Au Revoir, Paris
The recent move by the Trump Administration to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty caused considerable consternation among many in this country and abroad. Let’s start by reviewing a few quick facts on the Paris Treaty. It will collect up to $100 Billion a year from countries like the US and distribute it to countries like India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico. Meeting the targets agreed upon in the treaty would lead to crippling regulations for countries like the US. Improvements made will be measured on an honors system, and there are no consequences for failing to meet targets. Signatories include countries like Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea (countries not exactly known for honesty).
Unfortunately, Global Warming (rechristened “Climate Change” to include both warming and cooling) has become more of a pseudo-religion than a science. The proponents of Global Warming include Big Businesses which prefer regulation because it helps them beat out the little guy (Walmart can hire an army of lawyers but the corner grocery store cannot). Included in the ranks of proponents are those who would benefit the most like the solar industry which will be out of business if it weren’t for the government subsidies that have kept many of those companies propped up (Remember Solyndra?). It includes the academics who live on the research funding they get from the government. It includes the politicians (less than 10% of them have STEM education and many of them still don’t use emails). Many of these same people who profess to know what is best of us have never even run a regression analysis in their entire life.
There is a tendency to connect everything to Global Warming, so let me be clear: Paris or no Paris, we have an obligation to keep Lake Tahoe pristine, Truckee river clean, our air pure, our skies blue and our forests green. We can do that without joining an international wealth redistribution scheme. According to studies, the Paris treaty would reduce US GDP by $2.5 Trillion over the next 20 years and regulations coming out of the Paris agreement would cost the US industrial sector 1.1 million jobs. When the Obama administration regulated to kill coal and stop drilling for oil, it elevated oil prices and enriched countries like Russia and Iran, which they have used to build up their military. Paris will do the same and worse. Let us learn from the past and not repeat the mistake.
As to whether the planet is really warming, let’s set that aside for a moment. Paris has far less to do with our air and water than it does with taxpayer’s money. Paris, initially signed by the worst negotiators to every grace the halls of the White House, is heavy on idealism and low on science. Ponder this as you let your mind’s eye float to the black smog filled skies of Beijing: if the point of the Paris Accord is to reduce pollution levels and save the earth, why is it that China can continue to increase pollution levels through 2030 and beyond?