So first I would like to point out that our leaving the Climate Accord was foolish. It was a non binding agreement to begin with. We could chose or chose not to contribute as we saw fit. It was based on self policing. Leaving it does not really make sense and simply diminishes our leadership role globally in an arena we are quite capable of leading.
Neither Kyoto nor Paris ever had a chance of being ratified by the Senate. So it is simply a gesture not a binding promise of any kind. Our participation it should be noted will still be active on the Big Business side Local and State Governments even while our Federal government bows out.
It is odd to me that so few know any details of this accord and its history yet have polarized opinions one way or the other. Most of which are probably not based on fact just bad rumours While this author is critical of the accord it in no way indicates my view of AGW. I think it is silly to contend that billions of people burning a campfire 24/7 365 for a hundred years or more does not have an impact. I believe that the data indicates we need to do better. I believe in energy conservation so much so I founded a business on it. I very much believe in sustainable practices. I think we must think globally and act locally. I do my best to reduce my footprint.
And as life is complicated so are my opinions on this matter. While I feel the Paris agreement lacking with many serious issues I felt we were best served by being part of it rather than on the outside of it. We can effect no change on the agreement by not participating
We first see this movement by the UN in stockholm in 1972 Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment
1-7 I have no issue with as they are measures of conservation and action by countries
At 8-12 we get into the weeds a bit in my view. There is no doubt that I agree with concept in 8 but that is a National issue in my view and not an International one. I can use Venezuela as an example here. Once a vibrant and robust economy that did provide much of Principle 8 now fails at it.
13- 16 l think these are solid principles
17 If it read their State instead of States I would agree with this
18-21 All good no issues
22-23 Not really agreeing with these.
24-26 Well we become become Countries and Nations again so that is a good thing and these principles are sound.
I think that the opening statement of the 1972 Declaration proclamations are visionary well put and worth of pursuit. And many of the principles. But I disagree that “developed countries” have a burden to pay for damages in “underdeveloped countries” Are we to be taxed for our success? How is this fair? For the most part the UN has been a bad steward of money and while a worthwhile venture has had its share of failures. Many of the underdeveloped countries have been bad stewards of their own resources, their own money and held back due to politics rather than opportunity often by their own government. Right from the beginning in 1972 it asks for monies with no accountability where that money is really going. It looks to be an expansion of UN power under the pretense of doing well by the environment. It reeks of money redistribution with no clear path toward pollution reduction.
1992 We visit this some 20 years later and now have United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change There are some others but this document serves well in the history of the concept and it establishes a secretariat The bones of the administration is put together.The concept of Climate Change now has an official place in the UN. I see this as positive as well. One cannot really move forward without some vehicle. It takes the principles of Stockholm and move toward a reality.
So for all the deniers that claim it went from global warming to Climate Change should review the history. It has been Climate Change at least since 1992. The Article does a good job of setting groundwork of what we are dealing with and what are the goals. Definitions that we use still today. So since 1992 this document has been signed by the world. It is a framework but still prevails as the only agreement thus far ratified by the US Senate in October of 1992.
2005 We now move into a new phase with the Kyoto Protocol.Of note that the use of the term Protocol was used for Montreal agreement on the restriction of Fluorocarbons. A very successful project that had very good results. Changes in freon gases to safer versions has had a real and positive effect worldwide. Since the primary producers and consumers of fluorocarbon gases was essentially Annex 1 countries it was easier to manage and very successful.
It should be noted that the United States never signed the Kyoto Protocol and Canada left it. It uses the framework of the convention as a base and launches from vehicle to drive policy.
Early in the Kyoto Protocol we see that Annex 1 has many restrictions and provisions. Annex 2 has less and non Annex well they get a free ticket to pollute essentially. Part of which I touched on earlier. It establishes Annex and Non Annex countries. It might have been better served as Payer and Payee because that is in fact what it is. What it does is put the Annex 1 at a position whereby they essentially agree that through their success that they have damaged the planet. A point I find no reason to argue with. But by establishing these Annexes classes it also provides loophole to Annex 2 and non Annex countries to not reduce carbon in the protocol. They are given a pass if you will to catch up economically if you will before self restricting carbon output. They are free to damage as much as they like or almost anyway.
This establishes I believe two fallacies and inequity right away. I will take this in two parts.
One assumes that other countries can catch up with the US and Western Europe economically. Let’s forget for a moment that they had the same opportunities that we did to develop but failed to do so. In fact one could contend that in a large part their ability to develop now is based on technological advanced outside their respective countries. Maybe not every country but I will put to list two Non Annex Countries China and India they are Number 1 and 3 on the global carbon producers with the US in a very solid number 2. So China produces roughly two times our carbon emissions and we produce about twice that of India.
So can China and India become as big of an economic powerhouse and success the US did and is. Should we make sure they do? And if so at what cost?
Well according to the Kyoto Protocol at the expense of the environment and funded by Annex 1 countries by their reduction and restrictions. So essentially we are paying our competitors to catch up. I am not sure how this bizarre scenario even make sense.
Developed countries with no fore knowledge mucked up things. It is agreed that change should happen. Developing countries have access to the same technology but have not the same restrictions.
The result is predictable. While the US and Europe have slightly reduced their usage after all carbon reduction is hard in a growing population base dependent on power. Especially during economic booms. China is pushing and expanding at such a high rate that not only are they producing more but so much more that we see a spike of carbon output globally from 2000 to today (it might be leveling off) that out paces any twenty year graph of days gone by. You know when the US had leaded gas, Incandescent bulbs, primarily coal fired plants, limited electronics and a smaller population. In other words environmentally speaking when you look at carbon production it is worse today than when the Ohio River was on fire.
The truth is Kyoto failed to provide any carbon reductions over the last 12 years save one during the 2008-2009 recession. Which was not the result of Kyoto. In fact it has gone up at an alarming rate.
Now is a good time to view some graphs that prove my point that Kyoto failed to be effective.
As you look at the graph above you can see a sharp increase in carbon emissions since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 2005 . A slight decrease in 2008 to 2009 which proves that a recession is good for reducing carbon if painful financially. But overall a whopping 10 percent increase of an already hideously high output since the signing of Kyoto Protocol
Getting data is always a bit fuzzy as they put it under different criteria. We will move from left down to right down. But one thing should be scary is that after all the talk. The placement of solar panels on roofs. The hybrid cars the campaigns The emergence of the powerful green energy sector. All that and more and we are still going in the wrong direction globally with emissions. Not by a little bit mind you but by ALOT and yea I can shout if I want to.
A) First looking at global it is very easy to see we are in a higher trajectory than the 1970s. It appears to be leveling off but anyone that has read graphs know that the data can change quickly.
B)Emissions we see a steady graph up with all but coal which sees a big spike This is power plant start ups in China primarily
C)Annex vs Non annex we see more than disparity moving down slowly very slowly is Annex 1 while the other non Annex rises rapidly and more than wipes out improvement by Annex by a big margin resulting in a net negative for the world. How much of this is that China is a gross polluter I will wonder aloud. Or could it be that Annex 1 countries are simply shifting the source manufacturing to China to claim better results for their own country for carbon emissions. Or as I suspect it is a bit of both.
D)We see in output China take the lead with a rather dramatic spike since 2000
E)And per Capita where the US is still number one
So why change from Protocol to Agreement. Certainly Protocol sounds like a stronger word but this is a continuation of Kyoto and in the spirit of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
We had Copenhagen and Warsaw in between Kyoto. I was actually on holiday in Denmark during the 2009 Copenhagen summit on Global Warming. I went to a couple of exhibits while the conference was going on It was ironic as DK can be cold in the winter to be sure this was one of the coldest in many years. OK don't start with the climate vs weather thing yes I understand it. It was ironic is what I am saying after all the buzz word was global warming at the time. There was little warmth in Denmark that winter.
So Obama signed the Paris Agreement and Trump is backing out. Let's start with one fact it is not binding as I point out in the very beginning. It was not ratified by the US Senate. Actually the agreement was never even presented to the Senate. Even the Democrats would have loathe to ratify it. In fact Obama never even proposed or intended to submit it. He knew the outcome. So in other words more of a guideline is how Barbarossa would have described it as he did the Pirates Code in the Pirates of the Caribbean. A guideline not really an Agreement nor an Accord.
Paris agreement ramps up language to include urgent necessary immediate. While I might agree with much of what is says, what will it do?
But this agreement they are asking Annex 1 to pony up in two ways. One would be the continued reduction of carbon emissions by Annex 1 and funding to mitigate as discussed in Copenhagen and Warsaw. One cannot move forward now without discussing The Green Climate Fund.
There has been much discussion of this vehicle over the last couple of days and most not true. The fund has high hopes of raising the Human Condition Thus far 10 billion has been pledged 3 billion from the US one Billion already paid. This is not close to the 100 billion dollar a year budget that maybe they dream of having one day. I highly doubt it will make that figure over the next 20 years as things stand today.
But in spite of funding, creating projects and having a very pretty website The Green Climate Fund has done nothing save secure pledges and collect some monies. You see projects on their site how many people it will help. Cost of project but no funding to date. Furthermore as you explore some of the projects they are more feel good projects than carbon reducing ones. In fact some of them will most likely contribute more carbon produced by increasing the population of areas by raising the condition of the people.
Now I am not against these projects for their face value. They are noble and improve people's lives. Nothing wrong with that. But the currency being used is carbon reduction which I feel it does not provide in many of the projects proposed.
The problem going all the way back to 1972 is they they being the UN is putting politics ahead of the Planet.
We can not condone the demise of the planet on some convoluted fairness. That would not be fair at all. We cannot continue to raise global carbon levels year by year and expect different results. If we are to collectively improve the planet it only makes sense that everyone plays by the same rules. We must reduce the use overall not just in some Nations or Annexes if you will, We must collectively reduce the amount of emissions across the board and across the planet. We must research ways and implement action to mitigate damage done.Otherwise we will continue to see scary graphs that are highly unfavorable to our future and future generations So far Kyoto failed to do anything positive save start a dialogue. The now active Green Climate Fund born in the cold climate of Copenhagen nursed in Warsaw and the teethed on the Paris Agreement seems doomed to the scrapheap of bad policy that the world has seen too many times before.
Good intentions are not enough anymore we need good results. Paris does not get us there yet.
So I just slammed the Paris Agreement from its beginnings in 1972 to its current state. The graphs above and my reasoning prove at least I hope proves that that I come from a position of at least a small bit of research At least beyond a meme on the internet. But I also state that we should have stayed in. How is that I hold that opinion?
I like the the little blue planet I call home. It's in need of a bit of cleaning and we cannot do it alone. It will take a global effort. The plan underway is poor to be sure. That’s ok sometimes you have to play the game from behind. You cannot lead from outside the boardroom. You cannot coach a team from the grandstands. The intentions of the agreement is noble even if the spirit and performance needs to change. We cannot influence nor fix a proposal that we we refuse to acknowledge. We cannot negotiate a contract unless we are one of the parties. We should take a long view on this, China certainly does.