How can Trump kill the planet when we’re supposed to be dead already? Earth has warmed and cooled many times in the past.

In 1997, after President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore joined leaders of 149 other nations in Kyoto, Japan, and accepted binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming, the U.S. Senate unanimously refused even to vote on the treaty because it imposed fewer or no restrictions on developing countries.

The world did not end, even though Gore – who has prospered as one of the chief prophets in the Church of Climate Doom – predicted in 2006 the Earth would reach an environmental point of no return within 10 years if it failed to take “drastic measures.”

Which raises the obvious question: If Gore was right and our doom was assured a year ago, why are so many people angry at President Donald Trump for keeping his campaign promise to withdraw from the Paris Accord, a non-binding agreement President Barack Obama never even presented to the Senate because he knew it, too, would fail? On the other hand, if Gore was wrong – and our continued survival indicates he was – perhaps the reaction to Trump’s decision was even more overheated than the planet.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., suggested Trump was essentially telling the world to “drop dead.” The ACLU somehow managed to inject race into the debate, saying the president had committed an “assault on communities of color.” The New York Times warned of “rising seas and crippling drought,” and the Democratic National Committee immediately spotted a fund-raising opportunity by warning would-be donors that the “fate of the world for future generations hangs in the balance.”

Regardless of whether you “believe” in man-made global warm . . . er, climate change, the Paris Accords represented a politically undemocratic and economically bad deal for the United States that would have transferred jobs and wealth offshore while doing little to achieve its supposed goal.

A lot of people in Fort Wayne seem to understand why doctors and employees don’t want Lutheran Health Network’s $300 million profit used to subsidize the Tennessee-based parent company that lost about $1.7 billion last year. Their argument is a simple one: Why should we and our patients be penalized to prop up less-efficient operations?

The Paris Accords are like that, on a global scale. Developed countries promised to reduce emissions while China and India, the world’s largest and fourth-largest carbon dioxide emitters, would continue to emit more C02 through at least 2030. In other words, Americans would be penalized for their achievement and prosperity.

As Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said, the deal would have cost U.S. economy $3 trillion over the next several decades and 6.5 million industrial jobs by 2040. What’s more, the U.S. would have had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars into something called the “Green Climate Fund,” a United Nations-supervised account supposedly used to help poor countries cope with the impact of climate change.

All of that, and more, might be a small price to pay if the accords really could prevent the planet from being incinerated, drowned or even frozen into extinction. But even advocates say it would reduce the average global temperature by a mere 0.17 degrees by 2100. That’s very little gain for a whole lot of pain unless, like those other hospitals run by Lutheran’s parent company, you live in one of the countries that would benefit by hamstringing more-developed economies.

When it comes to climate change, I’m not a “denier,” merely a skeptic. Common sense tells us pollution is not a good thing, but science tells us conclusively – no “belief” is needed – that the Earth has warmed and cooled many times on its own, long before mankind could influence climate. Any global effort to impose emission limits, therefore, must at the very least be fair, consistent and legally adopted. Paris wasn’t.

“The Paris agreement imposes an extremely expensive burden without moving the needle on greenhouse gas emissions,” U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, said in a statement. “From the start, this agreement bypassed Congress and was more about President Obama’s political climate agenda than sound science . . . I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Science Committee to develop real solutions based on science, not politics, to address these issues.”

When the first Earth Day was observed in 1970, various scientists were predicting a coming ice age, worldwide famine, massive overpopulation, depletion of oil reserves and the extinction of 80 percent of all animal species within 25 years. But Banks may be right: There’s always a first time. <br>

<i> This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Kevin Leininger at or call him at 461-8355. <br></i><br>

<center> City’s response</center> <br>

Mayor Tom Henry issued this statement Friday in response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accords:

“I am deeply concerned about President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Climate change greatly impacts our quality of life and economic well-being.

The city of Fort Wayne has a strong commitment to sustainability, which we have done through increasing energy independence at the sewage treatment plant, changing traffic signals to energy efficient LED lighting, and encouraging recycling. We are investing in our stormwater and sewer systems to improve the quality of our rivers, which is leading to a revitalization of our neighborhoods and downtown and attracting businesses that bring more jobs to our area.

Despite this setback on the federal level, our local efforts to improve our environment will continue.”