You can be conservative, believe in climate change and the need for action, while completely disagreeing with the Paris Agreement.
Most Conservatives aren’t somehow ideologically opposed to the concept that CO2 is building up in the atmosphere and leading to slow increases in average temperatures. Nobody actually likes the idea of breathing polluted air. They’re against the proposed course of action by the left.
The Paris Agreement is:
- Completely ineffective (allowing countries to tailor reduction goals in any way they seem fit, not taking into account the exploding emissions from the Asia). The world’s biggest polluter, China, doesn’t have to cut emissions at all until 2030. China currently emits more pollution than the US and Europe combined. In fact according to the 2015 Trends in CO2 Global Emissions report from the EU, China accounts for 68% of the all worldwide CO2 increase in the last 17 years (since 2000) at 6.8 gigatons. The first world US and EU have all either flatlined or decreased, while places like India are increasing and China is absolutely exploding its emissions.
Studies already show that the Paris agreement will fail in it’s stated goals. From the Energy and Climate Outlook by MIT:
With emissions stable and falling in Developed countries, on the assumption that the Paris pledges made at COP21 are met and retained in the post-2030 period, future emissions growth will come from the developing countries. Growth in global emissions results in 64 gigatons (Gt) CO2 -eq emissions in 2050, rising to 78 Gt by 2100 (a 63% increase in emissions relative to 2010). By 2050 the developed countries account for about 15% of global emissions, down from 30% in 2010.
Assuming the proposed cuts are extended through 2100 but not deepened further, they result in about 0.2°C less warming by the end of the century compared with our estimates.
Another from the Global Policy journal more recently:
A new peer-reviewed paper published in the Global Policy journal measures the actual impact of all significant climate promises made ahead of the Paris climate summit.
The climate impact of all Paris INDC promises is minuscule: if we measure the impact of every nation fulfilling every promise by 2030, the total temperature reduction will be 0.048°C (0.086°F) by 2100.
Even if we assume that these promises would be extended for another 70 years, there is still little impact: if every nation fulfills every promise by 2030, and continues to fulfill these promises faithfully until the end of the century, and there is no ‘CO₂ leakage’ to non-committed nations, the entirety of the Paris promises will reduce temperature rises by just 0.17°C (0.306°F) by 2100.
- Completely toothless (completely non-binding, no punishments for missing targets; “peer pressure” is how some of the developed world expects to ensure emerging markets keep their end of the bargain). By 2030, China will overtake the US to be the preeminent economic jaggernaut (especially if this deal was signed that allows them to continue polluting) and there will be very little recourse to pressure them to actually sign a binding agreement.
- Expensive for America and other western countries ($100 billion a year minimum with ever increasing escalation, from wealthy developed nations to emerging economies) without any guarantee of return on stated goals. There is no actual accountability set with receiving this money, when it could be actually used for real implementation-ready Co2 reduction projects.
That’s a lot of money to give away to other nations with no guarantees that they will follow through on their end, especially since the recipients include our economic competitors such as China and India. This money could definitely yield better short term results if pumped into actual tangible and implementable climate programs, whether domestic or abroad. At the same time programs that provide birth control education to the exponentially increasing third world populations will do more in the next century to reduce climate change than handing over billions to third world rulers without any guarantee of actual reciprocity. China currently plans to increase their emission by over 35% by 2030 when the non-binding agreements kicks in for them to limit to their peak emissions.. How is giving money to the biggest polluters to use in any way they see fit without any enforcement, while punishing the first world which has highly regulated pollution emission standards, in any way a good thing? How is this saving the climate?
It seems the Paris Agreement was nothing more than political grandstanding, a proverbial pat on the back for all the world leaders. “We did something about climate change, yay!” I mean even former head NASA climate scientist Dr. James Hansen thought the deal was pointless.
I understand that it’s hard to get almost 200 countries to agree on something, but the current language is so weak that it is practically useless. It really doesn’t have to be so expansive in number of countries – if we could get China, India, Pakistan, and the EU on board, we’d have the majority of the world’s greenhouse gas emitters right there with us. As Americans, what we need to do is push our elected officials to come up with a legitimate and detailed plan that actually spells out the monetary costs associated and the targets that must be met. Things like reducing meat consumption, increasing nuclear energy and putting special focusing on concentrating funding to preserving the “world’s lungs” (our oceans and the Amazon forests) will yield much more actual benefit than circlejerking how the Paris Agreement is some gold standard. It is a much more rational and substantive way forward.