At times I have written about topics that don’t offer an opinion or conclusion but I must admit, I am a little on the fence on this one. What I must say to begin is that I have grown weary of people forming their opinions from newspapers, television and the web. The news, no matter from where you receive it, is simply a way that people look to have their opinions verified and validated. So if you’re liberal you watch MSNBC and gleefully enjoy the ripping of President Trump and all those who surround him. If you’re conservative, you happily watch Fox News as they tell you how the left is ruining America and how immigrants are the cause for so many American workers not having jobs. The truth is, there is no truth. Politics and views on economics depend solely on who gave birth to you and your life experiences. Political truth always lies somewhere in the middle.
So what about the Paris Climate Accord withdrawal? Let me first be clear, there is no doubt that human factors caused and are causing climate change. That said, there are other issues that need to be examined alongside pollutants for the path we are currently heading down. I would therefore argue that overpopulation is as big a threat as global warming. After all, no one ever addresses the fact that billions of human beings breathe out a healthy amount of CO2. We all know about cattle emissions, not to mention defecation, urination and every kind of waste including plastics and styrofoam that take hundreds or even a thousand years to break down. Most countries don’t even have a comprehensive recycling program. Based on estimates, there will be 8.5 billion people by 2030 and 9 billion by 2050. So no mater what we do to limit CO2 emissions, there is little we can do to save our planet unless we reverse that trend.. It can only be achieved by birth control and economic development.
However, I excurse. Back to the climate accord. There is something to be said for being the most important member of the world community. I would agree that the fact that the U.S.A. is no longer part of that accord, greatly reduces its efficacy. But let’s also be clear, an accord is basically a meaningless document because it’s not binding. It’s like telling your spouse you’re going to change. Well maybe you will, or maybe you won’t.
Second, the reductions in green house gasses were proposed by each individual country. Russia’s commitment to the reduction in greenhouse gases was far less drastic than what the U.S. proposed which seriously compromised the accord from the start.
Third is the issue of cost. As is always the case, and as President Trump pointed out, we were the leading country in financing this accord. Our commitment starts at $481 million then jumps to over $800 million. That does not include a promised $3 billion dollars to aid countries who don’t have the resources necessary to cut their emissions. Some people do not have a problem with that and find it to be money well spent. Others believe those billions would be better spent at home, on America and Americans.
Fourth, there is some disagreement as to the number of jobs that will be created due to new technology and innovation needed to develop newer and greater sources of renewable energy. Do those jobs offset the amount of money that the U.S. would have been giving to fund this accord? Does is more than offset the number of jobs that would be lost? I do not have the answer and neither does anyone else in this country except for all of the brilliant know-it-all’s who claim to know it all. Truthfully, like anything else in the unknown universe, there is some guesswork involved and only time would tell.
Fifth, while climate change is occurring, it difficult if not impossible to predict the implications. One absolute fact is the weather in the United States has not gotten worse in the last ten years. Superstorm Sandy was anything but and was in fact barely a hurricane. It caused such damage due to the storm surge which had to do with the direction of the storm as it hit the northeast coastline. The odds of that happening again in our lifetimes is miniscule. I was outside during the height of the storm and the wind could barely move me. It also did not rain in NYC. I always enjoy when the newscasts figure out some way to make weather events look more ominous. The reason Sandy caused so much damage despite the fact that it was a weak storm was because of the storm direction and the fact that there are so many more people living in harm’s way on the east coast. Look back to storms from the 1700’s and 1800’s and you will understand from where this comes. The last eight years in Florida has been one of the quietest hurricane periods since records have been kept. On top of that, tornado seasons in the past couple of years have actually been quieter than the historical average. The truth is, tornadoes have been plaguing “tornado alley” since the formation of this continent. There’s a reason Lyman Frank Baum wrote the Wizard of Oz in 1900 about a girl who whose house is lifted off its foundation in Kansas and transported to Oz by a cyclone. Tornadoes have nothing to do with climate change! Almost every year in the past eight, the hurricane center says its going to be a more active season than normal and almost every year they lower there predictions. I’m sure that one year it will pan out but only time will tell. Hopefully, the prognosticators will once again be wrong. I will of course be watching closely. That said, global climate temperatures are rising and that is the most serious threat. Although I do not believe that NYC will become Atlantis in 50 years, nor should anyone else, being that it is at sea level, any rise in the oceans will lead to more frequent flooding so that needs to be addressed.
In closing, your feelings about the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord depends on where you stand politically. Does it hurt us with respect to our place in the world, perhaps. But we have never really been part of the world order but rather interceded when necessary. President Obama tried to change that in many ways and one could argue, not for the better in terms of foreign policy overall. The withdrawal from the accord, no matter where you stand, will not change the U.S. direction in terms of climate change and the drive towards cleaner, renewable energy. It has nothing to do with Exxon, any gas and oil-producing nations or the Paris Accord. It has to do with the natural evolution of progress. So if your fear is that we are now doomed, that is as incorrect as stating that there’s no climate change. The world is moving in the right direction because it has no choice. China hasn’t cancelled the building of 100 coal-burning power plants because of the accord. They did it because people in China are walking around with masks on their faces because they can’t breathe due to pollution. That’s called common sense. The light of worldwide renewable energy has been lit and it will not be extinguished until it reaches its necessary conclusion, most likely in 100 or more years.