In December 2015, 200 nations signed on to an agreement on targets related to reducing carbon outputs on a grand scale. It was named the Paris Climate Accord and has been at the forefront of all major debates relating to man-made climate change. Since then, many other nations have signed on, and just recently Syria (while still in the midst of violent civil war) also joined the Accord…But not the US.
Technically, the US is signed on to the Accord, despite most news networks reporting that the US pulled out of it. What remains in question is whether or not America will stay a part of it after 2020, when its present commitment expires.
Regardless of different positions on climate change, it seems that very few people are willing to argue with the actual Accord. Yet it remains one of the most ill-thought-out pieces of legislation to ever gain such international intention. Many argue that the widespread appeal of the Accord rests in its overwhelming focus on chastising and regulating the United States while looking the other way in regards to most of the world’s worst polluters, like Russia.
In June, President Trump declared that the US would be leaving the Accord citing research that it could cost the US around 2.5 million jobs if fully implemented. What he should have explained was that even though those jobs would have been lost, the actual carbon output would have remained exactly the same, because the manufacturing would have been shipped overseas.
What is not often publicized is what the Climate Accord actually entails. Each nation makes a commitment to reduce emissions by a certain amount and within a certain time. However, if nations fail in this, they are under no further obligation. There are no fines and no recriminations. Essentially it is the world’s largest Virtue Signaling exercise.
Much has been made of heavy polluters such as India and China joining the Paris Accord, and the press lauds them for doing so while denigrating President Trump’s refusal to get on board. Yet between China and India (despite being part of the Paris Climate Accord) it is reported that they already have plans in place to build another 2100 coal-fired power stations.
In fact, it seems that the only countries that are doing anything related to the Accord are those that have a history of managing pollution outputs already. Typically, they do so by offshoring manufacturing to less developed nations.
The media in general needs to do a little more honest reporting on what the Paris Climate Accord involves and which countries are merely going through the motions. The United States already leads the world in green energy and carbon emissions reduction.
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.