Analysis by Kyle A. Lohmeier
Yesterday, president Trump announced he was undoing one of former president Obama’s crowning achievements by pulling the USA out of the Paris Climate Accord. Naturally, the Left, and most of the world along with it, lost their minds.
“(The decision is) one of the worst policy moves made in the 21st century because of the huge damage to our economy, our environment and our geopolitical standing,” Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer lamented hyperbolically, according to Reuters.
On cue, Bernie Sanders also blubbered apocalyptically.
“At this moment, when climate change is already causing devastating harm around the world, we do not have the moral right to turn our backs on efforts to preserve this planet for future generations.”
In that particular whine, Sanders echoed the assumptions of many Leftists, world leaders and general dupes: that the decision somehow spells doom for the planet. This is, of course, very silly.
First, the decision is just that, a decision to do something. Eventually. They way the ruinous treaty was brokered, the USA can’t actually even get out of it officially for several years, although there’s nothing to stop the federal government from ceasing enforcement of the accord’s dictates.
Most hilarious, however, is the asinine assumption the entire world has apparently made that the Paris Accord, brokered in 2015 under President Obama and then largely by fiat, would actually make any noticeable difference to climate change, let alone “save the world.” Hell, the accord’s own stated goals weren’t that lofty, even – the whole point is to hold the global average temperature to just two degrees Celsius above per-industrial levels. The number of huge assumptions therein is staggering: the biggest being that human activity is the primary driver of climate change and that changing human activity can have any effect on the changing climate.
“The first thing to note is that the same computer models that say global warming is a problem also say that Paris will not fix it. If one were to graph the standard warming projections over the next century with and without Paris, the two lines overlap almost exactly. Whatever greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration we would have reached in the year 2100 without Paris, we will reach it shortly thereafter with. For all its costs, the Paris treaty will have almost no effect on global warming, and by depleting global income it will make it harder for countries to adapt and innovate in response to whatever changes occur. Thus not only does Paris not solve the problem, it arguably makes it worse,” Ross McKitrick wrote for The Cato Institute; he’s a “Professor of Economics and CBE Chair in Sustainable Commerce at the University of Guelph, where he specializes in environmental economics. In 2012, he was appointed CME Fellow in Sustainable Commerce. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Fraser Institute in Vancouver B.C. and a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the John Deutsch Institute in Kingston Ontario,” according to his hyperlinked bio.
So, McKitrick probably knows more about climate science than either Schumer or Sanders.
The Paris Accord forces countries to meet Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); essentially pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a certain amount by 2025. Obama pledged the USA to a 26-percent reduction in emissions below 2005 levels by 2025 by executive order, congress never voted upon this aspect of the treaty. Of course, the US was going to meet that unrealistic goal via regulations that would have further crippled American industries and made them less competitive against Chinese and Indian firms who operate under much looser regulations under the Paris Accord.
In effect, the Paris Accord is some sort of bizarre, self-flagellating expression of liberal guilt. It forces rich countries to pay billions to the UN Green Climate Fund, which Trump says the US will now stop contributing to. That fund is intended to help pay for the mitigation of droughts, floods and other natural disasters in developing countries that are now the fault of nations that managed to become industrial powerhouses before the rest of the planet caught up. Because reasons.
Further evidence of what a omnibus package of liberal ideology the Paris Climate Accord is can be found in its components that actually don’t have anything to do with climate change.
“The Paris Agreement also veers into absurdity by its political and ideological language, requiring countries to address extraneous themes like gender equity, biodiversity, poverty eradication, migrants, disabled persons, a ‘just transition of the workforce,’ ‘creation of decent work,’ and so on. Having larded the treaty with social justice slogans, its authors cannot be surprised if they become points of contention,” McKitrick wrote.
So, in reality, all Trump has done is pledge to not contribute a few billion dollars to a UN boondoggle while refusing to further hamstring an industrial sector that is already over-regulated with additional, needless, expensive and pointless regulation. In that aspect alone, Americans win twice: our industries can continue to function and grow without ruinous regulations, and we taxpayers don’t have to fund the enforcement of those counter-productive regulations. At the same time, we get to turn our backs on pledges to participate in the social justice madness the Accord calls for.
Yes, the climate is changing; it always has. Nobody benefits from a rush to judgment that suggests humans are solely responsible for recent climate change when we know the planet has previously undergone massive changes in climate that couldn’t have been caused by human activity as we were just figuring out how to make fire. The Paris Accord is the typically liberal approach to a perceived problem: steal a pile of money from the people who earned it and throw it randomly at the issue. That all this frantic activity won’t actually help doesn’t matter. What’s important is that it looks like they’re trying to help, that they appear to be the ones doing something, anything, about the issue.
The American taxpayer can no longer afford to fund feel-good liberal posturing. We have our own, real, problems to solve with what little of the money we earn that we’re allowed to keep.