France to End Fossil Fueled Cars By 2040 – I Bet My Hoverboard They Won’t

It’s 2017.

According to the 1989 classic, Back to the Future II, we should have flying cars by now – or at least hoverboards. And don’t forget power laces, which should be equipped on every pair of Nikes.

To borrow from another sci-fi classic, Star Trek, we should be emerging from the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s, and working closer toward speed of light travel.

According to a 2007 NBC News Report, we should all have an implant with health, financial, and identifying information stored conveniently under our skin.

Of course, pondering the future can be humorous or invoke a sense of wonder. What is important to remember, however, is that we have no idea what the future can bring. One should confront the prospect of the future with humility at how little we control events. We simply lack the foresight to see over the horizon and project what is going to happen. Humans aren’t predictable machines, and forces that drive history do not fit into some unified theory of everything.

France, of course, has never had a problem relying on the ultimate wisdom of humanity. The French have a long history of crafting policy on nothing more than good intentions and well wishes, dating back as far as the French Revolution. Bless their hearts, no amount of blood-soaked guillotines will ever change their minds.

So it’s no surprise that France announced this week that the country will completely eliminate fossil fuels by 2040. 

“We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040,” [Ecology Minister Nicolas] Hulot said, calling it a “veritable revolution”. 

That’s an awfully impressive goal. How will they achieve it? Well, those details haven’t really been hashed out yet.

Cyrille Cormier of Greenpeace France, a supporter of the measure but critic of the lack of concrete measures, admitted, “We still do not know how we will achieve these objectives and respect these ambitious promises.”

Minister Hulot gave only two hints on how France would meet the 2040 goal. First, by simply prohibiting French automakers from manufacturing gasoline or diesel vehicles by 2040.

(Such quick-fix measures are always a favorite of the Left. Do people not have health insurance? Simply pass a law requiring everyone to buy it! Are workers getting paid too little? Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour!)

Hulot acknowledged that reaching the goal would be “tough”, particularly for automakers, but said that French carmakers Peugeot-Citroen and Renault were well equipped to make the switch.”

That’s easily said by a government minister in 2017 and not, say, the CEO of Renault in 2036. Moreover, with the unexpected fracking boom consumers in America and Europe still overwhelmingly prefer vehicles that run on gasoline or diesel.

Motorists still continue to opt overwhelmingly for petrol and diesel models, usually substantially cheaper. In 2016, hybrid and electric cars accounted for only 3.6 percent of new cars registered in Western Europe, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA),” the Yahoo report says.

The only other measure Hulot indicated may help achieve the 2040 goal is to pay low-income households for their old fossil fuel vehicles, and require them to buy a new and improved electric one. This would essentially amount to a French version of Obama’s Cash for Clunkers program, which was notable for hurting both the environment and the economy at the same time

The fact of the matter is that this announcement, like much of the rhetoric we hear from the environmental left in America and Europe, is simply an empty gesture. It’s a promise based on the Paris Climate Accord, which was yet another toothless measure. Such grand announcements are more about virtue signaling to the rest of the world rather than crafting serious policy.

If France and other countries manage to find a viable alternative to fossil fuel automobiles by 2040, then good for them. But I’m willing to bet they won’t.

I’ll wager my jet pack to your hover boots. We should have both by 2040.

Climate Scientists Aren’t On Board With Steven Hawking’s Doomsday Claims

Famed scientist Steven Hawking painted a frightening picture of what the world will look like now that President Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord. The theoretical physicist spoke to BBC News on Sunday and accused Trump’s agenda of setting the world “over the brink” towards runaway global warming.

“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid,” Hawking stated to BBC.

“Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it’s one we can prevent if we act now,” Hawking said. “By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children.”

Pretty scary stuff. But there is one big problem with these assertions. They fly in the face of other scientists – scientists actually in the field of climatology – who say no such dire future awaits us. Many of them took to Twitter to shoot down Hawking’s apocalyptic claims.

Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather said this:

Meteorologist Ryan Maue (PhD in the subject) thinks Hawkings’ statements are bizarre and wacky:

Bjorn Lomborg, author of “Cool It” and Skeptical Environmentalist” said this:

Plenty of climate scientists are unhappy that the president walked out of the Paris climate accord, but not many of them think it means Earth will turn into Venus.

Despite having one of the greatest minds of our time, Prof. Hawking may be falling victim to Trump Derangement Syndrome – an awful illness that has affected millions nationwide.



World Not Ending, Climate Change Crowd Hardest Hit

Steve Hayward at the indispensable Power Line offered up a post yesterday in a classic good news/bad news vein.  The good news is that the world doesn’t appear to be ending in the way that the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) crowd predicted, most memorably in Al Gore’s disaster flick masquerading as a documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.  The bad news is, well, the world isn’t ending the way that the AGW crowd predicted–and that creates a few inconvenient truths that leading climate intellectuals such as Mark Ruffalo, Bette Midler and Michael Mann (the litigation-happy scientist, not the movie director) would rather not have to explain.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • The climate change models promoted by the doom and gloomers who said we would all fry if we didn’t cut carbon emissions back to levels usually associated with Pyongyang on a Monday night have not proven to be entirely accurate.  In fact, the predicted temperature changes have been so far off the mark, the scientists who crunched the data felt the need to issue a report to explain why they were wrong without, you know, admitting that their entire premise is flawed.
  • A bunch of scientists, many of whom believe that human activity is driving climate change, are calling bull kaka on another scientist who claims that the electrical grid can be powered entirely by renewables by the year 2050.
  • Antarctic sea ice is now at record levels.  With observed global temperatures rising, climate scientists would expect just the opposite, but there you go.  And they’re at a loss to explain it.

Call it a one-two-three punch on the warm-mongers who were already planning their party for the end of the world.  Invitation only and catered by Le Cirque, of course.

Still, none of this should come as a surprise to the so-called reality-based community.  When the numbers don’t add up, there’s only so much tap-dancing you can do to hide it.  Perhaps Michael Mann and his cronies hoped that if they kept pushing their climate change Ponzi scheme hard enough, they’d get the regulatory changes they wanted before anybody noticed that their figures were pure bunk.  A funny thing happened on the way to killing the economy, though:  the climate proved to be far more of a complex system than the climate scientists let on.  It’s exceptionally difficult to model a system with a virtually infinite number of variables, particularly when you don’t know what all those variables are.  That the models themselves have proven to be so inaccurate only underscores how little we really understand about the drivers of climate change, and exposes the utter hubris of anyone who claims that the science is settled.

As to the viability of renewable energy, it would be nice to think that we can simply replace our fossil fuel-based electrical generation with wind, solar and hydroelectric power–but with the present state of technology, that’s nothing more than a pleasant fantasy.  While hydroelectric is pretty reliable, it requires the building of dams.  Lots of dams.  And as anyone with a pair of functioning eyes and ears knows, the same environmentalists who demand RENEWABLE ENERGY NOW!!! aren’t so hot to trot about building dams.  That leaves wind and solar, of course, but those presently account for only around 10% of the country’s entire energy output–and for good reason.  The geographical footprint required for wind and solar farms is immense, taking up acres and acres of space and blighting the landscape with endless arrays of solar panels and wind turbines.  Moreover, these forms of power generation suffer from a lot of intermittency:  you don’t get solar at night when the sun isn’t shining, and the propellors don’t spin when the wind isn’t blowing.  This requires the use of coal and gas-fired power plants to maintain the electrical grid and keep the lights on when these unreliable sources of power fizzle out.  So much for going 100% renewable.

All this isn’t to say that I don’t personally believe that mankind affects the climate of the planet.  I would find it surprising if we didn’t, what with all of our industrial activity and the way we’ve changed the environment.  To me, however, the most pressing question is the degree to which we affect the climate.  If human beings were responsible for, say 10% of the changes in the global climate, we could potentially make a significant impact by altering the way we do things.  On the other hand, if human activity only accounted for .01%, or even 1%, we could shut down our entire civilization and not even make a dent.  The truth is that no scientist can claim to answer this rather significant question, because nobody knows with any reliable degree of certainty.  Hell, they can’t even prove definitively that carbon dioxide is even the pollutant they say it is, because all of the models that predicted a rise in temperatures commensurate with CO2 levels have been wrong.

Perhaps it might be time for scientists to take a step back and admit what they don’t know.

Want To Fix The Environment? Less Marching, More Working

A few weeks ago, my wife and I happened to be in downtown Denver the same day as the “March For Science.”   It was an odd thing to observe.   It was strikingly unsacrificial.  If you’re familiar with Denver, its not exactly a herculean effort to draw young, wealthy liberals downtown on a Saturday.  Sure, they had repurposed their knitted hats from the Women’s march into “brain” hats, and had to defer their venture to the bookstore until after the rally, but it was a notably ordinary activity for most.   The tone of helplessness and passivity was disheartening. (yes, passivity, – I’m reading Ben Sasse’s book, and that word is sticking with me.)  Here were a bunch of ostensibly smart professionals, working in the sciences, helplessly demanding that the government force them to do something about the climate.

In the wake of the withdrawal from the Paris accords (don’t you dare call it a treaty, because that would require an actual vote.), we are seeing more of this angry passivity from those who are passionate about the issue.

If the issue is real, and serious, why aren’t these people, you know, working on it?    If we need to power our lives in a way that emits less carbon dioxide, then that sounds like a science problem, not a political one.  Large corporations like Apple and Google, with billions in research and development capital, are lamenting the American departure from the agreement.   Wouldn’t it be better to work on the solution, and possibly profit from it, than complain about a government policy for 4-8 years?

Many alarmist climate predictions have been wildly off base, but there were predictions in the 20th century that might have been right, if not for one man, Norman Borlaug.   The scientific community saw rising populations, and our limited food production capacity as a recipe for disaster.  There simply wasn’t enough food, or  even the key ingredients to produce it (nitrogen) to feed a growing world population.     The political solutions were draconian.  China’s “one child” policy is an outgrowth of this Malthusian fear.   But the real solution didn’t involve politics, it was agronomy.

Instead of marching for population control measures, or policies limiting food consumption, Borlaug took his Iowa farm background, Christian faith, and his Ph.D. in plant pathology and genetics, and went to work.  Borlaug worked in Mexico, and later in India, pioneering new breeding techniques, and developing genetic traits in wheat that led to higher yields, better disease resistance, and ultimately, a 600% increase in wheat yields.    This is what we love about science!  The ability for humans to use their God given intellect to make things better.

This is why the protest culture surrounding climate science is so frustrating.   There are limitless opportunities to develop technologies to make energy cheaper, cleaner, and more accessible.     Instead of standing in a wheat field in Mexico (metaphorically) to develop a solution, we are culturally stuck, waiting for politicians to fix the problem for us, or more accurately, we are asking them to force us to fix the problem.  The political solutions will be economic and humanitarian disasters, especially for the third world, where they desperately need more, not less, energy.   The Borlaug-ian solutions are out there, if we would stop marching, and start working.

Trump Has Done The Climate a Massive Favor

Lean in and listen. Let the truth salve your conscience.

The Anthropomorphic Global Warming movement was never serious. It never bought the goods it was selling. It was, in fact, a giant confidence game. And the mark just walked away.

That’s not to say global warming, or concerns about our environment and what humans are doing to it, aren’t real. It’s not to say that pumping billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the mesosphere is good for the future of human habitation. It undoubtedly puts more stress on earth’s environmental regulators and ecosystems than if we didn’t do it.

But the AGW movement didn’t want to deal fairly with climate change. It wanted to force America to fix everything while the rest of the world does very little. In former President Barack Obama, they found their ideal mark. Then Trump came along and unmasked the con.

Even if America wanted to, we could not significantly reduce our carbon footprint without unacceptable consequences.

In 2008, an MIT class studied Americans’ “carbon footprints” by economic status, compared to other countries. The results were written up in Science Daily. Unsurprisingly, the biggest factor in carbon footprint per capita wasn’t individual lifestyle or economic status. It was the level of development of the United States versus other countries.

But the “floor” below which nobody in the U.S. can reach, no matter a person’s energy choices, turned out to be 8.5 tons, the class found. That was the emissions calculated for a homeless person who ate in soup kitchens and slept in homeless shelters.

The 2008 global per capita average was 4 tons, and the American average was 20 tons. That’s because America is a developed country with paved roads, police and fire protection, hospitals, and infrastructure.

They found that achieving significant reductions for the most part required drastic changes that would likely be unacceptable to most people. As a result, they said, “this all suggests to us very significant limits to voluntary actions to reduce impacts, both at a personal level and at a national level.”

In other words, America can’t be America–we have to be India. But India has lots of room to grow. Or more simply: the world can never live up to America’s standard of living without destroying itself.

This is the basic contradiction in the AGW movement. They claim the ultimate Atlas Shrugged where the John Galts (AlGores) go to their personal carbon paradise while the unwashed nonbelievers must simply reduce their expectations and make the sacrifice. It’s Malthusian resource depletion with land as the resource (and, of course, crop failure, disease, catastrophes ad nauseum).

By Trump exiting the U.S. from the unserious and virtue-signalling Paris Accord, those who believe in this coming nightmare must fend for themselves. In the U.S., it’s impossible to get below 8.5 tons, no matter what. That leaves  U.S. AGW adherents telling the rest of the world to stop raising their standard of living, or raising up an army to destroy America’s standard of living.

Instead they could focus on ways to raise non-industrialized countries standards of living while limiting carbon footprints. The best place to do that is not in the U.S., where our infrastructure is fairly well developed. The U.S. government should not tax Americans to pay for the rest of the world to figure this out. That was the whole reason behind the Paris “Green Fund” and national contributions–tax the rich to pay developing countries.

Without the U.S. government’s heavy hand, now the AGW movement has to sell their ideas in the marketplace. They need to raise money privately, which they’re already starting to do.

Countries around the world lit up their buildings in green in support of the Paris Accord. Yay for them.

Buildings in major world cities such Paris, Mexico City, Washington, D.C., and New York City lit their facades in green to show support for the agreement. The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio (D), tweeted that City Hall turned green on Thursday “because New York City will honor the goals of the Paris Agreement.”


I’m absolutely in support of this. If individual Americans want to join in the effort to reduce their carbon footprint, it’s their choice and liberty to do so. If they want to pay other countries to find ways to raise their standard of living while keeping a low carbon footprint, great.

If cities want to join in this, that’s how our federal republic works. This isn’t illegal immigration, where sanctuary cities violate federal law, so New York City can support the Paris Accords if it wants to (good luck with that, as Manhattan probably has one of the highest carbon footprints in the world).

Now that Trump has exposed the con, he has freed the AGW movement to actually do something to address global warming. Maybe now they’ll rid themselves of charlatans and celebrities who fly their corporate jets to luxury conference sites and get on with the job.

A Few Logical Questions About Climate Change

In the wake of President Trump’s long awaited decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate nontreaty (at least according to the Obama Administration), the liberal left has broken out into hysteria on the assumption that the slowdown in the rise of the sea levels that was brought about by the election of Barack Obama has been reversed by President Trump. Reports of the Earth’s demise due to the US exit from the “executive agreement” are likely to be greatly exaggerated.

The full text of the president’s speech seems to indicate that he is not opposed to a climate treaty in principle, but is chiefly opposed to the cost in American jobs and productivity through the agreement’s call for strict regulations on the United States, but more permissive approach to other countries.

In fact, Mr. Trump called upon climate activists to negotiate a new deal that he would be willing to sign and presumably submit to the Republican-controlled Senate for formal ratification. “I’m willing to immediately work with Democratic leaders to either negotiate our way back into Paris, under the terms that are fair to the United States and its workers, or to negotiate a new deal that protects our country and its taxpayers,” Trump said.

If President Trump is truly skeptical of the danger of climate change, then it seems unlikely that any deal that he could negotiate would be fair to the United States and its taxpayers. If climate change is a hoax, as the president has been known to charge, then any deal would not be beneficial to the American workers that President Trump represents. As a service to the president, I would like to present a logical framework for determining whether a future deal would be fair to the United States… or is necessary at all.

Is climate change real? The first point to consider is whether climate change is actually happening. I will concede that it is. In fact, as the NASA website notes, “Earth’s climate is always changing. There have been times when Earth’s climate has been warmer than it is now. There have been times when it has been cooler. These times can last thousands or millions of years.”

Is the world climate actually warming? This is a more difficult question to answer. There is debate on whether warming is still occurring. In November 2016, Dr. David Whitehouse wrote on the Global Warming Policy Forum, “Satellite data indicates a large fall in the temperature of the lower Troposphere back to pre-El Nino levels. This decrease has reinstated the so-called ‘pause’ in lower atmosphere temperature.”

If the assumptions that the world is still warming are wrong, it would help to explain why predictions by the global warming alarmists have been so far off the mark. Reason pointed out last year that James Hansen predicted in 1986 that global temperatures would rise by two degrees in 20 years. The actual increase in that time was 0.2 degrees. Hansen’s predictions were off by a factor of 10.

In 1988, Hansen forecast that global temperatures would rise by 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit from the year 2025 to 2050 causing sea levels to rise by one to four feet. By 2007, the estimates had been reduced to “8 to 16 inches above 1990 levels by 2090.” Most of the long-term predictions about warming seem to have fallen short.

Is warming caused by human activity? It seems likely that at least some warming is the result of human activity, but warming that occurred prior to the industrialization of the late 20th century cannot be legitimately blamed on human production of carbon dioxide since humans were not big emitters of CO2 in the early 1900s. Patrick Michaels, a climate scientist at the Cato Institute, estimates that about half of the 0.9 degrees in warming since the Industrial Revolution can be attributed to humans.

Is warming a bad thing? If the Earth warms, some parts of the globe will suffer, but other parts will benefit. A warmer Earth could mean longer growing seasons, lower energy costs and fewer cold-related deaths for much of the world. Loss of land from rising sea levels may well be offset by bountiful crops from areas where agriculture is not currently efficient.

A common claim is that climate change causes more severe weather and worse storms than in the past. However, data from Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, do not support claims that climate change has led to more losses from severe weather. The trend has been mostly flat for the past 25 years even as warming supposedly reached critical levels.

Can we stop warming if it is catastrophic? It is an unknown whether global warming can be stopped, but it is generally acknowledged even among environmentalists that the Paris agreement would not do it. Bjorn Lomborg estimates that the Paris promises would reduce warming by only 0.05 degrees Celsius over doing nothing. This is a miniscule gain at an enormous price.

Even if we can stop climate change, there are other indirect costs to be considered. Third world nations that are in the process of industrializing may pay the biggest price. Citizens of these nations may lose the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty because fears of climate change stop development and economic growth. Given that many of the dire forecasts of the alarmists have not come to pass, the cure for climate change may be as bad as the disease.

A better solution is to allow businesses to adapt to the changing climate. Technological innovation is reducing emissions as well as helping people to become more prosperous. Oil companies are now predicting that world consumption of oil will peak and begin to decline in the next few decades even without a top-down mandate from the United Nations. If we want to enter into a treaty to protect the

If we want to enter into a treaty to protect the climate, then negotiate one that will actually acomplish its goal. And actually send it to the Senate for ratification.

President Trump can take comfort from history as well. When President Bush decided to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol in 2001. The left predicted disaster then as well. Fifteen years later, however, we are still waiting on the apocalypse.

Ted Cruz Gives Harvard Prof a History Lesson

One of my favorite moments from the original Star Trek happened in the episode “The Trouble With Tribbles,” when Captain Kirk, Mister Spock and Ensign Pavel Chekov are discussing Sherman’s Planet, which has caused a rather bothersome interstellar dispute:

SPOCK: Sherman’s Planet is claimed by both sides, our Federation and the Klingon Empire. We do have the better claim.
CHEKOV: The area was first mapped by the famous Russian astronomer Ivan Borkoff almost two hundred–
KIRK: John Burke.
CHEKOV: Burke, sir? I don’t think so. I’m sure it was–
SPOCK: John Burke was the Chief Astronomer at the Royal Academy in old Britain at the time.
CHEKOV: Oh, Royal Academy. Well…
KIRK: Is the rest of your history that faulty, Ensign?

Joyce Chaplin, the Chair of American Studies at Harvard University, would have felt right at home in that briefing room on the starship Enterprise.  Responding to Donald Trump’s decision yesterday to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Change Accords, she attempted to shame the president by tying the creation of our great nation to another Paris treaty:

To which Senator Ted Cruz, known for his own master-level trolling on Twitter, basically said, “Um, not so fast.”

Yeah, it seems as though Chaplin forgot about a little thing called the Declaration of Independence–you know, that thing where the Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor, blah blah blah?  They didn’t exactly wait around for the Eurocrats’ permission to make America an independent nation from Great Britain.  They just told George III to stick it and went their own way.  Is the rest of your history that faulty, Professor?

Cruz didn’t stop there, however.  Cracking his knuckles, he told Chaplin to hold his beer and then went after Elon Musk, the High Priest of Tesla and SpaceX–not to mention the reigning King of Federal Subsidies for Dubious Green Technologies:

This comes on the heels of Musk resigning his position on the White House economic advisory council,  in protest over Trump’s withdrawal from the accords.  Whether or not Musk actually gives up his Gulfstream for a seat in coach on Southwest remains to be seen–but I’m betting he goes the DiCaprio route and confines his personal climate activism to admonishing the little people on how they can be happy without air conditioning, while he retreats to his cozy 10,000 square foot chalet in the south of France, sipping Rémy Martin and sighing, “We’ll always have Paris.”

Thank heaven we have Ted Cruz down here on planet Earth keepin’ it real.

What Obama’s Paris Climate Accord Could Teach Donald Trump

President Trump dismantled yet another part of President Obama’s legacy this week, by removing the United States from the Paris climate accord. Obama’s legacy, largely consisting of executive overreach, cut corners, and half fixes, is once again proving easy to erase. 

When the Paris climate agreement was signed at the United Nations in April 2016, the Obama Administration heralded it as “the most ambitious climate change agreement in history.” The accord is often cited as one of the most important acts of his second term. Prominent presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin listed it as a key feature of his legacy. While the agreement was still being discussed, the New York Times went as far as to claim that Obama’s legacy was at stake if the negotiations proved unsuccessful.

If his domestic regulations and a Paris accord withstand efforts to gut them, “climate change will become the heart and soul of his presidency” [Rice University presidential historian Douglas] Brinkley told the New York Times.

Indeed, the Paris climate accord is now gutted and left for dead.

But my purpose is not to discuss climate change, the merits of the Paris agreement, or the fallout of America’s withdrawal.

I am here to lead the funeral procession for Barack Obama’s pen and phone, and to let their demise serve as a warning to Donald Trump.

During his second term, fed up with Congress, Obama decided that negotiating with the Republicans was too difficult. There was little common ground between the White House and legislature, and Obama had an ambitious agenda he wished to implement.

We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and a phone,” Obama said in early 2014.

That would be a common refrain from Obama for the balance of his presidency. With said pen and with said phone, Obama flexed the power of the administrative state to push his liberal agenda in education, gay rights, immigration, foreign policy, and the environment. Some initiatives were stymied by successful lawsuits, but Obama was largely successful in weaponizing the federal bureaucracy to bypass Congress as much as possible.

One of the most difficult parts of the presidency, particularly during polarized times such as these, is to go about the difficult slog of governing. Developing relationships with congressional leaders, whipping up votes, wading into the weeds on complex policy, making tough decisions to come to a majority consensus: these are the difficult, unseen, and unglamorous parts of governing a nation. The legislative process takes a tremendous amount of deliberation and consensus, as the founders intended.

Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, both former governors, managed to achieve legislative accomplishments by working with a hostile Congress. Tip O’Neill, the Democratic Speaker of the House throughout the 1980s, once called Reagan the most ignorant man to ever inhabit the White House, and “Herbert Hoover with a smile.” Of course, Clinton and former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich never had anything but disdain for each other.

Yet Reagan and O’Neill still managed to pass legislation on tax reform, national defense, gun rights, voting rights, and immigration. Clinton and Gingrich managed to address welfare reform, gay marriage, and taxes.

Unlike Clinton and Reagan, President Obama was a political amateur. He came to office on a tide of speeches and platitudes, but with no real governing experience. His only signature legislative achievements occurred in the first year of his presidency when he had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.

When the going got tough, Obama resorted to his pen and phone. This was the easy way out. It paid short term dividends, allowing him to make more speeches as he implemented one vacuous policy after another. His supporters claimed victory in the name of progress, while the other half of the country became hopelessly convinced everyday that they were losing their country and there was nothing Congress could do about it. Their only hope to stop the march of progressive tyranny through the administrative state was to win the White House.

In their desperation, they elected another political amateur, Donald Trump. Like Obama, he has no governing experience. He, too, came to power on a tide of speeches and platitudes.

To the extent that Trump was voted into the presidency to undo Obama’s flimsy legacy, the Paris climate agreement is the latest is a string of achievements. Trump has reversed course on transgender bathrooms, immigration enforcement, and other executive actions. With each new measure, Trump, like his predecessor before him, takes a victory lap in the name of progress for his supporters.

The day is coming, however, when Trump will not be in office. A Democrat will eventually be elected, and he or she will be free to reverse (or re-reverse!) every executive action taken by Trump.

The only way to form a lasting legacy is to engage in the difficult work of lawmaking. To set the country on a conservative trajectory for decades to come, Trump and Congressional Republicans must pass major legislation. Thus far, Trump has proven lackluster in his attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare, the only real legislative achievement on which Obama’s legacy can rely. Other efforts, such as tax reform, are struggling to get off the ground.

Almost all legislation will require a few Democratic senators to overcome a filibuster. That will be tough, but it was difficult for Reagan and Clinton too. Partisanship and polarization are not new.

With every new executive action, Trump is shoveling more dirt into the grave of Obama’s pen and phone legacy. He would be wise to assure his successor can’t do the same.