Cornfield Perspective: Paris Climate Accord

The Cornfield’s own 8th District Congressman Dr. Larry Buschon provided his take on the Paris Climate Accord, from which President Donald Trump withdrew US participation in this week.

A Decision on Paris

  • President Obama entered into the Paris climate agreement on his own – he never sought the Senate’s advice and consent.
  • The agreement treats countries differently, with the U.S. cutting emissions more than Russia, China, Iran, and India.
  • The disparity puts U.S. businesses at a competitive disadvantage and raises energy costs for Americans. 

The Paris climate agreement was a vital part of President Obama’s attempts to build his legacy. The Trump administration is expected to decide the deal’s fate before the president attends the G-7 summit on May 26.

DISPARITY AMONG COUNTRIES

The United States pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent between 2015 and 2025. Meanwhile, Russia is allowed to increase its emissions up to 50 percent – and China refused to set any emissions limit at all until 2030.

After the agreement was signed, many nations indicated that they would only take action if they got a significant amount of foreign aid. Developing nations have requested at least $5.4 trillion in assistance. India requested $2.5 trillion, and South Africa asked for $909 billion. Iran made its commitments contingent on the removal of all sanctions and receiving $840 billion. President Obama transferred $1 billion from the State Department to the United Nations to implement the Paris agreement.

THE SENATE NEVER APPROVED THE AGREEMENT

President Obama knew that Congress would never approve such a flawed deal, so he refused to seek the Senate’s advice and consent. Instead, he labeled it an “executive agreement” and unilaterally pledged U.S. support. President Obama’s actions violated U.S. policy set during the Clinton administration requiring Senate approval for any international effort to set “targets and timetables” for emissions reductions.

POTENTIAL IMPACT ON AMERICAN JOBS

Many of America’s global competitors are unaffected by the Paris agreement, while the United States will incur significant implementation costs. President Obama pledged to cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 1.1 billion tons from 2015 to 2025. That’s on top of the more than 820 million tons the U.S. has already cut from annual emissions over the last decade. According to a March 2017 study by NERA Economic Consulting, the Paris agreement will cost America $3 trillion and eliminate 6.5 million jobs by 2040. Every sector of the economy will be affected, especially the U.S. industrial base.

Decline in U.S. Industrial Output Due to Paris Agreement in 2025

Source: NERA Economic Consulting

INCREASING U.S. OBLIGATIONS

The United States’ obligations under the Paris agreement increase over time. Under the agreement, the U.S. is required to update its emission-reduction targets every five years. The plain language of the agreement states that we can only pledge to do more – not less – as time goes on.

IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT

Despite the high costs, the agreement does not solve the environmental challenges it was meant to address. China is the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases. While U.S. emissions decline, those from developing nations like India continue to rise. That’s one reason why researchers at MIT estimate that the agreement will have a negligible impact on the environment.

 More here: https://www.rpc.senate.gov/policy-papers/a-decision-on-paris.

From the Cornfield, that is the perspective of one of its Congressional Representatives.

And what is your perspective on the President’s withdrawal from the PCA?

Changing Climate

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Since the beginning of time the climate has changed. The old adage remains true that no one can 100% of the time predict the weather. On these two points there has been little to no disagreement.

What has been in contention from before these first 15 years of the 21st Century is the impact that mankind has had and is having on climate change and the weather.

In the wee hours of the morning today, representatives from 195 nations around the world agreed to an ambitious goal of keeping the average temperature from rising by 2 degrees.

Question is whether all the signatories can get their respective country’s confirming bodies to agree to the accord.

The acceptance of mankind’s impact on the climate has been universally accepted with one major exception – the United States of America. Congress is already advancing proposed legislation to negate the US involvement with the Paris Climate Change forum.

Most members of Congress do not deny climate change is real, but argue over humanity’s impact and whether humans can do anything about it.

Yes, there are those with their heads buried in the sand who seem to even reject naturally occurring climate change.

The concern over climate change has been pronounced from President Barack Obama, his Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security as well as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as being the number one threat to Americans’ safety and security – even more so that terrorist activity, foreign and domestic.

Outside the US, the other concerns over whether the Paris Accord may be accomplished are with China, India and Brazil – the big three, rising industrial and technological giants.

China is of special concern. Especially when you consider this past week that the Chinese government issued its first-ever red alert due to the severity of smog in the capitol of Beijing.

Most “climate change deniers” in the US seem to be Evangelicals and other Christian believers when you listen to some lawmakers who cite faith as part of the reason for their denial that the climate is changing.

Yet if Christians are to be true followers of the Christ, one of the prime directives from God is to be “good stewards of the Earth.”

Most fellow Christians I know do believe in conservation, proper tillage rotation, keeping the land free of trash and debris, doing what they can to decrease the misuse and abuse of energy and energy supplies.

For many people I have talked with over the years it comes down to dollars and cents. Yes, preserve the planet for future generations, but do not break the piggy bank to do it.

The new pact is being held as a monumental achievement, but it sorely lacking on actually doing anything. The nearly 200 nations only agreed to develop plans to prevent Earth from warming 2 degrees – nothing more. And the signatory nations are not required to do so, only agree to consider to do so.

So what good or how effective is this deal? From the Cornfield, while it is laudable that nations are talking about lessening the human footprint and causation on the changing climate this is too much ado about nothing.

Tell me what you think.