President Donald Trump has done what few politicians are capable of by actually doing what he promised and has pulled the US out of the Paris Accord. Many businesses would agree with President Trump, saying that the agreement was “a self-inflicted major economic wound”.
The UN Climate Change conference in Paris in November 2015 involved a desperate last- ditch attempt to get any agreement and to get the reluctant developing nations on board. These climate conferences have been going on annually for over 22 years. Each conference, in mostly exotic locations, saw tens of thousands of delegates and hangers-on fly in creating thousands of tonnes of additional emissions.
The Paris Accord agreed to nations having targets to reduce emissions but these are voluntary, not legally binding and there are no penalties for failure. That of course does not include the UK and Scotland who recklessly passed legally-binding Climate Change Acts in 2008. China being China said it would not be reducing its emissions until after 2030.
Scientists have said that the “promises” made in Paris are less than half of what is essential to stop runaway global disasters, so where is the rest going to come from? Population control? 1995 – 5.7 billion. 2017 – 7.5 billion. 2050 – 9.7 billion and 2100 – 11.2 billion.
The key to getting the developing nations to agree to the Paris Accord was the commitment from the richest nations to contribute £78 billion EVERY year to the Green Climate Fund to help poorer countries make the costly shift to cleaner energy sources and to shore up defences against the impact of climate change. The UK promised £720 million but President Trump has withdrawn America’s £2.3bn.
Already the East European states of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are mounting a behind-the-scenes revolt against the Paris Agreement.
America is now energy independent, with its abundance of shale gas. It is now exporting coal and Europe is its best customer. Meanwhile, Europe relies on Russian gas for one third of all its supplies.
China, with 30 per cent of global emissions, is deliberately leaving its coal reserves in the ground for a rainy day and importing from America and Africa. China, India, Japan, Germany, South Korea, South Africa, Turkey, the Philippines and the EU are building 1,892 coal-fired plants adding to the existing 3,722.
The theory of global warming is now a religion with a cult following, while the renewables revolution has been an environmental disaster. EU countries are planning to significantly increase the number of trees they cut down and burn, thus reducing the forest carbon sink. They ignore the fact that new trees will take 20 years to grow before they absorb the equivalent of the CO2 released by burning.
Without American financial support the Paris agreement will collapse, since other Western countries will be unwilling to take a share of the £2.3bn that America will no longer contribute.
Clark Cross is a retired chartered accountant. He lives in Linlithgow