Much Ado About Nothing

The liberal media, environmental organizations, crony capitalists, and some members of Congress are in a hand wringing dither at the prospect that President Trump will withdraw from the 2015 Paris Accord.  Rarely is so much air time, print space, and rhetoric been devoted to something that so irrelevant .

In the early 90s, when Al Gore was pushing for mandatory emission reduction actions, a number of individuals and organizations called for a voluntary program to address what was then called global warming.  Bob Reinstein, a climate negotiator under George H. W. Bush, was the leading proponent for what he called a Pledge and Review approach.  The Clinton Administration rejected voluntary measures out of hand and went all out in support of the Kyoto Treaty.  The Senate unanimously passed SR-98 which rejected any treaty like Kyoto.

Since 1997, the climate club has tried every year at its annual Conference of the Parties (COP) to build on Kyoto with tougher goals and mandates.  And each year, it has failed, although each COP always finds a way to claim victory.  The 2015 Paris meeting became the occasion for achieving the grand illusion.  The adopted accord is just another version of Pledge and Review.  The notion that it will have any affect on climate is a fraud.

The Agreement maintains the fiction that emission reductions will keep global temperatures 2 degrees C above preindustrial levels or lower, commits to zero net emissions by achieving a balance between emissions and absorption in the second half of the century, commits to assist developing countries in adapting and in reducing emissions, and sets a long term goal of a low carbon future.  It is always easy to set long term goals for a time horizon that is far distant.

Since Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance we have learned that the assumed correlation between CO2 emissions and temperature increases isn’t all that simple.  Global emissions have continued to rise but global temperatures peaked in 1998 even though climate models have them continuing to increase.  And, none of the scary scenarios involving extreme weather and flooding caused by global warming have materialized.

Proponents of the Paris Accord point to the fact that 195 countries, virtually the entire world, have accepted it.  They conveniently neglect to point out that developing country participation was bought with a $100 billion a year bribe.  As long as money will be thrown at them to deal with the climate problem, why not go along?

The climate establishment needed a victory and Paris was turned into one.  In fact, it is an illusion.  As the late historian Daniel Boorstin pointed out events like Paris are synthetic novelties called pseudo-events.  In today’s jargon, they are false news and alternative facts.

Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg’s analysis of the agreement concluded, “if every nation fulfills every promise by 2030, and continues to fulfill these promises faithfully until the end of the century, and there is no ‘CO₂ leakage’ to non-committed nations, the entirety of the Paris promises will reduce temperature rises by just 0.17°C (0.306°F) by 2100”.  An analysis by American Enterprise Institute scholar, Ben Zycher, reached a similar conclusion, a whopping 0.17 degree reduction, a reduction that could even be smaller since the measurement error is 0.1.

Believing that all nations will do what they promised is like second marriages, a triumph of hope over experience.  Rhetoric will be far greater than performance and participating nations will be extremely creative in explaining away their performance.  During Kyoto, cheating became an art form.  Countries importing coal fired electricity omitted the emissions from its reports because another country produced the emissions.  Producing countries also omitted the emissions because the importing country should own them.  Companies accumulated emission credits by investing in offsets in developing countries under the Clean Development Mechanism but many of those credits were the result of creative accounting.  The same kind of game playing will take place under the Paris Accord with the participants willingly engaging in wink and nod compliance.

Single minded pursuit of reducing CO2 emissions will cause serious economic harm while doing nothing to affect climate change.  The charade that the Paris Agreement represents needs to be exposed for what it is, a full employment act for those who believe in “global governance” and who profit from marketing environmental doom.

 

 

Author: billo38@icloud.com

Founder and president of Solutions Consulting which focuses on public policy issues, strategic planning, and strategic communications.

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