Yesterday, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted a panel discussion titled “Implementing the Paris Agreement.” The long and short of why this gathering was held was to urge the United States to move forward with carbon taxes and massive government subsidies for wind and solar to fight climate change.

The subject of the panel was, to say the least, a bit surprising to us: Both in that AEI is usually in favor of free markets and because President Trump already announced the United States would withdraw from Paris over a year ago.

But there it was – a moderate to conservative group going full Benedict Arnold on climate and energy. Yuck!

Needless to say, CFACT wasn’t going to just sit idly by and say nothing.

Adam Houser, our National Collegians Director, was sent to the meeting, spoke up, and wrote an article at on what transpired. You can read his take here.

Adam boldly asked this question of the panelists: “Can anyone provide insight as to why, according to AEI research, the United States is leading the world in CO₂ emissions reduction, despite not entering the Paris agreement, or enacting national carbon taxes, and how this compares to emissions globally?”

Joe Aldy, a former Obama administration official and panel member, openly admitted that natural gas was mostly to thank for this, and that without subsidies, solar and wind would not be able to compete in the market.

“About 60% of [emissions reduction] is natural gas displacing coal…It’s hard to imagine much of the investment in wind and solar over the past decade would have happened in the absence of both federal and state policies.”

When asked why not all AEI scholars support the agreement, Aldy got flustered:

“My view on this when I hear people sort of arguing on the science as someone who is not a scientist is to say I don’t care, I know enough to know that in a world of uncertainty, and where the risks are irreversible, there is an economic case” for action on climate change.

According to AEI’s panel, it does not matter if the climate science is off. The green agenda needs to be implemented, no matter what.

You can find the AEI data here on the U.S. leading the world in CO2 emissions reduction despite leaving the Paris agreement, all while global CO2 emissions continue to increase.

It is unfortunate to see an organization like AEI go down this route, especially after a string of great victories by the Trump administration in rolling back climate alarmism and opening up new opportunities in energy development.

AEI has become to the cause of sound science what General Burnside was to the Union during the Civil War. It is reported that after his fiasco in losing a key battle, Lincoln said of him “only Burnside could have managed such a coup, wringing one last spectacular defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Let us hope conservatives don’t follow their lead.


  • Craig Rucker

    Craig Rucker is a co-founder of CFACT and currently serves as its president.