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President Trump with business leaders as he signs a memorandum on "Chinese economic aggression" in the White House on March 22, 2018. Photo: Mark Wilson via Getty Images

When it comes to the economy, President Trump's "America First" mantra has meant renegotiating existing trade treaties and imposing tariffs on imported goods such as aluminum, steel and solar panels. Because they prioritize growth, G7 leaders, free-trade proponents and most economists oppose Trump’s anti-globalized stance.

Yes, but: Environmentalists and steady-state economists (i.e., those who study the physical constraints on economic growth) might secretly want to cheer. Why? More global economic activity translates to more natural resource extraction and greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, and vice versa. If you want to lower GHG emissions, tanking the economy is one way to do so.

The economic argument against Trump’s U.S.-centric stance is as follows: If you restrict the international flow of money, goods and services, the costs of production will increase and, subsequently, so will consumer prices. Higher prices translate to lower consumption, which translates to less production, which translates to slower economic growth for the global economy.

Many economists and energy analysts believe that increased economic and energy efficiency reduces energy (and resource) consumption in the long run, and therefore that we can continue to grow country-specific or global economic output while shrinking energy consumption.

But, but, but: The data show this not to be true for the entire global economy: Globally, energy consumption and GDP growth go hand in hand.

The bottom line: Trump might think he is helping the U.S. economy and workers by imposing tariffs. But by introducing these isolationist policies, he might slow globalization and therefore reduce GHG emissions — something he doesn’t care much about at all.  

Carey King is a research scientist and the assistant director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.

Go deeper: Read more on David Stern’s “stylized facts” of energy and economic growth.

Go deeper

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has be charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."

3 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.