The End Is Nigh!

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

John Linder Former Congressman
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President Trump announced that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Accord on the environment. The end is nigh!

Many in corporate America urged the president to abide by a deal that the godfather of the global warming community, Jim Hansen, called a “fraud.” Indeed, after the voluntary, unenforceable agreement was reached, most environmentalists called it a waste of time and effort, but it made politicians feel good about themselves so it was agreed to.

But this is Trump acting, so it must be wrong!

Dan Rather appeared out of the mist to prove he’s learned nothing from his experience with fake news. “We haven’t had a president this psychologically troubled … since at least Richard Nixon.” Really?

The ACLU dusted off their perennial charge, “Pulling out of the Paris Agreement would be a massive step back for racial justice and an assault on communities of color across the U.S.”

Even oil companies urged the president to remain in the agreement! Really? Should we be surprised that oil companies would like to put an end to coal’s 30 percent share of the electric generation market?

The Paris Accord is an agreement to lower emissions of CO2 in hopes of slowing a warming of the planet that has been going on since the end of the last ice age 11,400 years ago. Each of the 190 nations who signed the agreement determines what they will do to reduce their emissions and by how much. They are expected to reach their “intended nationally determined contribution” (INDC) upon agreed funding which is expected to be available by 2020. The developed nations agreed to a Climate Fund of $100 billion and President Obama committed the United States to $3 billion of that.

India, while remaining proudly committed to the agreement, is not too impressed with the Climate Fund. As one of the world’s largest producers of CO2, India is expecting $2.5 trillion in financial assistance to meet its INDC. Meanwhile they continue to build coal-fired power plants.

A New York Times headline read, “Trump Hands the Chinese a Gift: The Chance for Global Leadership” That would be the same Chinese that are building one coal-fired power plant a week and only commit to getting serious about the agreement by 2030.

In response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement the governors of California, Washington and New York and the mayors of 67 cities have committed to live up to its provisions. Good for them.

I have two questions for the governors and mayors. How much of your taxpayers’ money are you committing to the Climate Fund? Would you tell us before your next election?

What is embarrassing about this entire spectacle is the vanity of the human species. We have somehow convinced ourselves that our activity on this planet over the last century has overcome the forces that have been keeping this planet for 4.5 billion years.

The temperatures and CO2 levels today are at the lower end of the last 10,000 years.

After 4.5 billion years of the planet’s survival, we are told that our activity over the last 40 years is threatening its very existence. The Paris agreement, if all nations keep their commitments, will impact our temperature levels not at all. To reduce temperatures by 0.2 degrees is not measurable. Get a grip!

On the same day The New York Times declared the end of the world they ran this story: “Astronomers said Thursday that they had felt space-time vibrations known as gravitational waves from the merger of a pair of mammoth black holes resulting in a pit of infinitely deep darkness weighing as much as 49 suns, some 3 billion light-years from here.”

That should convince us that we are a very small presence in a very large universe. We are not the universe. We have improved our lot over that of our ancestors such that even poor Americans live lives today in more personal comfort than Kings and Queens could dream of just a couple of centuries ago. And the quality of our lives has improved in direct correspondence with the increase in availability of energy.

One billion of the poorest and sickest humans on the planet live in areas without energy. Their lives are brutal and short. The kindest and most generous thing the developing nations could do is use the $100 billion Climate Fund to build coal-fired power plants for them.

It is the cheapest form of energy and the easiest to build. It would afford them access to fresh water, the lack of which is the proximate cause of many of the pathologies of the poor. It would also give them a bit of CO2 to enable them to grow a plant to eat.

It may not make us feel like we are saving the planet, but perhaps saving the life of just one person will be sufficient.

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