Climate Politics – As Usual

by | Jun 8, 2017

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement was symbolic and political.

It was a grand gesture of “America First” as he symbolically turned his back to our global partners. It was designed to serve his political base who blindly oppose any policy supported by his predecessor.

It was not a rational and calculated decision to do what was best for Americans and our global partners.

Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement, or sometimes called the Paris Accord, is a statement of agreement by the 188 member countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global climate change.

It commits each country to voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The goal of the agreement is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to keep global temperature rise below 2o C in the year 2100. The Agreement did not include compliance verification and each country was left to implement greenhouse gas reduction through a technology or policy action of their choice.

Re-affirming Administration’s Position

The withdraw re-affirms the administration’s position of climate denial – a climate denier is a person who ignores the climate change proposition. The administration first presented their denier position through an executive order in March titled, “

The administration first presented their denier position through an executive order in March titled, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, which rolled back President Obama’s clean energy initiative designed to reduce electrical generation by coal and encourage renewable energy development.

The Trump administration also revoked the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that require auto manufacturers to produce high mileage cars and trucks. Then the administration reneged on the US’s $3 billion dollar contribution to the $100 billion dollar Green Climate Fund, a UN-sponsored financial mechanism to promote low-carbon energy technology in poor and developing countries.

U.S. Emissions Since 2005

United States CO2 emissions leveled off in 2005 and have been decreasing every year since. The reduction in emissions is largely due to conservation efforts by individuals and corporations; an increase in renewable generation capacity; and market driven conversion of coal-fired power plants to highly efficient and cleaner burning natural gas.

It is likely that market forces will continue to reduce US CO2 emissions, which makes compliance with the Paris Agreement a snap.

Why Trump Withdrew

It appears that President Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement because he could not agree with the opening clause of the Agreement, which states:

“[this agreement recognizes] that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet and thus requires the widest possible cooperation by all countries, and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. “  

A Climate Change denier could never agree to this premise.

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