Should the U.S. Adhere to the Paris Climate Deal?

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government examines, in two parts,  whether the U.S. should adhere to the Paris Climate accords 

The Trump Administration will soon decide on whether to adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement.  Since the accord was never formally adopted as a treaty by the United State, the White House can act with relative ease to alter America’s involvement.

President Obama pledged (without the consent of Congress) $3 billion as just a start to fund the $100 billion goals of the Paris agreement. Transferring wealth to developing countries appears to be the primary but unspoken goal of the Paris deal. The agreement’s Article 9, as reported by CNS,  notes: “Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention.”

Opponents of the measure raise a number of criticisms, chief among them doubts about the scientific accuracy of the basic concepts underlying it, and the damage that would be done to the American economy.

Among the scientific questions scrupulously avoided in Paris:

  • Earth was warmer both in the 10th century A.D. and during part of the Roman Empire period. How does this compare with the concept of man-made global warming?
  • During the period when Earth was warming during the Twentieth Century, other planets in the solar system were also warming. Doesn’t this indicate that it is solar activity, not human activity, that is the major factor? (Live Science  noted in 2007: “Earth is heating up lately, but so are MarsPluto and other worlds in our solar system, leading some scientists to speculate that a change in the sun’s activity is the common thread linking all these baking events.”
  • Antarctic ice cover reached its greatest level ever in 2014. Forbes reports: “Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.
  • There has been virtually no global warming for close to two decades. This should be reviewed more carefully before making drastic plans.

Dr. Steve Koonin, who served as undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama’s first term, noted the lack of scientific agreement in a Wall Street Journal article:

“The idea that ‘Climate science is settled’ runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future…The crucial scientific question for policy isn’t whether the climate is changing. That is a settled matter: The climate has always changed and always will. Geological and historical records show the occurrence of major climate shifts, sometimes over only a few decades…Even though human influences could have serious consequences for the climate, they are physically small in relation to the climate system as a whole. For example, human additions to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the middle of the 21st century are expected to directly shift the atmosphere’s natural greenhouse effect by only 1% to 2%. Since the climate system is highly variable on its own, that smallness sets a very high bar for confidently projecting the consequences of human influences.”

A purely scientific debate would have featured significantly different facts. Astronomy Now discusses the potential of exactly the reverse of global warming:

“The arrival of intense cold similar to the one that raged during the “Little Ice Age”, which froze the world during the 17th century and in the beginning of the 18th century, is expected in the years 2030—2040. These conclusions were presented by Professor V. Zharkova (Northumbria University) during the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno in Wales by the international group of scientists, which also includes Dr Helen Popova of the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics and of the Faculty of Physics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Professor Simon Shepherd of Bradford University and Dr Sergei Zharkov of Hull University”.

In a survey  of 1800 scientists, only 43% agreed with the United Nation’s claim of ‘95%’ certainty’ about global warming.

The Report concludes tomorrow