agreements that he feels are harmful to America. But is the Paris Accord harmful? Much has been said about the Paris Accord. Yet, the people I speak with have not actually read the accord, nor looked into what America’s commitment would have been. Here are facts that I have discovered.

First, the accord’s goal is to reduce the temperature of the earth by a fraction of a degree. However, this treaty would have cost American taxpayers 3 trillion dollars over the next 2 decades. That money comes directly out of your paycheck. But not all taxes are bad. The question to be asked is: is this a good or bad investment?

Second, President Obama agreed to the Paris Accord in 2016 without the approval of the Senate. He committed 3 billion dollars to the Green Climate Fund, which helps third world countries build infrastructure. The world’s top polluters, including China, Russia and India, contributed nothing.

Third, if you read the Paris Accord, there is no way to enforce its objectives. So if China, India or other major companies that are polluting the earth do not comply, there is nothing in the accord to penalize them. There are no financial penalties nor trade penalties. In many cases, these regulations cost businesses and countries more money, thus creating a situation where they may not want to comply.

Another interesting point is that there was no US Congressional approval for the expenditures in the Paris Accord. For those of us who still believe the US Constitution is a valid document and the rule of law, Congress and specifically the House of Representatives, is where all spending is to originate. The Senate is also supposed to ratify all treaties. One could argue that because President Obama signed the Paris Accord without congressional approval, that it is unlawful or null and void, because it was unconstitutional.

There is a larger question that needs to be asked. Is there climate change, and if so, what is causing it? You can find evidence against and in favor of climate change. Many smart people argue about the temperature of the earth, and additionally, what is causing the temperatures to change. We know there were tropical periods long before man, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and we know there were ice ages, long before the combustion engine and coal-fired electrical plants. Rather than bore you with theories from both sides, I will give you a historical fact.

England was growing grapes and was a major producer of wine in the eleventh century. By the time King Henry VIII ascended the throne in 1509, there were 139 sizable vineyards in England and Wales. So why, just a few hundred years ago, was this true, but until recently, England could no longer grow grapes? The facts are that the temperature was actually warmer then, and the climate in England was conducive to growing grapes, and it has cooled. This is factual evidence that there is indeed climate change. But is climate change really caused by factories, cars, combustion engines, and fossil fuels? Or is climate change a naturally occurring and cyclical process on earth? There is no question we should be stewards of our environment, but at what cost to America?

If you read the Paris Accord for yourself, it clearly takes money and jobs away from Americans, and puts our taxpayer money into third world countries to help them build “green” infrastructure. Is it the American taxpayers’ job to build other countries? I would argue this is not about climate science, but it is about a bad deal for your wallet.

What President Trump did by leaving the Paris Accord, is keep his campaign promises. Like it or not, he did tell his voters that he would remove America from these type of treaties. He is a politician that is actually doing what he said he would do. Anytime a politician does not lie, they should be commended for that. Honesty is a lost virtue in politics and government.

By Rep. Nino Vitale

State Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) represents the 85th district.