Saturday, June 3, 2017

WSJ On Problems With The Paris Climate Agreement

See Trump Bids Paris Adieu Growth and innovation are better forms of climate insurance. Excerpts:
"The 195 signatory nations volunteered their own carbon emission-reduction pledges, known as “intended nationally determined contributions,” or INDCs. China and the other developing nations account for 63% of annual global CO 2 emissions, and their share is rising. They submitted INDCs that pledged to peak the carbon status quo “around” 2030, and maybe later, or never, since Paris included no enforcement mechanisms to prevent cheating.

Meanwhile, the developed OECD nations—responsible for 55% of world CO 2 as recently as 2000—made unrealistic assurances that even they knew they could not achieve. As central-planning prone as the Obama Administration was, it never identified a tax-and-regulation program that came close to meeting its own emissions pledge of 26% to 28% reductions from 2005 levels by 2025."

"The Paris target was to limit the surface temperature increase to “well below” two degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial level by 2100. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Joint Program conclude that even if every INDC is fulfilled to the letter, the temperature increase will be in the range of 1.9–2.6 degrees Celsius by 2050, and 3.1–5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100."

"The best form of climate-change insurance is a large and growing economy so that future generations can afford to adapt to whatever they may confront.

A more prosperous society a century or more from now is a more important goal than asking the world to accept a lower standard of living today in exchange for symbolic benefits."

"Energy intensity—the amount of energy necessary to create a dollar of GDP—has plunged 58% in the U.S. since 1990, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Over the same period, intensity declined merely 37% in OECD Europe, 20% in Japan, 22% in Mexico and 7% in Korea."

"Superior efficiency helps explain why U.S. carbon emissions fell by 145 million tons in 2016 compared to 2015, more than any other country."

"Over the past five years U.S. emissions have fallen by 270 million tons, while China—the No. 1 CO 2 emitter—added 1.1 billion tons.

All of which make the claims that the U.S. is abdicating global leadership so overwrought."

"Private economies that can innovate and provide cost-effective energy alternatives will always beat meaningless international agreements."

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