Preparations are now underway for COP25, a global climate conference of thousands of politicians and observers, opening December 2 in Madrid. This conference was to be held in Chile, but the Chilean President cancelled hosting it because of violent riots, sparked by large increases in transit fares and electricity prices.
One COP25 agenda item is the 2015 Paris Agreement, which was supposed to fix the climate crisis. Even if there is such a crisis, the Paris Agreement won’t fix it. [But is there really a climate crisis? You may want to read my two earlier posts on that issue, starting here: The Climate Crisis: Don’t Panic, It’s Not the Titanic.]
Everyone talks about the Paris Agreement, but hardly anyone reads it. The mainstream media says it was to reduce global CO2 emissions. But that is not what the Agreement says or does. It doesn’t require any country to reduce its emissions. Some of the planet’s largest emitters say they will increase their emissions — not just a little, but a lot.
China, the world’s largest emitter and growing rapidly, already accounts for 29% of global CO2. (The USA represents only 13%, Canada 1.6%.) India, with its less developed but rapidly growing economy, creates another 7%. Yet both China and India (and several Africa countries) project increased emissions with no numerical limit.
Even if all the 195 nations that signed the Agreement do what they said they will do, the net effect will be no significant reduction in CO2 emissions. There is a huge disconnect between what the Agreement is supposed to do and what the nations have said they intend to do.
The current panic over the ‘climate crisis’ makes it politically essential for most governments to respond with dramatic displays of determination to “fight climate change” and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Unfortunately, as Nobel Prize-winning economist William Nordhaus has written in The American Economic Association Journal of August 2018:
“The reality is that most countries are on a business-as-usual trajectory of minimal policies to reduce their emissions …. The international target for climate change with a limit of 2°C appears to be infeasible with reasonably accessible technologies even with very ambitious abatement strategies.”
The only safe political path between the panic and the possible is to pretend to do the impossible. And that is the real purpose of the Paris Agreement.