The Absurd Unconditional, Unilateral US Commitment to Reduce Human CO2 EmissionsAlan Carlin | December 26, 2015
The climate alarmists maintain that emissions of carbon dioxide from human sources have increased global temperatures/climate change/extreme weather and if continued will do so catastrophically. They insist that this can be avoided only by huge decreases in human CO2 emissions even though there are many large natural sources which are only partly understood. No one country or union of countries can reduce emissions sufficiently to avoid this outcome according to their calculations. Their problem has been how to get enough countries to make sufficient cuts soon enough to avoid the alleged catastrophes. The first international attempt to mandate these cuts, the Kyoto Protocol, did not solve the problem since it imposed no constraints on the less developed countries and the US never ratified it.
Many Western European countries did, however, and many even followed the environmentalists’ recommendation of building wind and solar electric generating plants to reduce their human CO2 emissions. All this led to serious problems for their electric distribution systems and their ratepayers. It was and is obvious, however, that the Kyoto Protocol has not and will not reduce emissions sufficiently to avoid the alleged climate-related catastrophes according to UN climate “science.”
So in recent years the United Nations has been considering other approaches generally oriented towards voluntary commitments by all countries. The culmination of this process occurred in Paris in early December. The problem is that the new agreement will clearly be even less effective than the Kyoto Protocol since only one major emitter, the US, made an unconditional commitment to such reductions. The European Union offered to make a 40 percent cut provided that all countries entered into legally binding commitments. Since the Paris conference decided that there would be no binding commitments, the 40 percent commitment is moot. The other two large (and rapidly growing) emitters, China and India, made no commitments to reduce emissions in the near term. That leaves the US holding the bag since it committed to make substantial reductions, primarily based on EPA’s new emission regulations on electric generating plants. Unlike the EU, the US commitment was unqualified. The Obama Administration was and is willing to carry out these expensive regulations without regard to what other countries do.
The Obama Administration’s Unconditional Commitments
The Obama Administration offered to carry out these very expensive CO2 emission reductions but has obtained no binding commitments that any other major emitting countries will do anything. This is about as bad a deal for the US as can be imagined. We pay with expensive emission reductions that provide little or no benefits for the US or anyone else. The very large bill will be paid by electric ratepayers and taxpayers and energy intensive industries that will go bankrupt or be forced to move to other countries along with their emissions. No other major emitter is obligated to do anything. And all this is based on phony “science” that does not satisfy the scientific method, as discussed in my new book, Environmentalism Gone Mad.
To make matters worse, the Paris agreement provides for large payments from developed countries to the UN for dispersal to less developed countries for relevant projects selected by the UN. The Administration asked Congress for funds for this purpose and the 2016 appropriations approved by Congress last week do not appear to rule out this use for some of the funds.