When the US withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord the world lost their minds. We now know what was in the agreement and we dodged a bullet!
During June of last year, what seemed like a majority of the world’s environmental spokespersons lost their minds as newly-elected Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Accord. Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Wenonah Hauter, and other people who incessantly demand our attention, all cried.
The US was the only nation to not participate, making us look like the black sheep of the world; as if we do not care what happens with the world’s climate. The other holdout, Syria, even eventually joined the accord – leaving the US all alone. Sometimes, you have to stand up to the proverbial tank by yourself to make a difference.
Many of us knew this deal was absurd and didn’t promise anything more than a hefty check being written by the US Government. I covered much of the argument when I wrote about the “Skeptical Environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg, President of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. To refresh, Lomborg stated that the $100 billion per year US investment or the $1-2 trillion worldwide investment, wouldn’t amount to jack:
“Even if we assume that these promises would be extended for another 70 years, there is still little impact: 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.”
Now, after several months of research and reading the accord, Oren Crass from one of my favorite organizations, The Manhattan Institute, tells a bit more about what was in the agreement. Speaking in an interview with my journalist hero, John Stossel, Crass informs us that it is worse than us skeptics originally believed. This is a terrific video, might I add.
Crass sums up the agreement perfectly in the following few excerpts:
“You don’t even have to mention greenhouse gases in your commitment if you don’t want to. You send in any piece of paper you want.” He says, “They stapled it together and held it up and said, ‘This is amazing!'”
“They either pledged to do exactly what they were already going to do anyway, or pledged even less. China, for instance said, ‘we pledge to reach peak emission by about 2030.’ Well, the United States government had already done a study to guess when Chinese emissions would peak, and their guess was about 2030.”
“India made no pledge to limit emissions at all. They pledged only to become more efficient. But they proposed to become more efficient less quickly than they were already becoming more efficient. So their pledge was to slow down.”
The US has been steadily decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. President Obama signed the US up for a far larger decrease than our fellow signatories of the agreement. He pledged to reduce emissions nearly 28% below 2005 levels by 2025 – a goal we were already on track to meet. At the time of President Trump’s withdraw, the US dropped 5,135 million metric tons in 2017 and put us at levels not seen since 1992.
The reduction of coal use was huge to this drop, but the demand for that energy didn’t simply go away, it was transferred to natural gas. So, why would we sign (or send in a paper) to the accord and pay $100 billion per year for something we are already doing? Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
Natural gas is also the only way many of these countries will even begin to decrease emissions. I have discussed our LNG deal with China, South Korea, Mexico, Japan, and Canada. Plus, there is Poland, Egypt, India, Turkey, and the UAE. Yet, natural gas is the bad guy? Dropping the Climate Accord was the right thing to do in our gut, now we are seeing first hand that we were the only country to make a serious pledge. This time, foresight was 20/20.