A New Adventure

The Paris Climate Accords: yes, no, yes


In last week’s column I mentioned President Joe Biden’s new climate czar John Kerry and his commitment to saving the earth as he flies around the world in his private jet.
While Kerry was secretary of state under President Barak Obama, one of his biggest achievements — according to him — was the Paris Climate Agreement which he negotiated.
Just what are the Paris Accords? Democrats love them and Republicans hate them.
The stated goal of the agreement, signed in 2016 by Obama between over 190 countries, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions hoping to keep the global average temperature from increasing by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels and to limit any temperature increase to 2.7 degrees by 2100.
According to Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Oren Cass — who has read the agreement — “what you find is that they (most countries) either pledged to do exactly what they were going to do already anyway or pledged, even less than that.”
China, the world’s largest emitter of green house gases (GHG) at 26.8 percent, committed to reach their peak emissions around 2030. In other words China promised they would continue increasing GHG from 2015 to 2030. Before the agreement a study by the U.S. government predicted that China’s emission would peak in — you guessed it — 2030.
India, who has the world’s fastest growing economy was one of the signatures to the agreement. They made no pledge to limit their emissions. They pledged to “reduce the emissions’ intensity.” In other words the rate of growth.
Pakistan’s pledge was to reach a peak at some point after which they would reduce their emissions.
Almost 75 percent of the Paris Agreement pledges were judged insufficient to slow climate change.
Now we can’t even criticize these countries for doing nothing because they are doing exactly what was agreed upon in Paris back in 2015.
Russia did not submit a climate pledge.
The one country that went to Paris with a costly and ambitious goal was the United States.
Kerry recently boasted “I’ve been involved with this fight for years. I negotiated with (Chinese) President Xi to bring President Xi to the table so we could get Paris.”
So this is an example of Kerry’s negotiating skills. Something tells me he never read Donald Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal.”
According to experts, with the United States already drastically reducing our emissions even before the Paris agreement, the future of climate change hinges on countries like China and India.
“Even if all climate pledges which are voluntary are fully implemented, they will cover less than half of what is needed to limit the acceleration of climate change in the next decade,” says Sir Robert Watson, former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Using the UN’s own climate prediction model, if all the promises made at Paris are met by 2030 and sustained throughout the rest of the century — a big if — temperatures in 2100 will have been reduced by 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
The cost for this minuscule saving in temperature is $1-2 trillion every year as reported in a study from the Standford Energy Modeling Forum and the Asia Modeling Exercise. That’s at least $100,000,000,000,000 to reduce the temperature 0.3 degrees by the end of the century.
A large portion of this cost will be borne by you and me, the American Taxpayer.
The switch from coal to natural gas in the U.S. has been largely responsible for our huge reduction in CO2 emissions which have been falling steadily since 2000. In fact the United States CO2 emissions in 2018 were the same as 1994.
The International Energy Agency reported that “the United States saw the largest decline in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 on a country basis — a fall of 140 Mt, or 2.9%, to 4.8 Gt. The U.S. emissions are now down almost 1 Gt from their peak in the year 2000, the largest absolute decline by any country over that period.” This occurred under the Trump administration, even after he removed us from the Paris agreement.
One of President Biden’s executive orders directs the Secretary of the Interior to “pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters.” During the campaign when asked about fracking, a big source for natural gas, Biden said “We would make sure it’s eliminated.”
Biden apparently wants to stop or reduce natural gas, the main component that has reduced our GHG emissions. If you want to keep reducing CO2 emissions, this makes no sense

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