Poland and the Failure of Paris Climate Commitments

Actions speak louder than words. And the actions of nations around the world show the 2015 Paris climate agreement, like the climate agreements before it, is not worth the paper it is printed on.
– H. Sterling Burnett_________________

Poland and the Failure of Paris Climate Commitments

H. Sterling Burnett, PhD

Actions speak louder than words. And the actions of nations around the world show the 2015 Paris climate agreement, like the climate agreements before it, is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Environmentalists were discouraged at how little progress was made at the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Katowice, Poland, from December 2 to December 14.

Diplomats failed to either “welcome” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) September 2018 report on the costs of climate change or ratchet up the required greenhouse gas emission reductions beyond what was agreed to in Paris in 2015, as the IPCC’s report said they must to avoid serious environmental harm. Negotiators also failed to address funding for developing countries to grow economically while adapting to climate change. Instead, in a moment of unmerited self-congratulation, at the close of the conference, government bureaucrats in attendance gave themselves a standing ovation for developing an unenforceable rule book for tracking and counting carbon dioxide emissions. That tepid accomplishment hardly merited a single handclap, much less the millions of dollars governments spent and thousands of tons of carbon dioxide they spewed sending their climate mandarins to Poland.

In 1992, 165 countries signed the UNFCC, agreeing to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.” To do so, 43 industrialized countries agreed to implement voluntary measures to stabilize their greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000. They missed that target badly.

Despite the 1992 agreement, carbon dioxide emissions increased. Therefore, in 1997, parties to the UNFCC negotiated a new treaty: the Kyoto Protocol. Under this treaty, the same developed countries agreed to legally-binding greenhouse gas emission reductions averaging 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

History repeated itself, with the parties to the Kyoto Protocol missing their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets by a wide margin, with no penalties forthcoming.

This brings us to Paris in 2015, when 196 countries agreed to cut or stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at levels necessary to prevent the Earth from warming as far as possible below two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. The U.N. recently estimated this would mean cutting global greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2030 and producing net zero emissions by 2050.

No country is on target to meet those commitments. In fact, carbon dioxide emissions are increasing, not dropping. In short, the Paris agreement, for all the lofty words spoken in support of it in Poland, is all but kaput.

Here are just a few facts demonstrating why the Paris agreement is doomed to fail.

  1. Worldwide global carbon dioxide emissions increased by 2.7 percent in 2018 compared with 2017. China and India, the largest and third-largest emitters of greenhouse gases, grew their emissions by 4.7 percent and 6.3 percent respectively since 2017. Even if they stabilize their emissions at present levels by 2030, it would still mean higher greenhouse gas levels than the U.N. says is necessary to stabilize temperatures.
  2. To spread its geopolitical influence, the Chinese government formed a development bank that is financing hundreds of new coal fueled electric power plants across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
  3. At COP24, saying, “we have to use what we have,” African countries defied green colonialists concerned with climate change, backing the African Development Bank’s decision to increase funding for coal, natural gas, and oil development to bring their nations out of poverty.
  4. Brazil’s new prime minister announced, contrary to expectations, his country would not host the next round of U.N. climate negotiations in 2019. Furthermore, he has stated his intention to follow President Donald Trump’s lead and withdraw Brazil from the Paris climate agreement and to increase timber production in Brazil’s rainforests.
  5. France, Germany, and Japan – among the countries pushing the hardest for tough emission reduction goals in international climate negotiations – have each increased coal use for electricity and have announced they will miss their mid-term carbon-dioxide emission reduction goals.
  6. Germany and several Eastern European countries nixed the European Parliament Environment Committee’s proposal to dramatically increase EU’s 2030 carbon dioxide reduction goals for the transportation sector.
  7. In response to four weeks of violent public protests, France’s government suspended scheduled increases in fuel taxes, electricity prices, and stricter vehicle emissions controls, which French President Emmanuel Macron claimed were necessary to meet France’s greenhouse gas reduction commitments under the Paris climate agreement.
  8. In 2018, in part as a backlash against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate policies, global warming skeptic Doug Ford was elected as premier of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. Ford announced he would end energy taxes imposed by Ontario’s previous premier and would join with the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan in a legal fight against Trudeau’s federal carbon dioxide tax.
  9. This year, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was forced to resign in response to a challenge to his leadership over carbon dioxide restrictions he’d planned to meet the country’s Paris climate commitments. The new government announced reducing energy prices and improving reliability, not fighting climate change, would be its primary energy goals going forward. Subsequently, Australia’s deputy prime minister and environment minister announced the country would continue using coal for electricity and expand coal mining and exports.
  10. In the 2018 U.S. mid-term elections, liberal, green voters in Washington State rejected a tax on carbon dioxide emissions for the second time in two election cycles. Additionally, voters in Alaska and Colorado rejected initiatives that would have limited fossil fuel production in their states, and voters in Arizona resoundingly rejected an initiative to limit the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity. These defeats came despite supporters of the Paris climate agreement spending millions of dollars in each of these states by to get these climate initiatives passed.

Heads of government are being forced to acknowledge their constituents are unwilling to make the sacrifices to their welfare and living standards necessary to meet questionable climate goals. Regardless of Poland and future climate conferences, the reality is the Paris climate agreement is dead, and I (along with millions of others around the world) am not mourning its passing.


The post Poland and the Failure of Paris Climate Commitments appeared first on Ice Age Now.

via Ice Age Now


January 12, 2019 at 03:20AM

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