Merkel's climate obsession is the real issue in dispute over US leadership
Wall Street Journal:
...German industry is also looking to the US for new manufacturing facilities to take advantage of the cheap natural gas. Merkel appears to be willing to lower her countries standard of living and she is miffed that Trump is not willing to commit economic suicide too.
Mrs. Merkel seemed especially miffed about Mr. Trump’s decision not to embrace the Paris climate accord that Mr. Obama signed in his final year as President. “The whole discussion about climate has been difficult, or rather very unsatisfactory,” Mrs. Merkel told reporters. “Here we have the situation that six members, or even seven if you want to add the [European Union], stand against one.’
But wait. Since when is a difference of opinion on climate policy a signal of U.S. retreat from Europe? And why is Mr. Trump’s reluctance to sign on to Paris—he says he’ll decide whether to leave the accord this week—a failure of leadership? Mrs. Merkel’s comments suggest that she is most upset because Mr. Trump declined to follow her lead on climate.
Mr. Trump should decline if he wants to fulfill his campaign promises to lift the U.S. economy. Mrs. Merkel’s embrace of green-energy dogmas has done enormous harm to the German economy. She reacted to the Fukushima meltdown by phasing out nuclear power, and her government has force-fed hundreds of billions of dollars into solar and wind power that have raised energy costs. As Der Spiegel once put it, electricity is now a “luxury good” in Germany.
It’s not surprising that Mrs. Merkel and the Europeans should want to shackle the U.S. with similarly high energy costs, and Mr. Obama was happy to oblige. But Mr. Trump was elected on a promise to raise middle-class incomes, and domestic energy production is essential to that effort. Mrs. Merkel doesn’t care if Mr. Obama committed the U.S. to Paris without any Congressional approval, but Mr. Trump has to take that into account.
The U.S. natural-gas fracking revolution also has the benefit of reducing fossil-fuel emissions by reducing reliance on coal. To the extent that U.S. energy production can supplant Russian natural-gas supplies to Europe and keep the price of oil low, it also undermines Vladimir Putin’s influence at home and abroad.