Saving the planet has never been so easy.
The Paris climate talks concluded in a rousing round of self-congratulation over an agreement that, we are told, is the first step toward keeping the Earth habitable. If generating headlines and press releases about making history were the metric for anything, Paris might be as consequential — if misbegotten — as advertised.
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The agreement is about the agreement, never mind what’s in it or what its true legal force is: namely, nil. Paris is a legally binding agreement not to have legally binding limits on emissions. It might be the most worthless piece of paper since the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawed war — about a decade prior to the outbreak of World War II.
Politico reported that the talks were almost derailed at the last minute by the accidental insertion of the word “shall” deep in the text, which, by implying a legal obligation, was to be avoided at all costs (the US Senate would never give its assent to a legally binding treaty). The United States then scrambled to change the offending word to “should.”
The Paris summit operated on the principle of CBDRILONCWRC, or “Common But Differentiated Responsibility In Light Of National Circumstances With Respective Capability.” That means nothing was actually mandated on anyone because that proved — understandably enough, dealing with all the countries in the world — completely unworkable.
Instead, countries came up with so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. That’s climate bureaucratese for you make up your emissions target, whatever it is, and we will pretend to take it seriously. Thus do the waters recede and the Earth is saved from looming climate catastrophe.
Even if you believe the extremely dubious proposition that somehow the climate “consensus” perfectly understands perhaps the most complicated system on the planet, and can forecast with certitude and in detail what the global temperature will be a century from now, Paris is a charade.
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As Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute points out, Pakistan produced a one-page document promising to “reduce its emissions after reaching peak levels to the extent possible.” For this we needed a headline-grabbing global confab?
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As the Guardian put it, India “says coal provides the cheapest energy for rapid industrialization that would lift millions out of poverty.” That’s correct.
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It speaks to a naive belief in the power of global shame over the sheer economic interest of developing countries in getting rich (and lifting countless millions out of poverty) through exploiting cheap energy — you know, the way Western countries have done for a couple of centuries.
If this is the best hope of the climate alarmists, their global campaign will be a welcome fizzle. All things considered, it probably is best that they occupy themselves with grand meetings and with the exertions attendant to believing their own p.r. Otherwise they could do real damage.
Obama is only pretending to save the planet
By Rich Lowry
New York Post
December 14, 2015 | 8:00pm