by Dr. H. Sterling Burnett
One year after the US pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, Earth is still here, and new evidence shows, alarmists’ claims to the contrary, the United States continues to lead the world in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
When President Donald Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord in June 2017, left-wing environmentalists around the globe were apoplectic. From Canada to China and throughout Europe, Asia, and Brazil, the world denounced Trump’s decision as recklessly contradicting “settled science.” Without the Paris Agreement, they argued, Earth would soon find itself cascading off the global warming cliff.
One year later, Earth is still here, and new evidence shows, alarmists’ claims to the contrary, the United States continues to lead the world in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
According to a June report by BP measuring global CO2 emissions from the use of oil, gas, and coal, the United States reduced its CO2 emissions by 41.8 million tons, marking the third consecutive year Americans’ CO2 emissions fell. From 2006 to 2016, the United States slashed its CO2 emissions by about 12 percent, BP reports.
The decade-long decline in U.S. CO2 emissions is attributable primarily to the increased consumption of natural gas relative to other forms of energy.
In the wake of America’s declining CO2 emissions, dire predictions of Armageddon are just another example of global warming alarmists’ fearmongering. Leaders of countries big and small criticized Trump for keeping his campaign promise and withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. Yet in 2017, just a year after Paris, many of these leaders presided over countries that emitted millions of tons of additional carbon dioxide emissions, illustrating clearly the hypocrisy and utter impotency of the accord.
China, for example, increased its CO2 emissions in 2017 by 119 million tons—the most in the world—despite its alleged commitment to the Paris Accord.
French President Emmanuel Macron previously castigated Trump for pulling out of the Paris Agreement, stating, “I tell you firmly tonight: we will not renegotiate a less ambitious accord. There is no way. Don’t be mistaken on climate: there is no plan B because there is no planet B.” Apparently, however, there was a plan B: a plan in which France jacked up its CO2 emissions by 5.5 million tons.
According to The Guardian, Izabella Teixeira, who led Brazil’s negotiating team in Paris, described Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement as a “heart attack.” Perhaps a heart attack is in the offing, but it won’t happen because of the United States’ CO2 emissions. On the other hand, Brazil’s record, where the largest carbon dioxide emitter on the South American continent raised its CO2 emissions by 4.7 million tons in 2017 alone and by approximately 32 percent over the past decade, would bear some responsibility for the “heart attack” Teixeira predicted.
The Canadian government might deserve the crown for being the world’s biggest CO2 charlatan. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized the Trump administration’s decision to leave the Paris Accord, saying he was “deeply disappointed” while crowing for the world to hear, “Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth.” Canada then proceeded to emit 17 million additional tons of CO2 in 2017 compared to 2016. Is the definition of “unwavering” that different north of the U.S. border?
Sadly, hypocrisy is more the rule rather than the exception in politics. All too often, “leaders” pontificate on positive reform while hesitating to take the substantial actions necessary to fix big problems. Consider immigration or the social safety net for retirees, for example. In this instance, however, the fact the Paris climate cabal leaders’ actions don’t match their words is a blessing, because the world is much better with the affordable energy generated by fossil fuels and the tremendous economic, social, and public health benefits they have delivered for more than two centuries. Cutting carbon dioxide emissions by the amount necessary under the Paris Agreement would take developed countries back to the economic standards of the nineteenth century and blunt the economic and social progress in several developing countries. Nothing could be more foolish or misguided than that.
- Guest essayist Justin Haskins and H. Sterling Burnett. Haskins is an executive editor and research fellow with The Heartland Institute.
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