Saturday, June 03, 2017

The photo that lost radio’s ‘Bible Answer Man’ thousands of listeners

As host of the “Bible Answer Man,” a nationally syndicated radio show broadcast from Charlotte, Hank Hanegraaff answers on-air questions about Scripture from his listeners.
As host of the “Bible Answer Man,” a nationally syndicated radio show broadcast from Charlotte, Hank Hanegraaff answers on-air questions about Scripture from his listeners. (Jeff Siner

Read more here:
For nearly three decades, Hank Hanegraaff has been the “Bible Answer Man” to millions of evangelical Christians who tune in to his Charlotte-based radio program with questions – big and small – about Scripture.
“What does the Bible teach about debt?” they ask him. “When is divorce permissible?” And – the question that gets asked the most – “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”
Two months ago, Hanegraaff, whose faith had long been focused on exploring the truth of a book, went through a different kind of religious experience. It was, he says, “one of the premiere moments in my life.”
On Palm Sunday, he and wife Kathy and two of their 12 children were “chrismated,” or confirmed, at St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in southeast Charlotte. During the sacramental rite, a priest anointed them with oil and invoked the Holy Spirit.
And then ...
Image result for hank hanegraaff orthodox
It was this recent photo of Hank Hanegraaff and family members getting “chrismated,” or confirmed, at Charlotte’s St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church that caused some evangelical radio stations to drop his “Bible Answer Man” show. The photo, taken on Palm Sunday, quickly turned up on some evangelical news web sites.
Courtesy of St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church.

Read more here:
A photo of the April ceremony started popping up on evangelical news sites. Within a week, the “Bible Answer Man” had lost many of his listeners.
His sin in their eyes: Converting to Eastern Orthodoxy, the world’s second largest Christian denomination and one steeped in rituals, icons and mysticism – aspects of faith that seem foreign to many evangelical Protestants. Instead of tradition, they look to the Bible as the only infallible guide and the final authority on matters of Christian faith and practice.
As the news about Hanegraaff spread on social media and the Internet, between 100 and 150 radio stations dropped his nationally syndicated show from their daily lineups.
“That picture of Hank kneeling before a Greek Orthodox priest – that was hard for many evangelicals to see,” said Mike Carbone, chief operating officer at The Truth Network, which booted the “Bible Answer Man” show from six of its stations, including those in Charlotte and Raleigh. “Hank is as likable a guy as you’ll find, but we were not able to go where he was going.”
On the air from his studio in south Charlotte – he can still be heard on more than 60 stations and on Sirius XM satellite radio – Hanegraaff answered questions about his decision to embrace Orthodoxy, an ancient faith that traces its beginnings to Jesus’ apostles. And he tried to shoot down the online suggestions that he had turned his back on the Bible – the subject of most of the 25 books he’s authored.
“People are posting this notion that somehow or other, I’ve walked away from the faith and am no longer a Christian,” he said during one broadcast. “Look, my views have been codified in (more than) 20 books, and my views have not changed.”
Though they have different histories, worship practices and views of the Eucharist, or Communion, Orthodox Christians and evangelical Christians read the same four Gospels. They also agree, along with Roman Catholics, on the most basic doctrines of Christianity, including a belief in Jesus’ divinity and his resurrection from the dead.
And at St. Nektarios, Hanegraaff pointed out, the Holy Week services on the days leading up to Easter were awash in readings from the Bible.
But some evangelical hard-liners weren’t buying it. They seized on, for example, the Orthodox Christian traditions of asking saints to intercede with God and using icons, or holy images, of Christ, Mary and the saints for meditation and learning.
Pulpit and Pen, a combative web site that considers Catholicism and Orthodoxy “false expressions of Christianity,” charged that Hanegraaff “has left the biblical Christian faith for (a) Greek Orthodox tradition ... highly driven by graven images” – a reference to the icons, which adorn most Orthodox churches.
And one longtime listener wrote this on the “Bible Answer Man” Facebook page: “I am saddened and confused as to how someone whose teaching I have trusted for many years can now place himself in the camp of those who espouse praying to ... dead people.”
Hanegraaff felt the cost of his conversion most acutely when his show was dropped by the Bott Radio Network, which operates more than 100 broadcast signals reaching 51 million people in 15 states.
The network’s president, Richard P. Bott II, who attends a Baptist church in Kansas, did not return a call from the Observer. But he told the Baptist Press he severed ties with Hanegraaff – after airing his show for more than 25 years – because “we want to make sure our listeners know that the programming that we have on Bott Radio Network is thoroughly biblical.”
Reading that quote, said Hanegraaff, was like getting “a punch to the solar plexus.” Partly, he said, because it revealed “an ignorance about Orthodoxy.”

‘In the eye of the tornado’

As if the highs and lows associated with his recent conversion weren’t dizzying enough, Hanegraaff also got a jolt from his doctors: On May 5, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called mantle cell lymphoma.
Since then, he has started an aggressive regimen that includes chemotherapy sessions, a bone marrow transplant and blood transfusions.
Hanegraaff admitted to some scary moments, like on the day he got his (PET) scan results over the phone while riding in a cab in New York City:
“The doctor said ‘you have tumors in your neck, you have tumors in your chest, you have tumors in the lungs, arms, stomach, pelvis.’ 
In his book, “The Complete Bible Answer Book,” Hanegraaff says that God allows bad things to happen to good people because he created humans with freedom of choice. And sometimes the effects of those choices can cause bad things to happen.
But Hanegraaff said his cancer came “out of the blue” after “hardly being sick a day in my life.”
Instead of trying to explain his illness and the backlash against his conversion, the “Bible Answer Man,” fortified by his family and his Orthodox Christian faith, said he’s now content to let God handle it all.
“I feel like I’m in the eye of the tornado, where there’s peace and calm,” he said. “My life is in the Lord’s hands, whether he takes me or gives me another 20 years of beautiful ministry.”

Answering questions

Hendrik “Hank” Hanegraaff was born in Holland in 1950.
When he was three, his family moved to Canada. They moved again, when he was 14, to Grand Rapids, Mich.
His father, an engineer at atomic power stations, decided to attend the seminary at Calvin College and become a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church.
Hanegraaff also enrolled at Calvin, a liberal arts Christian school in Grand Rapids. But he left without a diploma after three-plus years.
“However, I could never shake what the Scholastics called the ‘libido sciendi’ – the lust for knowledge,” Hanegraaff said. “I’ve thus been a lifelong learner and have written many books as a result.”
He also developed a capacity to memorize, which led to an association in the mid-1980s with Walter Martin. Radio’s original “Bible Answer Man,” Martin was also the founder of the Christian Research Institute, a conservative Protestant “countercult” ministry based in southern California.
When Martin died in 1989, Hanegraaff became president of the institute and took over hosting duties on the radio show. In 2004, after looking for a less expensive base than California, he moved the “Bible Answer Man” studios to the Blakeney area in south Charlotte.
Over the years, Hanegraaff said, he studied Scripture three ways. He meditated on the word of God; he memorized whole passages and chapters; and he mined its pages to try to discover “what the Holy Spirit has placed there.”
As host of the show, Hanegraaff has answered listeners’ on-air questions about what the Bible says on a multitude of subjects.
A sampling: When you pass on, do you go straight to heaven? If someone blasphemes the Holy Spirit, can they still be saved? What does ‘take up your cross’ mean? And: Can God speak to us through license plates?
In answering “Should Christians celebrate Christmas?” Hanegraaff acknowledged that when Christmas was originally instituted, December 25 was a pagan festival honoring the birthday of a false god. But Christmas, he said, was started as a rival celebration of Jesus’ birth and has flourished.
And Santa Claus? “Far from being a dangerous fairy tale, Santa Claus is, in reality, an Anglicized form of the Dutch name ‘Sinter Klaas,’ which in turn is a reference to the real-life Saint Nicholas ... (who) lavished gifts on needy children (and) also valiantly supported the doctrine of the Trinity.”
Over the years, Hanegraaff also made a name for himself as a leader of the “countercult” movement by identifying what he considered heresies and cults. He has dismissed as non-Christian, for example, the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons.
And as a Christian apologist, or defender of the faith, who spoke around the country at churches and conferences, Hanegraaff also made the case against some non-Christian religions. In his upcoming book, “MUSLIM: What You Need to Know About the World’s Fastest Growing Religion,” Hanegraaff acknowledges that millions of Muslims are peace-loving people, but claims the history of Islam proves it has not been a religion of peace or tolerance.
This year, in an ironic twist, some of Hanegraaff’s evangelical critics have cast Orthodoxy as false or at least insufficiently biblical.
Asked whether his comments about other religions are any different from his critics’ put-downs of Orthodox Christianity, Hanegraaff said his conclusions came only after deep study.
“(They’re) not in any sense meant to be demeaning to anyone,” he said. “My goal is to reach, not repel.”

‘Sights, sounds and smells’

Like his listeners, Hanegraaff had long identified himself as an evangelical Christian.
But a few years ago, he found himself growing disillusioned with evangelicalism, with its megachurches, its star pastors and its devotion to branding.
“We live in an age of ‘pastor-preneur,’ where the pastor is the entrepreneur,” Hanegraaff said. “And the church has become consumerist. Instead of Christ being the end, Christ becomes the means to an end. Instead of people coming to the master’s table because of the love of the master, they come to the master’s table because of what is on the master’s table.”
So Hannegraaff became a seeker. His exploring and Googling led him to St. Nektarios.
“I opened the door of that big cathedral. And the moment I did, the sights, sounds and smells engaged me,” said Hanegraaff, who found a church with icons, chants and incense. “I thought, ‘I’m here to worship God. This is not about what I’m going to get.’ 
Most of the growth at Orthodox churches in the United States comes from immigrants and from people marrying into the faith. But the Rev. Steve Dalber, who shepherds a flock of about 700 families at St. Nektarios, has also welcomed Christians, like Hanegraaff, who came to Orthodoxy for deeply spiritual reasons.
“What they’re looking for is something solid, something that’s not changing all the time, something not based on the charisma and personality of the pastor,” said Dalber, who presided over Hanegraaff’s chrismation. “But I also think anybody who comes to our door is brought there by the Holy Spirit. So there’s a mystical part as well.”
Eventually, Hanegraaff’s family joined him at the church. “We took up a full pew,” he said.
Then in April, Hanegraaff, his wife and two of their sons decided to get chrismated – a necessary step before they could receive the Eucharist.
“The big thing that attracted me to Eastern Orthodoxy was the Eucharist,” Hanegraaff said. “For most of church history, even through Luther, people believed that when you partook of the elements, you were partaking of the real presence of Christ.”
During the “Divine Liturgy,” or worship service, Orthodox communicants receive the elements, or the bread and wine, from the priest, who dips a spoon into a common cup.
Like Roman Catholics, but unlike evangelical Protestants, Orthodox Christians believe Christ is physically present in the Eucharist, though they don’t seek to explain it.
“We just believe it’s a mystery,” Dalber said. “We believe it’s the body and blood of Christ.”
Hanegraaff lost a big part of his audience when he found Orthodoxy. But he said the experience of worship at St. Nektarios has transformed his faith, made it richer and more Christ-centered.
The truth of the Bible still matters, he said, but so does a life of receiving Christ in the Eucharist and then trying to better listen to and love others.
“There’s knowing something and then there’s experiencing something,” he said. “The Bible is the menu that points you to the meal. And the meal is intimacy with Christ.”
Tim Funk: 704-358-5703@timfunk
Age: 66
Family: Wife Kathy and 12 children, ages 13 to 31.
Title: President of the Christian Research Institute and host of radio’s “Bible Answer Man” – both based in Charlotte.
Finances: The Christian Research Institute (CRI) is a non-profit organization that reported revenues of $4.1 million in 2014, according to the latest tax filings available. In 2015, Hanegraaff said, revenues totaled $4.8 million. The institute pays him $79,087 in salary and $164,720 in other compensation, for a total of $243,807 – numbers that Hanegraaff said have not changed in a decade. Kathy Hanegraaff, his wife, is director of planning at CRI. In 2014, she was paid a salary of $167,084 as well as $22,000 in other compensation, for a total of $189,084. Hanegraaff said he waives all royalties from his books sold by CRI and gets no pay for other materials – books, booklets, and flip charts – he writes and produces for exclusive promotion and distribution by CRI. “Income to CRI from both types of publications have translated to multiple millions of dollars over the years,” he said.
Radio: Though more than 100 Christian radio stations dropped his show after Hanegraaff converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, his web site lists more than 60 radio stations across the country that still carry it, including some in the Charlotte area (WHVN 1240 AM, 104.3 FM, and 106.1 FM; WCRU 960 AM and 105.7 FM; WCGC 1270 AM; WBZK 980 AM; and WAVO 1150 AM) and two in Raleigh-Durham (WDRU 1030 AM and WPJL 1240 AM). “Bible Answer Man” is also on Sirius radio XM/Family Talk 131 and and,
Books: Hanegraaff has written 25 books. His latest, on Islam, will be published by HarperCollins this year. His other books include: “The Complete Bible Answer Book,” “Has God Spoken? Proof of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration,” and “Afterlife: What You Need to Know About Heaven, The Hereafter & Near-Death Experiences.”
Tim Funk
Here are six more things to know about Eastern Orthodoxy:
1. In 1054 AD, the Great Schism split Christianity into what is now the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
2. Worldwide, there are now about 250 million Eastern Orthodox Christians. They dominate the religious landscape in countries such as Russia, Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria.
3. Though their numbers are growing in the United States, the country’s 1 million-plus Orthodox Christians still make up a tiny part of the population – 0.5 percent, according to the Pew Research Center for Religion & Public Life.
4. The Eastern Orthodox Church is a communion of autonomous churches, each typically governed by a Holy Synod. There’s no central governing structure similar to the papacy in the Roman Catholic Church. All bishops are considered equal, but Bartholomew I, the Archbishop of Constantinople in Turkey, is regarded as the first among equals and as the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide.
5. Orthodox Christians practice what they understand to be the original Christian faith and maintain sacred traditions passed down from Jesus’ apostles.
6. In the United States, the Orthodox church has been attracting some high-profile converts in recent years. Before Hank Hanegraaff, radio’s “Bible Answer Man,” there was Rod Dreher, whose best-seller – “The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation” – is the year's most-talked about religious book. A senior editor and blogger at The American Conservative, Dreher left Roman Catholicism to become an Eastern Orthodox Christian. Unlike many in the evangelical community, he congratulated Hanegraaff on his conversion and urged others to join him. “What astounding news!” Dreher wrote. “Many evangelicals seek the early church; well, here it is, in Orthodoxy.”
Tim Funk

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Friday, June 02, 2017

We'll Never Have Paris

The climate change agreement was designed as a feel-good, do-nothing program.
June 1, 2017
Image result for trump paris accord
Andrew Harrer/Getty Images
Even before President Trump had completed his announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change, howls of disbelief and outrage went up from proponents of the agreement. But the critical dynamic underlying the 2015 Accord, willfully ignored by its advocates, is that major developing countries offered “commitments” for emissions reduction that only mirrored their economies’ existing trajectories. Thus, for instance, China committed to reaching peak emissions by 2030—in line with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s prior analysis. India committed to improving its emissions per unit of GDP—at a rate slower than that metric was already improving. President Obama, meanwhile, pledged America to concrete and aggressive emissions cuts that would require genuine and costly change.
As I wrote in National Review at the conclusion of the Paris conference in December 2015:
The full scope of the catastrophe will emerge only in the years to come. One of the agreement’s few binding provisions is a requirement for countries to gather and review their commitments and their adherence to them every five years. Given the caliber of the pledges, that promise of review has little value; countries that promised to proceed on their existing trajectories will pass with flying colors. But the United States, whose commitments far exceed what even the aggressive Obama agenda is expected to produce, will be the nation off track.
Sure enough, a recent headline from Inside Climate News blares, “China, India to Reach Climate Goals Years Early, as U.S. Likely to Fall Far Short.” That is, China and India are reaching the “goal” of proceeding along their unaltered course, while the U.S. is “falling short” of a very high bar.  
One might think this prima facie evidence of the agreement’s folly, but Jonathan Chait of New York magazine instead links to it as proof that the Right’s criticism of Paris “has proven incontrovertibly false.” Citing data from Climate Action Tracker, he avers that “India, which had promised to reduce the emissions intensity of its economy by 33–35 percent by 2030, is now on track to reduce it by 42–45 percent by that date. China promised its total emissions would peak by 2030—an ambitious goal for a rapidly industrializing economy. It is running at least a decade ahead of that goal.” Chait concludes, “The factual predicate upon which the American right based its opposition to Paris has melted away beneath its feet.”
However, Climate Action Tracker’s own analysis of India’s Paris commitment in December 2015 determined, “according to our analysis, with the policies it already has in place, India will achieve an emissions intensity reduction of around 41.5% below 2005 levels by 2030.” India committed to less than business-as-usual, has proceeded with business-as-usual, and now wins applause from Chait for beating its worthless commitment. It’s easy to slim down to 180 pounds, if you weigh 175 to begin with.
Likewise, in December 2015, it was Climate Action Tracker’s view that “under a scenario with currently implemented policies, Chinese CO2 emissions are likely to peak around 2025.” The New York Times reports that Chinese emissions may have peaked in 2014, just as the nation’s leaders were formulating their international pledge. Is it more likely that the Chinese inadvertently made a pledge they could meet without trying, or that Chait has fallen for a pledge that was formulated such that it would have to be met?
The giveaway for the Paris charade is the refusal to set baselines. If nations are to hold one another accountable for progress on greenhouse-gas emissions, surely they must agree on a starting point from which to progress. Yet the framework for Paris pointedly omitted this requirement. Countries could calculate their own baselines however they chose, or provide none at all. Now, per Chait, the pledges have themselves become baselines, and each country receives applause or condemnation in inverse proportion to its seriousness.
Even failing on one’s commitment is acceptable, so long as the right things get said. Carbon Market Watch reports that “despite all of the fanfare that went on at the time, it seems that there are currently only three European Union countries pursuing climate policies that put them in line with the agreements made at the Paris Climate Change Talks.” Angela Merkel said that she finds the G7’s discussion of climate change “very difficult,” but not because her nation’s emissions have risen the last two years. Her difficulty arises from those ugly Americans’ unwillingness to keep up appearances.
Later this week, we will be treated to the spectacle of “a statement backed by all 28 EU states, [in which] the European Union and China will commit to full implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement”—undoubtedly accompanied by lamentations that the United States has disrupted the charade by walking off stage. How the world misses President Obama’s enthusiasm for a debating society that delivers no substantive action, or even a useful framework for assessing results, only a forum for bashing America. Such nerve, our nation has, to excuse itself from that pastime.

Paris Climate Discord

U.S. emissions targets could trap Trump if he stays in the accord.

The Wall Street Journal
May 31, 2017

Image result for trump paris accord

On Thursday President Trump announced that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. (CNN)
President Trump and his advisers are debating whether to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, and if he does the fury will be apocalyptic—start building arks for the catastrophic flood. The reality is that withdrawing is in America’s economic interest and won’t matter much to the climate.
President Obama signed the agreement last September, albeit by ducking the two-thirds majority vote in the Senate required under the Constitution for such national commitments. The pact includes a three-year process for withdrawal, which Mr. Trump could short-circuit by also pulling out of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Paris was supposed to address the failures of the 1997 Kyoto protocol, which Bill Clinton signed but George W. Bush refused to implement amid similar outrage. The Kyoto episode is instructive because the U.S. has since reduced emissions faster than much of Europe thanks to business innovation—namely, hydraulic fracturing that is replacing coal with natural gas.
While legally binding, Kyoto’s CO 2 emissions targets weren’t strictly enforced. European countries that pursued aggressive reductions were engaging in economic masochism. According to a 2014 Manhattan Institute study, the average cost of residential electricity in 2012 was 12 cents per kilowatt hour in the U.S. but an average 26 cents in the European Union and 35 cents in Germany. The average price of electricity in the EU soared 55% from 2005 to 2013.
Yet Germany’s emissions have increased in the last two years as more coal is burned to compensate for reduced nuclear energy and unreliable solar and wind power. Last year coal made up 40% of Germany’s power generation compared to 30% for renewables, while state subsidies to stabilize the electric grid have grown five-fold since 2012.
But the climate believers tried again in Paris, this time with goals that are supposedly voluntary. China and India offered benchmarks pegged to GDP growth, which means they can continue their current energy plans. China won’t even begin reducing emissions until 2030 and in the next five years it will use more coal.
President Obama, meanwhile, committed the U.S. to reducing emissions by between 26% and 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. This would require extreme changes in energy use. Even Mr. Obama’s bevy of anti-carbon regulations would get the U.S. to a mere 45% of its target.
Meeting the goals would require the Environmental Protection Agency to impose stringent emissions controls on vast stretches of the economy including steel production, farm soil management and enteric fermentation (i.e., cow flatulence). Don’t laugh—California’s Air Resources Board is issuing regulations to curb bovine burping to meet its climate goals.
Advocates in the White House for remaining in Paris claim the U.S. has the right to unilaterally reduce Mr. Obama’s emissions commitments. They say stay in and avoid the political meltdown while rewriting the U.S. targets.
But Article 4, paragraph 11 of the accord says “a party may at any time adjust its existing nationally determined contribution with a view to enhancing its level of ambition.” There is no comparable language permitting a reduction in national targets.
Rest assured that the Sierra Club and other greens will sue under the Section 115 “international air pollution” provision of the Clean Air Act to force the Trump Administration to enforce the Paris standards. The “voluntary” talk will vanish amid the hunt for judges to rule that Section 115 commands the U.S. to reduce emissions that “endanger” foreign countries if those countries reciprocate under Paris. After his experience with the travel ban, Mr. Trump should understand that legal danger.


The Big Con at the heart of Paris is that even its supporters concede that meeting all of its commitments won’t prevent more than a 0.17 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures by 2100, far less than the two degrees that is supposedly needed to avert climate doom.
It’s also rich for Europeans to complain about the U.S. abdicating climate leadership after their regulators looked the other way as auto makers, notably Volkswagen , cheated on emissions tests. This allowed Europeans to claim they were meeting their green goals without harming the competitiveness of their auto makers. The EPA had to shame the EU into investigating the subterfuge.
The U.S. legal culture will insist on carbon compliance even if Europe and China cheat. Even if Mr. Trump would succeed in rewriting U.S. emissions targets, his successor could ratchet them back up. That possibility might deter some companies from investing in long-term fossil-fuel production.
The simplest decision is to make a clean break from Paris. But if Mr. Trump doesn’t want to take the political heat for withdrawing on his own, here’s a compromise: Atone for Mr. Obama’s dereliction and submit Paris to the Senate for approval as a treaty. Then we can see whether anticarbon virtue-signaling beats real-world economic costs for Democrats from energy states like Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota), Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and Joe Donnelly (Indiana).
Appeared in the June 1, 2017, print edition.


President Trump cleans up more of Obama’s mess.

June 2, 2017

Image result for trump paris accord
The United States will walk away from the Paris accord, President Donald Trump announced Thursday afternoon. (Reuters)
President Donald Trump fulfilled a key campaign promise yesterday when he announced the United States will pull out of the potentially economically disastrous Paris Climate Accord that President Obama imposed on the country in his final months in office.
In so doing, Trump is taking on all of this global warming poppycock that rests on the utterly ridiculous notion that carbon dioxide, the natural gas humans and other earthly life forms constantly produce and expel, the same gas that promotes plant growth, is a pollutant.
It is a truly insane idea that has no support in science but leftists are running with it because they hope to browbeat and intimidate Americans into accepting shrinking the economy by drastically reducing carbon emissions.
Obama signed a legal instrument related to the Paris Climate Accord on Aug. 20, 2016, titled “Acceptance on behalf of the United States of America." The relevant part of the document provides that Obama does "hereby accept the said Agreement and every article and clause thereof on behalf of the United States of America."
Some on the Left are now arguing that process somehow prevents Trump from taking the country out of the agreement unilaterally, even though Obama (unconstitutionally) purported to bring the country into the agreement unilaterally.
In the White House’s Rose Garden, Trump called the treaty “the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries.” The agreement leaves American workers and taxpayers “to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”
He continued:
Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune.
Compliance with the PCA could cost the country as many as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, he said, citing a study by National Economic Research Associates. By 2040, he added, compliance could cause the country to miss out on $3 trillion in gross domestic product, wipe out 6.5 million industrial jobs, and reduce household incomes by $7,000 or more.
The pact leaves America at a disadvantage by “effectively putting” the country’s vast energy reserves, including coal, “under lock and key,” while allowing other countries to further develop their coal resources.
“In short, the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries,” he said. The PCA is “a massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries.”
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt hailed Trump’s action as “an historic restoration of American economic independence -- one that will benefit the working class, the working poor, and working people of all stripes.” Trump has “declared that the people are rulers of this country once again,” he said in a shot at the overreaching Obama administration.
Trump has “corrected a view that was paramount in Paris that somehow the United States should penalize its own economy, be apologetic, lead with our chin, while the rest of world does little. Other nations talk a good game; we lead with action -- not words.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised Trump "for dealing yet another significant blow to the Obama administration's assault on domestic energy production and jobs."
Ken Cuccinelli, president of Senate Conservatives Action, said Trump’s decision “sends a clear message that the environmental extremists around the globe will not dictate our economic policies.”
The Left exploded in anger at Trump for goring one of its most sacred cows, unleashing the kind of over-the-top rhetoric we’ve grown accustomed to throughout the Obama years.
Obama himself trashed Trump, and urged defiance. “Even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future, I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got."
Democratic office-holders promptly answered Obama’s call to action, the Daily Caller reports. New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto promised to pursue the goals of the PCA on their own, the key objective of which is to prevent future global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius.
Democratic governors announced the formation of something called the United States Climate Alliance. Govs. Jerry Brown (California), Andrew Cuomo (New York), and Jay Inslee (Washington) vowed to achieve the PCA’s goals.
San Francisco billionaire, heavy-duty Democratic donor, and George Soros ally Tom Steyer blasted out an email petition, asking recipients to “urge your governor to fulfill the commitment your state has already made to meet our Paris targets: Go to 100% renewable energy.”
“It’s now up to states, cities, and local communities to pick up the mantle of leadership and take the actions necessary to protect our children and leave them a better world,” Steyer wrote. Separately, he tweeted, “Generations of Americans will suffer the destructive effects of Trump’s greedy, selfish, and immoral decision.”
Predictably, socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Trump’s decision was “an abdication of American leadership and an international disgrace.”
Former Vice President Al Gore, probably the wealthiest climate change con artist in the world, said the decision was “a reckless and indefensible action.”
The ACLU criticized Trump’s move, calling it "a massive step back for racial justice, and an assault on communities of color across the U.S.," whatever that means.
Filmmaking leftist nut Michael Moore tweeted, "Trump just committed a crime against humanity. This admitted predator has now expanded his predatory acts to the entire planet. #ParisAccord[.]”
Some left-wingers insist that the Trump administration cannot easily extricate the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. They’re whistling past the graveyard.
The Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) claims the treaty took effect last fall after a sufficient number of countries collectively meeting the greenhouse gas-emission threshold ratified it.
The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016, thirty days after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Depositary.
Whether the PCA is now in effect as a lawful international treaty is one thing; whether the U.S. is part of it is a separate question.
The UN recognizes President Obama’s unilateral actions as constituting a valid U.S. ratification of the treaty. The UN is plainly wrong. Obama’s claim last year to be able to bind the U.S. on his own authority was an unconstitutional power grab.
According to the U.S. Constitution, the treaty cannot come into force in the U.S. without ratification by an affirmative vote of a constitutionally-stipulated supermajority of U.S. senators. Obama failed to submit the treaty to the Senate because he knew that it would never ratify an economic suicide pact that would deindustrialize America.
Obama’s efforts demonstrated “contempt for the U.S. treaty process and the role of Congress, particularly the Senate,” according to Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation. “It is an attempt to achieve through executive fiat that which cannot be achieved through the democratic process.”
In “Lessons from Kyoto,” a study released by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on April 21, 2016, the authors wrote that a head of state’s signature on a UN climate treaty does not in and of itself impose the obligations of the treaty on that country.
Just because a country signs a UNFCCC agreement does not mean the agreement has any legal effect in the country. The Clinton Administration signed the Kyoto Protocol in November 1998, more than six months after the agreement opened for signature. President Clinton never submitted it to U.S. Senate for ratification. In March 2001, President George W. Bush rejected Kyoto and the U.S. never became a party.
The serially dishonest leftist Greg Sargent moans and whines at the Washington Post about how difficult, time-consuming, disruptive, and complex pulling out of the PCA is. As the Daily Caller reported in 2012, Sargent is a stenographer for the George Soros-funded Media Matters for America, according to a source there. “Greg Sargent will write anything you give him. He was the go-to guy to leak stuff.”
About the climate pact, Sargent goes on at length, claiming “[t]here will likely be a window of several years before our withdrawal takes effect — and paradoxically, some of the consequences of our pending exit from this 195-country accord could begin to take hold in the interim.”
Along similar lines, Michael D. Shear of the New York Times asserts without offering proof that Trump "will stick to the withdrawal process laid out in the Paris agreement, which President Barack Obama joined and most of the world has already ratified. That could take nearly four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election."
Sargent and Shear are being deceitful, arguing that because Obama supposedly ratified the PCA, that somehow constitutes a near-insurmountable obstacle preventing Trump from yanking the country out of the agreement.
This, of course, is complete nonsense.
"Trump is not quitting the Paris accord,” writes Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. “The United States was never in it in the first place."
According to Kontorovich, an expert in constitutional and international law, what Trump should have said at his press availability was that “the United States never properly joined the accord: It is a treaty that requires the advice and consent of the Senate. Instead, President Barack Obama choose to ‘adopt’ it with an executive order last September.”
In other words, the president is merely declaring that, notwithstanding the actions of his kinglike predecessor, the United States no longer considers itself bound by this international pact that Obama unconstitutionally foisted on the country in the absence of proper ratification by the U.S. Senate.
But Sargent tries to dazzle and distract his readers by waving all sorts of officialdom in their faces.
As CNN reports this morning, the deal stipulates that countries can’t withdraw until three years after the deal took hold, plus a one-year notice period, which means even if Trump pulls us out, that won’t take effect until late in 2020. It’s possible that Trump could pull us out in only one year, by withdrawing the United State from the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international treaty to combat global warming that provides the Paris deal’s underpinnings. But that would be a truly drastic step — it was signed by former Republican president George H.W. Bush and overwhelmingly ratified by both parties in the Senate. So it’s likely several years will pass before our exit is formal.
Again, the U.S. cannot withdraw from something to which it is not a party. This remains true despite non-lawyer Trump’s infelicitous use of the verb “withdraw” during the presser yesterday.
Sargent warns that “if the blowback is severe enough, Trump could come under great pressure to reverse his decision.” Of course, there will be no serious blowback, at least none in the United States. Americans don’t care about the phony global warming issue. Only left-wingers and corrupt crony capitalists care.
With President Trump’s courageous decision to extend his middle finger to the cultish global warming crowd, he has placed the country back on track for impressive economic growth.
Unless, of course, lawmakers from his own party undermine him.