Staying in Paris Agreement would have cost US families $20K

Editor’s note: The U.S. on Monday took a new, major step to leaving the Paris Agreement, a climate change deal between several countries. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “As noted in his June 1, 2017 remarks, President [Donald] Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because of the unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers by U.S. pledges made under the agreement. The United States has reduced all types of emissions, even as we grow our economy and ensure our citizens’ access to affordable energy. Our results speak for themselves: U.S. emissions of criteria air pollutants that impact human health and the environment declined by 74% between 1970 and 2018. U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13% from 2005-2017, even as our economy grew over 19 percent.”

By Nicolas Loris | The Daily Signal

President Donald Trump is right to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. While the climate is indeed changing and human activity is playing a role, the chances of looming climate catastrophe are simply unrealistic and not grounded in reality.

But even granting such a looming catastrophe, the Paris Agreement itself would do little to alter the climate. To have any impact whatsoever on climate, the entire world would either have to quickly change the way it consumes energy or simply remain undeveloped. Both options are devoid of reality.

While many countries are rapidly expanding their use of renewable power, forecasts indicate that coal, oil, and natural gas will continue to provide the overwhelming majority of the world’s energy needs well into the future. For developing countries, the highest priorities are to reduce energy poverty and improve living standards.

Wikimedia Commons/Guilhem Vellut

Global compliance with the Paris Agreement has been nothing short of abysmal. In fact, most nations will soon fail to meet the deadlines they agreed to.

Those who are clamoring for action on climate change are the ones who should actually be most upset with what a sham the Paris Agreement is. It’s been celebrated as a breakthrough achievement of the world’s developed and developing countries coming together, but it is anything but that.

With no enforcement mechanisms in place and no repercussions for failing to meet emissions reduction targets, countries are essentially free to do whatever they want, meaning they will continue on their business-as-usual trajectory without making any changes. China, for instance, can peak its emissions in 2030 even though projections have its peak emissions falling before that year.

India, for its part, has pledged to reduce its emissions levels, or cut its ratio of carbon emissions to gross domestic product. That ratio may well go down so long as carbon emissions rise at a slower rate than GDP, but carbon emissions will keep rising all the same.

Actually, India committed to emissions reductions that are less than what the country would achieve if it continues on the same track it is currently on today. In other words, it set the bar so low that it can continue along its businesses-as-usual trajectory of emissions intensity and come out looking like a climate hero.

As the Manhattan Institute’s Oren Cass wrote, “It’s easy to slim down to 180 pounds, if you weigh 175 to begin with.”

Pakistan was more honest than most about its emissions prospects, stating bluntly, “Given the future economic growth and associated growth in the energy sector, the peaking of emissions in Pakistan is expected to take place much beyond the year 2030. An exponential increase of [greenhouse gas] emissions for many decades is likely to occur before any decrease in emissions can be expected.”

Global compliance with the Paris Agreement has been nothing short of abysmal. In fact, most nations will soon fail to meet the deadlines they agreed to.

The original hope that each nation’s contribution might somehow push other countries to “do more” is not playing out. This deal was a hodgepodge of arbitrarily defined commitments with no enforcement mechanism. It was doomed from the start.

Following through with the Obama administration’s commitments would impose clear economic harm on the U.S. by driving energy prices higher—and that’s just a small part of the overall cost. Americans would pay more for food, health care, education, clothes, and every other good and service that requires energy.

These higher costs would be spread across the entire economy and would shrink overall economic growth and employment. Heritage Foundation analysts estimated that the regulations required to meet the Obama administration’s commitments would impose the following costs by 2035:

  • An overall loss of nearly 400,000 jobs, half of which would be in manufacturing.
  • A average total income loss of more than $20,000 for a family of four.
  • An aggregate GDP loss of over $2.5 trillion.

Other countries would continue getting a free pass under the agreement, but if the U.S. signed back on, one can be sure that environmental activist lawsuits would make sure the U.S. kept its obligations.

To make matters worse, the climate regulations encompassing the U.S. target may not even achieve the desired results and would require additional regulations. And that would just be the beginning. The Paris Agreement requires ever-increasing targets as time goes on, which would further increase the cost of compliance. These efforts would return us to the same costly and ineffective policies that the current administration is unwinding.

Congress should instead advance pragmatic policies that will actually drive innovation in energy and environmental protection.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Guilhem Vellut

5 thoughts on “Staying in Paris Agreement would have cost US families $20K

  1. Green Climate Fund

    A total of 193 countries signed on to COP21, but that means nothing, unless they agree to do something, to undertake pain. The majority of these countries are underdeveloped and developing countries. They signed on to COP21 in expectation of payments from the Green Climate Fund. Only a few developed countries have made financial contributions to the Green Climate Fund. See below URLs.

    The UN would administer the Fund. As of 17 May 2017, a total of $10.3 billion had been pledged (most not yet paid) to the Fund.

    – EU member states pledged $4.7 billion (UK $1.2 b; France $1.0 b; Germany $1.0 b; Others $1.5 b)
    – US $3.0 billion; already paid $1 billion.
    – Rest of World $2.6 billion (Japan $1.5 b; China $0; India $0; Others $1.1 b). See table in URL.

    The Fund’s initial goal is to distribute to recipient countries $100 billion in 2020, and much more in EACH YEAR thereafter. The US, about 20% of gross world product, likely would be hit up for $25 billion in 2020 (China would not pay, India would get money), and much more in EACH YEAR thereafter. That UN-managed Fund likely would become the mother of all boondoggles.

    No. Thank you, said Trump. He was not about to let the UN do boondoggle projects with US taxpayer money, especially when considering the insufficient outcomes of almost all prior COP events.

    As the world is making so little progress towards RE, the US, “doing its RE part” by staying with COP21, would be engaging in an expensive exercise in futility.

    Europe, Japan Lack Energy Sources, the US has Plenty: Europe, Japan and others primarily drive the RE movement, because they have insufficient domestic energy resources. Europe, Japan and others want the US to stay with COP21,

    1) As a big source of cash for future financing of the Green Climate Fund, and
    2) Because they would become less competitive versus the US, if they increased investments in RE and the US did not.

    Europe and Japan Reneging on World Peace Keeping Costs: For decades, Europe, Japan and others have underinvested in defense, because of the US protection guarantee; only 5 of 29 NATO nations spend at least 2% of GDP on their own defense.

    Europe, Japan and others have been shirking the world peacekeeping burden, as it would divert investments from their goods and services sectors.

    Instead, they invested in producing and exporting superior goods and services, which the US did not. This caused the US, hamstrung by having to adhere to World Trade Organization rules, to have huge chronic trade and budget deficits.

    Europe, Japan and others want to keep the good times rolling, i.e., have the US protect them for free, if possible, in hamstrung mode, due to chronic trade and budget deficits, under WTO rules, and complying to onerous COP21 requirements.

  2. The four largest CO2eq emitters are China, US, EU and India.

    – US CO2eq emissions, based on staying with COP21, would have been about 5.0 billion Mt, but they would be about 6.4 billion Mt, based on leaving COP21. In the US people live in a spread-out manner, which requires more energy per capita. It would have required several trillion dollars of investments in RE systems and efficiency to achieve the 2030 targets agreed to by Obama.

    – China and India would continue to increase their CO2eq emissions. This was agreed to during COP21 negotiations, because of their low energy per capita. Neither country makes contributions to the Green Climate Fund, which were scheduled to become quite large for developed countries by 2020. See below. China’s energy per capita is at least 2 times that of India, which likely would receive funds from the Green Climate Fund.

    – The EU 2030 target would achieve a slight decrease from 2015. In the EU people live close together, which requires less energy per capita. EU transformations likely would require significantly less investments for its 2030 target, than the US would need for its 2030 target. No wonder, Germany, France and Italy immediately declared “no renegotiations” of COP21, after Trump stated he wanted to renegotiate.

    The upshot is, the US would have to make major adjustments to its economy to achieve the overly ambitious US 2030 targets agreed to by Obama. Trump was absolutely correct to insist on renegotiating the COP21 agreement.

    This New York Times article has videos demonstrating the rapid decrease of CO2eq reduction by the US compared to the much less rapid reduction by Europe.

    The major decrease for the US, agreed to by Obama, would have meant excessive economic dislocations/disturbances within the US economy, and would have been a perfect recipe for a major long-term recession due to:

    1) The debilitations of chronic federal budget deficits of about $500 b/y
    2) The chronic goods trade deficits of $750 b/y
    3) The US being a huge debtor nation; $8.3 trillion in 2016
    3) The world peacekeeping costs (shirked by most NATO members)

    – Obama, without permission from the US Congress, committed $3 billion to a Green Climate Fund to literally buy the votes of poor countries (India, Turkey, etc.,), so they would commit to COP21. No wonder Obama was loved.
    – Some of these countries are among the most corrupt in the world.
    – Some of that money likely will disappear into Swiss bank accounts, instead of being used for COP21 goals, as there is NO monitoring mechanism in place.
    – Obama paid $1 billion to the Fund just before Trump was sworn in.
    – Because the US is leaving COP21, the other $2 billion STAYS IN THE US. See URL for full transcript of COP21 withdrawal announcement.

  3. Another stupid Obama deal bites the dust. Happy day. People complain about Trump while giving Obama a HUGE pass on his many blunders. Remember the line “if you want to keep your doctor, you can keep your doctor, PERIOD”. How’s that for a bald faced, out and out lie?? Even worse, he knew it at the time.

  4. If only another 15% of the voting age minds in this country, and around the world for that matter, recognized liberal BS when they saw it, we’d vote out the extremists, bring Jesus back to his place at the table of discourse, get rid of wasteful discretionary spending, re-vamp every government institution, and watch our species grow and prosper together like no one ever dreamed could be possible. A life driven solely by technological advancements while leaving the soul behind is abnormal and depraved.

  5. Al Gore and the other village idiots try to create panic and fear so they could implement carbon taxes and make them more acceptable. The world is going to come to an end when God says enough is enough.

    Fear not.

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