Given the stance that President Trump has taken towards the environment, an exit from the Paris accords is all but done already. What isn't being looked at is the economic disadvantage that these environmental rollbacks create, as well as the loss of leadership that the US is ceding to China.

It is clear that entrenched interests in the U.S. are behind Trump's view of energy development, but these powerful groups aren't taking a holistic view of development. Far from being a question of saving the environment, sustainable energy sources provide large economic advantages.

Green advantage

Solar power output in China rose 80 percent in the first quarter of 2017, and this represents the changing energy dynamic in the world's next superpower. Unlike the leadership in the USA, President Xi Jinping recognizes the economic impacts of energy sources that work from a free fuel source. He was quoted as saying, “It is important to protect the environment while pursuing economic and social progress so as to achieve harmony between man and nature, and harmony between man and society.”

This harmony also creates large economic advantages, by doing away with fuel sources that require energy to extract and move to the generating facility. President Trump has been a champion of Coal Power, and this is a perfect example of the advantage that the United States is handing over to China on a silver platter.

Coal makes no cents

The first industrial revolution in the modern age happened in England, and it was built on the back of coal power. Today coal is a dying fuel source, that really only makes sense for special purposes, like metallurgy. The idea that coal is really going to displace natural gas as an energy source in the US is an absurdity, given the extensive infrastructure and ultra-low fuel cost.

President Trump's obsession with coal was sold as job-centric, but it is far more likely a matter of making money. Former Senator Jim DeMint has close ties with Trump&Co., and he has been a vocal proponent of coal power for a long time. Unfortunately, coal fired power plants are one of the most expensive power sources that exist, and as sustainable sources continue to drop in price, this will only become more apparent.

Paris or not

Compliance with the Paris Accords will allow nations to adopt next-generation power sources, and take full advantage of low-cost energy that has few operational costs. It is those costs that Trump&Co. want to profit from, and the US is being used as a way to make money. The short term implications aren't positive, but over an extended time-frame, the effects of these policies are horrific. Nations that invest in value creation will thrive, and those that ignore changes will be left behind.