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Forget Paris

It was never going to work October 15, 2018 at 2:29 a.m.

“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”

—Milton Friedman

When the new president opted out of the framework for rolling back global climate change soon after his inauguration, folks around the world—and his political opposition at home—cried bloody murder. Or at least bloody malfeasance in office. Why, for America to turn its back on the accord would flood coastal cities, and dry up the places that didn’t flood, and cause more wildfires in the west. The president did it anyway.

The president’s name was George W. Bush. It was 2001 and he pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol. It seems whenever a Republican president notices that only the United States, specifically its economy, is tied down on these protocols or accords, he’s accused of the worst sort of crimes.

President Trump noticed the same thing with the Paris Accords earlier in his tenure. The framework would never accomplish its goals. For many reasons:

First, it was an all-volunteer contract, with countries from Russia to China to India “promising” to reduce carbon outputs. Which meant that only the United States would be forced into it. Why? Because the United States has Greenpeace and the Environmental Defense Fund and the League of Conservation Voters with lawyers on standby and a court system that grants tremendous powers to any judge who can be convinced that a signed document is more than a suggestion. Do you think Vlad the Impaler, lord of modern Russia, gives a damn what a Greenpeace lawyer, or even a judge, thinks?

Even as mainland China’s diplomats were signing the Paris Accords, with invisible ink, the nation’s leaders back in Beijing were planning on building more coal plants. China didn’t even promise to start reducing carbon output until 2030. India wouldn’t sign the Paris Accords without noting, for the record and in the accord, that it wasn’t bound by anything in it.

Besides, reports from various sources from the Wall Street Journal to Barack Obama’s EPA show that emissions from the United States have been trending down. (Thank you, inventors of fracking.) Even while other countries have been putting more pollutants in the air.

Bottom line: The Paris Accords would have punished the United States while having no impact on global warming. None. It was a farce from the beginning. No matter what your opinion may be on climate change, the Paris Accords would have only made one significant difference: America’s economy would have slowed.

Maybe that was the point.

Now comes a report from some outfit called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It’s a UN concern. The big news splash was another warning that time is running out to prevent major catastrophe. These warnings have been coming with regularity since Al Gore was in the news.

But buried in the story was an interesting point, and one that we’d like to hear explained by the pro-Paris Accords folks on CNN:

According to The Washington Post, almost no country is meeting its goals in the agreement. And those goals were modest, to say the least.

All those countries that signed the Paris Accords, and chastised Donald Trump for walking away?

Australia, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Switzerland....

Considered “insufficient” by Climate Action Tracker.

Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, South Korea....

Considered “highly insufficient.”

Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine....

Considered “critically insufficient.”

(The United States was also called critically insufficient for not meeting the goals of the accords, which is strange since we’re not a party to the pact.)

The Paris Accords were never ing to work. Because the countries that signed it were never serious.

Nobody we know likes to breathe polluted air. But let’s come up with a real solution, a strong agreement, and get something in place that’s more fair and realistic.

Forget Paris.


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