Arnold Ahlert / December 16, 2019

Climate Change Shakedown Ends in Failure

With the U.S. on the way out of the Paris Agreement, feckless bureaucrats are still fighting.

Boris Johnson’s historic victory in the United Kingdom’s latest election is indicative of many things, but first and foremost is the “quaint” idea that a substantial majority of people favor the nation state more than the democracy-crushing globalist alternative. Nonetheless at the United Nations, transnational governance remains the order of the day. Last Wednesday, that collection of feckless bureaucrats warned the Trump administration that America must compensate poorer nations for climate change, despite President Donald Trump honoring his 2016 campaign promise to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate.

The impetus for their demands stems from the 1992 climate treaty, formally titled the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A timeline since then reveals that the initial idea of developed countries lowering their emissions to 1990 levels by 2000 was the first pipe dream that ended in failure. Five years later, President Bill Clinton committed our nation to the Kyoto Protocol, which was so “popular,” the Senate unanimously rejected it 95-0.

In 2001, President George W. Bush withdrew America’s signature, but President Barack Obama subsequently announced his allegiance to the Copenhagen Accord in 2009, which was a non-biding deal negotiated outside the auspices of the UN. The following year, America set an emissions-reduction target of 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. Yet even when the Paris Agreement was being negotiated in 2015, the Obama administration was fighting what were UN-designated “loss and damage” payouts, which it rightly viewed as unlimited liability arising from adverse weather.

The Paris Agreement itself? The latest edition of the world’s “moveable goal posts” approach to emissions reductions remains just that: The overwhelming majority of signatories to the agreement are still “far off track,” as The New York Times reported in December 2018.

In the last year, nothing has changed. At the (Conference of Parties) COP25 negotiations in Madrid that drew to a close on Sunday, the 197 parties present produced no concrete commitments. “These talks reflect how disconnected country leaders are from the urgency of the science and the demands of their citizens in the streets,” said Helen Mountford, vice president for climate and economics at the World Resources Institute think tank.

Citizens in the streets? Despite Boris Johnson’s overwhelming victory, London was rocked by “citizen in the street” protests, suggesting that those who make the loudest noise are wholly disconnected from majority opinion. Perhaps nothing indicates the equally puerile nature of the climate protests better than the reality that their leader is media darling and Time Magazine Person of the Year Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl with mental-health problems whose most recent contribution to the cause consisted of an apology for telling her followers that politicians should be put “against the wall.”

Perhaps the real reason these talks failed is because attendees were being told by green groups that the funds necessary to compensate nations victimized by climate change will ultimately exceed $300 billion annually by 2030.

Unsurprisingly, the United States was expected to be invoiced for the lion’s share of those costs, financed by taxing wealthy nations’ financial transactions, international air travel, and fossil fuels.

The latest negotiations revolved around a mechanism established in 2013, known as the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM). It was supposed to look at ways to deal with compensation, but as the International Business Times describes it, that mechanism did not produce an agreement “on where the money might come from or even if it should be paid.”

American negotiators circulated a document whereby a key provision under the 2015 Paris Agreement stating that that accord “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation,” would applied to the wider COP25 process. Developing nations saw this liability waiver as “unimaginable” and vowed to block it. “The Trump administration is now making a cynical and paranoid play to further distance itself from responsibility for the harmful impacts of climate change and to further protect itself and other polluters from liability for the crisis,” complained Harjeet Singh, global climate lead at ActionAid.

What to do? What bureaucrats always do: set up another committee of “experts” to discover new sources of finance. Moreover, according to Singh, a “Santiago Network on Addressing Loss and Damage” may be established as well.

In 2017, when Trump announced he would withdraw American from the Paris Agreement, he made it quite clear his administration had little use for international shakedown artists, stating that the “well being” of Americans was the motivating factor behind his decision.

At the time, Trump also cited a National Economic Research Associates study noting that the compliance goals pursued by the Obama administration would have cost this nation 2.7 million jobs by 2025. By 2040, Trump insisted, the cost to the economy would have been realized in losses of nearly $3 trillion of GDP, 6.5 million industrial jobs, and American household enduring $7,000 losses in annual income. “In many cases,” he added, it would be “much worse than that.”

By contrast, The Washington Post reports that the latest global study, courtesy of researchers from the University of Cambridge, the International Monetary Fund, the University of Southern California and the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan asserts that if the U.S. doesn’t adhere to the Paris Agreement goals, the nation will endure a 10.5% cut in GDP — by 2100. “The hardest hit countries will be poorer, tropical nations, but in contrast to previous studies, the new paper finds that no country will be spared and none will see a net benefit economically from global warming,” the Post adds.

No country will see a net benefit from global warming, not even countries with colder climates that might see an increase in arable land, e.g.?

Unfortunately for the activists and their supporters, an “inconvenient truth” has emerged: The sun is on the verge of breaking the 2008 record of no solar activity for 268 days, according to a panel of experts from NASA and NOAA. Even when the next solar cycle upswing takes place between 2023 and 2026, the panel predicts the number of sunspots produced will be well below average.

Such slowdowns often cause cooling in Earth’s atmosphere.

Whatever one is to make of climate change, it seems there is never enough alarmism to go around. Moreover the notion that countries with developed modern economies are not only less “virtuous” than those without but should be held accountable while less-developed countries remain beholden to different standards is absurd. The non-binding Paris Agreement made the distinction, insisting developed nations should pursue “economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets,” while developing countries could “move over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances.”

In other words, some pollution is “more equal” than other pollution.

So what’s this really all about? Nine years ago, Ottmar Edenhofer, a member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, stated the real goal: “We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”

Last week, columnist Rupert Darwall echoed that reality. “Saving the planet takes money, and lots of it,” he explained, adding that “a vast river of cash flows through the UN climate process.”

No doubt.

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