Paris Climate Accord: The Devil is Always in the Details

By Vincent J. Truglia 

If one looks into the Paris Climate Accord (PCA) in depth, the hype about “leaving” the accord is just that, hype. One reason about 200 countries have signed onto the agreement is that with the exception of a few countries, such as the US, the vast majority of other country would receive transfers of tens of billions of dollars, even over just a short ten year period.  How? There is a special global fund to which countries are supposed to contribute. The only country, which has given anything to the fund, to date, is the US, which gave $1 billion in December 2016. This fund is meant to transfer wealth from the developed world, in particular the US, to the rest of the world, with little or no oversight. I should add that most recipient countries in the emerging world are plagued with corruption, on a scale most Americans can’t even imagine. 

Since the US already has a large federal government deficit, any money we have provided or would provide to the fund would have to be borrowed. In other words, the US would borrow money on behalf of the rest of the world.

When one looks at the effects of the accord, even if fully implemented, it would affect global temperatures by a tiny amount by the year 2100 (0.2 to 0.3 degrees Celsius).

The biggest beneficiaries are China and India. China presently produces about twice the CO2 than the US. It would be under NO obligation to cut those emissions for decades. India is demanding massive subsidies from the US and Europe to cut its growth of CO2 emissions. Notice I wrote, “cut its growth” not “cut CO2 emissions.”

The US presently is reducing CO2 emissions at a fast rate, primarily because the US is switching to natural gas for electricity production. WHY? Because it’s cheaper, and an added benefit is that it cuts carbon emissions by about half compared to coal (unless the newest technology is used to clean the emissions from coal).

This agreement would continue to hurt the Midwest, in particular. It’s not going to be the wealthy that suffer if the accord is implemented. Rather, it’s those who have already lost their jobs to energy regulation, and more importantly, future job losses in the steel, cement and construction industries, among others.

Since there are ZERO enforcement requirements, does one really think that countries, which lack a rule of law, will follow the accord? I doubt they will. Only the US, Europe and Japan will likely follow it. 

If we really want to reduce CO2 emissions, we should export our LNG to places like China, which lack equivalent energy resources. Switching just a fraction of China’s coal power plants to natural gas would lead far more to lower CO2 emissions that the Paris accord would ever possibly produce.

The accord would also create another huge international bureaucracy. Who needs that?

For most people, it may be a minor point, but this accord is not a treaty. Many countries ratified the accord as if it were a treaty. However, it would have been a non-starter in the US Senate, where it would have required a two-thirds majority to ratify it. Instead, massive changes were being implemented by presidential order, not by law.  It was a constitutional overstep to say the least. That’s why with the stroke of a pen, it can be erased.

As Always, Clear and Candid.