Friday, 26 May 2017

Paris Climate Agreement: This Way to the Egress

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Correction, Please! The New York Times and other powerful mainstream media organs are waging a propaganda war against exiting the Paris climate accord. But their claims on behalf of the accord, which was never ratified by the U.S .Senate, could not be more wrong.

A sampling of news articles:

Item: The New York Times, reporting from Washington, D.C., on April 29, said: “Tens of thousands of demonstrators, alarmed at what they see as a dangerous assault on the environment by the Trump administration, poured into the streets here on Saturday to sound warnings both planetary and political about the Earth’s warming climate.”

The Times news article went on to say — as if it clinched the allegations about pending doom caused by “global warming” — that “sweltering temperatures” that “threatened to break a heat record” in the nation’s capital “added a poetic flourish to the demonstrators’ argument.”

Item: On May 3, the New York Times reported that there was a debate going on within the Trump administration. “The question,” said the newspaper, “is whether to walk away from the agreement sealed by the Obama administration and nearly 200 other nations at the end of 2015 — as Donald J. Trump promised as a presidential candidate to do — or to weaken the nation’s commitment under the deal to reducing greenhouse gases while remaining in the accord.”

Item: The editors of the Washington Post noted on May 4 that “President Donald Trump is getting closer to exiting the Paris climate agreement.” The left-wing Post, of course, opposes that. From the paper’s standpoint, “The choice ought to be an easy one: Staying in the Paris accord is cost-free, but pulling out is not.”

The editors maintained that, at “its core,” the Paris agreement “is a political pact among sovereign nations based on nonbinding ‘nationally determined contributions.’ It does not and was never meant to formally bind countries to specific emissions commitments; instead it is intended to encourage voluntary cooperation and government-to-government pressure.”

The Post suggested that the United States could “shape” the understanding about the agreement. “Or the president could simply ignore it. Nothing in the Paris agreement could stop him from keeping the United States in the system and Obama’s pledge on the books, and then simply declining to meet the pledge.... Staying in keeps the Trump administration at the international table as potentially significant decisions are made on technology and decarbonization.”

Correction: Well, those are sound arguments. However, that is all they are: sound. The global warmists are more than willing to have the United States hurt its own economy for the sake of the Paris climate pact. This, we are told, might be a bad or meaningless agreement, but there will be a global disaster unless the “international community” doesn’t keep doing “something” — even if it is an empty gesture.

 

This article appears in the June 5, 2017, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.

 

And by the way, if you don’t conform to all this green groupthink, you are a hateful denialist — and probably a greedy fascist in the view of the zealots.

It’s true that anybody can get lost in a fog, but these folks create their own. “Climate,” it should be needless to say, is not the same thing as “weather,” even if the New York Times gloated about the “poetic flourish” of having a hot day for the climate-change/political demonstration in D.C. on the president’s 100th day in office. Pretexts were available to brandish for other weather. When a major snowstorm the same weekend threatened a similar rally in Colorado, a local climate-change outfit dismissed it, saying, “Sometimes Mother Nature throws you a curveball!”

More than Mother Nature was involved in organizing the various demonstrations. The ideological bent of these protests was clear. It also helps to have someone bankrolling the “spontaneity.” In this case, a certain liberal billionaire played a key role. Major Democratic Party contributor George Soros, the head of the Open Society Foundations, was a significant player, even if the mainstream broadcast media ignored it.

The Media Research Center (MRC), in contrast, did take note. As MRC noted in its NewsBusters newsletter:

Between 2000 and 2014, Soros gave $36,018,461 … to 18 of the 55 steering committee members of the People’s Climate March. Donations to six of those groups were more [than] $1 million each: Center for Community Change, the NAACP, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), People’s Action, Public Citizen and Union of Concerned Scientists.

Only three of these six organizations — NRDC, Public Citizen and Union of Concerned Scientists — actually have anything climate-related in their individual missions.

The presence of many non-climate related organizations leading the march indicated that this climate march (just like the March for Science and the Women’s March) is not about a single issue, but about attacking the new administration.

At the latter march, Leonardo DiCaprio was there holding a placard that declared, wittingly: “Climate change is real.” The actor also sported a red “resist” armband. Vanity Fair seemed to be impressed.

Meanwhile, if you want to believe the ranters at the left-wing “Daily Kos” blog, we have nothing to fear with the Paris Agreement. You remember, that was the one that President Barack Obama assured us was so vital. According to the Daily Kos, the pact is “as far from a draconian one-world government as can be imagined, and with everyone participating, it’s hardly a particular hardship on the United States.” Why then do we need such a document? Obama insisted during his 2015 State of the Union Address that “no challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”

These days, the best argument from the Left to convince us to stick with the Paris agreement is that it is meaningless and unenforceable. Methinks they protest too much about how little it means. The eco-mob seems pretty adamant about a purportedly pointless piece of paper.

The editors of USA Today have pleaded for Donald Trump not to “wreck the international pact aimed at saving the planet.” In their words, this 2015 agreement “was a remarkable example of global cooperation. Nearly 200 nations joined forces against a planet-threatening crisis, promising to curb emissions of human-generated greenhouse gases.”

Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, was on target in a dissenting piece in that paper, saying: “Consider the line that it is not a treaty because it’s not binding. This is, respectively, untrue and irrelevant. State Department guidelines (Circular 175) establish treaty criteria, and the Paris Agreement requires Senate ratification to be valid under our Constitution. Do it legally, or get out,” wrote Horner in his opposing view for USA Today (April 20, 2017).

Gosh, would President Obama twist the truth? Hmm. Let’s set that aside for now. Still, as Horner noted, the former president did claim that

the Senate’s treaty-power role existed at his discretion in order to confer treaty-like status on his domestic climate agenda without making the apparently futile case to gain political support. Accepting this precedent guarantees that future “pen and phone” presidents will also avoid constitutional review of unpopular commitments by just declaring them “not a treaty.”

Climate catastrophe? No computer model cited by the United Nations projects a detectable temperature reduction from Paris. The ultimate aim of the agreement is instead to make the most abundant energy increasingly costly, artificially rationing its availability.

Seeking subsidies or competitive advantage for pro-environment industry under these schemes has motivated climate treaties since Enron pioneered the move in the mid-1990s (I was in the room). They seek to use government to profit at your expense.

The green statists insist that the United States demonstrate leadership on this issue. But even proponents have admitted that, if all the carbon dioxide reductions outlined in the Paris protocols were met by each signing nation — unlikely, to say the least — the resultant benefits would be minimal, at best. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change forecast that, even in that improbable event, the international pact would avert just 0.2 degrees Celsius of warming by the year 2100. Why should we lead such an endeavor? This is like being the first lemming in a very dubious parade.

The very models that warn of problems caused by climate change show that the Paris agreement will not resolve them, or even do anything meaningful. The “greenhouse gas concentrations” will be almost identical either way, notes Ross McKitrick, who is widely cited in Canada and around the world as an expert on global-warming and environmental policy issues. “For all its costs,” writes the professor from the University of Guelph in Ontario, “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.”

McKitrick’s case for pulling the United States out of the climate pact is compelling. As he wrote in an article for the Cato Institute:

Paris embeds an inconsistency between calling for the use of the “best available science” while also prejudging what that science is allowed to say. The Accord’s preamble calls climate change an “urgent threat” even though mainstream climate science and economics does not imply this, instead placing global warming rather low on the list of problems confronting the world.

The Agreement enshrines the ill-defined and arbitrary target of holding “the” global average temperature to 2oC above pre-industrial levels while completely ignoring the critical question of how it should be measured. Nor does it say how much of the warming is natural and should not be counted against the 2oC limit. This omission alone makes the overall target absurd, since it could bind the world to taking actions to prevent the sun from shining brighter.

There is also money at stake — which is one of the reasons why “developing” countries agreed to the pact. They had no intention of shooting their own economies in their collective foot, but were looking for the payments from “First World” nations. Now, as it happens, the ecological green promises haven’t produced as much monetary green as expected.

Walter Russell Mead, a fellow at the Hudson Institute, feigned surprise in April. “Shocking news — the magic $100 billion climate fund appears not to be taking shape! Even optimistic estimates say the fund is $40 billion short, and developing countries say that understates the problem.”

Then there is China — which made worthless pledges about “intending” to hold emissions constant “around 2030,” though acknowledging they would rise up to 100 percent until then. Mead blasted what he called “the clueless Western press” for trying to spin Beijing as the new hero of the climate movement. China, he writes, is

craftily working to widen the north-south rift, piously calling on the selfish northern countries to make good on the $100 billion in new money. This failure will, of course, provide China with justification to walk away from any targets it wishes. After all, the West welshed first.

There are all sorts of reasons to withdraw from this agreement. Pulling out of Paris, as Nicolas Loris has written in the Daily Signal, would stop “future administrations from using the existing U.N. framework to avoid getting the Senate’s advice and consent in the treaty process.” This is what President Obama did with Paris. Moreover, if Washington does remain a party to the pact, “future administrations could ship billions of taxpayer dollars overseas to subsidize green energy technologies, without input from Congress.”

There is now a fortuitous chance to slip out of the chains of a bad deal. Let’s do it.

— William P. Hoar

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