It’s fairly simple. You can check my facts that I will assert here on the UN’s page describing the essential elements of the Paris Accord. First, goals of this accord are to reduce emissions and prevent further rising of global temperatures. I am not arguing that there is not an issue with global temperatures or that humans are not responsible to some degree. My issue is with the stated methodology of addressing this issue. The basic approach is that “financial flow” (giving money) will be used to incentivize “vulnerable countries” to reduce emissions.
Issue 1: This agreement has no standards or goals that “vulnerable countries” must meet to continue receiving funds. None. It only requires them to use their “best efforts” to reduce emissions. This is a vague standard with no way of quantifying non-compliance.
Issue 2: The argument I hear the most is “147 countries have already ratified the agreement, and the US withdrawing endangers the agreement.” Let’s think about that. Why would the US withdrawing endanger it? It is because the vast majority of these countries expect to be on the receiving end of the “financial flow.” If the US wasn’t bankrolling the lion’s share of the project, it would still be viable. This tells me that the US would essentially be writing large checks to many nations on the honor system that they will do their “best.”
Issue 3: Supposedly, the funds would be used to finance green energy. The fact is, the technology has not been developed yet to implement green energy on a national scale, which it would need to be to have any effect on the environment. This issue primarily deals with the effectiveness of expenditure right now in the current state of technology. My brother has worked on solar panel research, and from my conversations with him, we are still quite a few years away from the technology required to implement green energy on a large scale. Generating the energy is becoming less of an issue. It’s transporting the energy which is presenting the largest issue for national green programs. Right now, you transport fossil fuels, which contain energy, then burn them, releasing the energy. We need large power banks to replace the transportation capability of fossil fuels, which we simply haven’t invented yet.
Issue 4: As you can see here, the US, China, the EU, India, Russia, and Japan make up 70% of greenhouse gas emissions. It would be far more effective to create an agreement with these nations to reduce quantifiable levels of emissions than to simply give money to less developed countries (i.e. countries with far lower infrastructure capabilities to even implement changes) and give them a nebulous “best efforts” standard.
As outlined above, my issues are with the standards proscribed, our own liability of simply writing blank checks with no quantifiable goal to hold other countries accountable, the effectiveness of the technology or if they even have the infrastructure to implement it, and finally the relatively low overall contribution of these “vulnerable countries.” The largest contributors don’t need money, and the countries that need money aren’t even large contributors. This is a financing agreement to fix a pinhole in the hull of a boat when it’s missing the entire back end.
Edit: Thank you for the gold, kind stranger!