Tag Archives: carbon emissions

Should the U.S. Adhere to the Paris Climate Accord, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its examination of the merits of the Paris Climate Accord. 

An Energy and Environment (E&E) news report places a rough estimate for the cost of hitting the Paris goal in a range from $42 billion to $176 billion every year until 2050, citing Columbia University’s Geoffrey Heal. “Getting there will require massive investments, between $3.3 trillion and $7.3 trillion, in new energy generating capacity, energy storage and energy transmission, plus a faster transition to battery electric vehicles and ‘extensive progress’ in replacing the residential and commercial uses of fossil fuels.”

Bjorn Lomborg, writing for PragerU  notes:

“…the agreement will cost a fortune, but do little to reduce global warming. Consider the Obama administration’s signature climate policy, the Clean Power Plan. Using the same climate prediction model that the UN uses, I found that the power plan will accomplish almost nothing. Even if its cuts to carbon dioxide emissions are fully implemented – not just for the 14 years that the Paris Agreement lasts, but for the rest of the century – the Clean Power Plan would reduce the temperature increase in 2100 by just 0.023 degrees Fahrenheit… if the U.S. delivers for the whole century on [President Obama’s] very ambitious rhetoric, it would postpone global warming by about eight months at the end of the century. Now let’s add in the rest of the world’s Paris promises. If we generously assume that the promised carbon cuts for 2030 are not only met (which itself would be a U.N. first), but sustained, throughout the rest of the century, temperatures in 2100 would drop by 0.3 degrees – the equivalent of postponing warming by less than four years. Again, that’s using the UN’s own climate prediction model.”

A summary of the financial impact of the Paris accords was provided by the Heritage Foundation:

“Policies adapted from domestic regulations emphasized in the Paris agreement will affect a variety of aspects of the American economy. As a result of the plan, one can expect that by 2035, there will be:

  • An overall average shortfall of nearly 400,000 jobs;
  • An average manufacturing shortfall of over 200,000 jobs;
  • A total income loss of more than $20,000 for a family of four;
  • An aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) loss of over $2.5 trillion; and
  • Increases in household electricity expenditures between 13 percent and 20 percent.”

A continuation of American adherence to the Paris climate accord has also raised constitutional issues. The Competitive Enterprise Institute notes that “President Trump should keep his two-part campaign promise to cancel U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments to United Nations global warming programs. The Paris Agreement is a costly and ineffectual solution to the alleged climate crisis. It is also plainly a treaty, despite President Obama’s attempt to implement it without the Senate’s advice and consent. Failure to withdraw from the agreement would entrench a constitutionally damaging precedent, set President Trump’s domestic and foreign policies in conflict, and ensure decades of diplomatic blowback. For those and other reasons, the Paris Agreement imperils both America’s economic future and capacity for self-government… The Agreement endangers America’s capacity for self-government. It empowers one administration to make legislative commitments for decades to come, without congressional authorization, and regardless of the outcome of future elections. It would also make U.S. energy policies increasingly unaccountable to voters, and increasingly beholden to the demands of foreign leaders, U.N. bureaucrats, and international pressure groups.

Political observers believe the Trump Administration’s decision on the Paris accords will provide a clue on how it will move on other issues as well, and whether the White House will stick to the more conservative course it promised during the campaign or switch to a more left-wing mode. A Reason analysis notes that “A big fight has apparently broken out among Trump administration denizens over the question of leaving or staying in the accord. The Clexiters include strategic nationalist Steve Bannon and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and the stayers are First Daughter Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State of Rex Tillerson.”


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

White House measures expected to hike costs, hurt U.S. trade

The US is the world’s reigning coal super-power, with more reserves than any other nation. Indeed, it has a quarter of all the coal on the planet.   Providing 40% of all American power, there is enough of the home-based commodity to last for the next 290 years. According to Americaspower.org, the coal industry has invested nearly $120 billion so far to reduce emissions by 90 percent and plans to spend an additional $27 billion between now and 2016.

So why has the Department of Energy removed funding for FutureGen 2.0,  a carbon capture and storage project? Americaspower contrasts this move with China, which is investing heavily in the technology power “and stand(s) to enjoy the estimated $1 trillion in economic benefits from CCS.”

Strangely, the announcement came just one day after President Obama requested significant funding for carbon capture and storage projects in his FY 2016 budget. Laura Sheehan, senior vice president for communications at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity group noted that “The Obama Administration is engaging in misleading double-talk on clean coal technology. Although the administration leaned heavily on FutureGen technologies to justify its flawed New Source Performance Standards rule, President Obama has now cut the project off altogether…President Obama and his federal agencies are clearly opposed to advancing carbon capture and storage technology, despite repeated assurances. What makes this action even more disgraceful is then-Senator Obama’s full-throated support for FutureGen in 2006.”

Exports of U.S. coal, which have doubled over the past decade according to the Wall Street Journal, also play a key role in managing the dismaying U.S. balance of trade.

White House actions regarding carbon emissions reduction, a key issue in the use of coal, are expected to increase the cost of coal-based electricity by 80%.