With word imminent that President Donald Trump may pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the United Nations found its voice and promptly shamed the country that has funded it to the tune of $10 billion a year. Here’s how the UN says thank you:
Climate change is undeniable
Climate action is unstoppable
— United Nations (@UN) May 31, 2017
You may remember that the Paris Climate Agreement was President Barack Obama’s and Secretary of State John Kerry’s baby back in 2016 when it was signed, and under the agreement they signed, the U.S. was supposed to reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. And the Obama White House made a big deal of working with China to sign the agreement thereby proving that climate change is also national security, or something like that. But the agreement was never more than a lot of talk, very little substance. As Commentary Magazine points out, the agreement struck in Paris looks like a lot of bureaucratic compromises: mostly just a fun exercise that allows everyone to pat each other on the back and feel good about themselves, but that ultimately goes nowhere meaningful:
The Accord was doomed before negotiators ever assembled for photographs in December 2015. They were not there to commit each country to meaningful greenhouse-gas reductions; rather, everyone submitted their voluntary pledges in advance, and all were accepted without scrutiny. Pledges did not have to mention emissions levels, nor were there penalties for falling short. The conference itself was, in essence, a stapling exercise. Celebrating the success of this collation coalition, Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that “186 nations in the world came together to submit a plan, all of them reducing their emissions.” That was not true. In fact, most of the major developing countries, whose emissions will drive climate change this century, pledged only to continue with business as usual. China committed to begin reducing emissions by 2030, roughly when its economic development would have caused this to happen regardless. India made no emissions commitment, pledging only to make progress on efficiency—at half the rate it had progressed in recent years. Pakistan outdid the rest, submitting a single page that offered to “reduce its emissions after reaching peak levels to the extent possible.” This is a definition of the word “peak,” not a commitment.
Then of course, there’s this:
Reminder: the Paris agreement lacked enforcement mechanisms and even Obama's EPA said it would not stop warming. https://t.co/xht3uwsPm0
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) May 31, 2017
No matter, though, because the European Commission has already let Trump know that he can’t just leave their useless agreement.
The commission president said withdrawing from the Paris Agreement would take Trump down a three- to four-year process of withdrawal. So the direct action Trump is promising is impossible. “So this notion, ‘I am Trump, I am American, America First and I’m going to get out of it’ — that won’t happen,” Juncker said.
Memo to Juncker: no one thought Trump would win the presidency here so don’t get ahead of yourself. You may end up looking foolish. Anyway, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting with the Chinese President this evening even as the rumors swirl that the U.S. will hand over their global authority as regards climate change to the Chinese if they extract themselves from the deal. Global authority? Talk about authoritarian. And anyway, given the non-enforcement issue, sounds like the authority was in name only. But back to the UN — the U.S. is preparing to pull out of that agreement, too, in a way. Wise move because, as has been stated often, Mr. Trump has a background in business. When your investments are no longer paying dividends, it’s time to dump them. The UN and climate change are both money pits.