- - Thursday, August 11, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

First there was Brexit, when Great Britain shook up the global establishment by following through on a dare to exit the European Union. Now a movement is building that would further stun the supranationalists: an exit from the United Nations climate change protocol, dubbed “Clexit.” (Not very imaginative, but sloganeers are rarely original.) Men of good will don’t tear up agreements unless there’s ample reason, but international pacts with intangible benefits are never worth the paper they’re printed on. Brexit happened, and Clexit could be next.

Donald Trump, whose name strikes fear in the hearts of establishmentarians of both parties, has said if elected he would renegotiate or cancel U.S. participation in the accord signed by nearly 200 nations in Paris last December. He says the pact, meant to reduce greenhouse gases that the greenies say cause global warming, is particularly harsh toward U.S. industry, and his rallying cry is “America first.”

Clexit-like language has prompted squeaks of dismay from adherents of green orthodoxy in Washington. Two former directors of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, William Ruckelshaus and William Reilly, issued a statement this week claiming the Donald would undermine the environmental legacy of Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush. “Donald Trump has shown a profound ignorance of science and of the public health issues embodied in our environmental laws,” they say. “To back away now, as Trump wants to do, would set the world back decades — years we could never recover.” Lest they lose their place in the capital establishment, both endorsed Hillary Clinton. Once a bureaucrat, always a bureaucrat.

While these two worthies fret over the fate of “the world,” Mr. Trump focuses on the future of America, which would be his No. 1 job as president. In his speech to the Detroit Economic Club, he pledged to end the Obama-Clinton “war on the American worker, and unleash an energy revolution that will bring vast new wealth to our country.” Lifting restrictions on American energy would boost the U.S. GDP by $100 billion and jobs by 500,000 annually.

Prospects for that kind of bounty is what drove Great Britain to bolt the EU. In short order, post-Brexit Prime Minister Theresa May has adopted a plan to unleash a hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” revolution. Her plan would award Britons in the vicinity of shale natural gas drilling operations as much as $17,000. The money — a bribe, as anti-fracking activists call it — would be funded by drilling fees paid by industry.

If not exactly an exit from the U.N. climate change pact, Mrs. May’s maneuvering is a clear departure from predecessor David Cameron’s “green” energy blueprint that requires British consumers to pay inflated electric bills to subsidize renewable energy projects. Like the United States, Great Britain is resting on enormous fossil fuel reserves. It’s estimated that at 1,300 trillion cubic feet, it’s enough to power the nation for 500 years.

Since a rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has not produced the predicted rise in global temperatures, there’s little reason to expect that limiting the use of carbon-dioxide-producing fossil fuels will affect temperatures as forecast. Now that Brexit is behind them, Britons expect their government to adopt energy policies that make sense in pound and pence. With 61 percent of Americans telling Rasmussen pollsters that the climate-change debate is not “settled” science at all, voters may move toward Clexit and choose affordable energy over unproven climate theory.

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