It is amazing that anyone could take this agreement seriously. It clearly demonstrates that clear thinking is a victim of zealotry. The agreement is analogous to a race between two high performance cars where the driver of one agrees to run on four cylinders. Little doubt about who wins.
China, which is building a new coal fired plant almost every week and has 300 in its pipeline, will continue its energy consumption with only a promise that it will try to stabilize emissions by 2030. That is hardly a binding agreement. The US on the other hand has committed to make even further emission reductions than those associated with CAFÉ standards, the clean coal plant rule, and the about to be issued revised ozone standard. The last two will be among the most costly environmental regulations ever issued, if they do indeed get implemented.
The President is ratcheting up his war on fossil energy even though energy is the life blood of economic growth and his own Energy Information Administration projects that in 2030 fossil energy will continue to provide 80% of our energy needs. The increase in oil and gas production that he takes credit for has been a major job creator over the past six years. His love affair with wind and solar will not compensate for the job losses from suppressing fossil energy.
The inconsistencies between the President’s rhetoric and energy and economic realities are so numerous that someone could write a book about all that he doesn’t know or doesn’t want to know.
The agreement is intended to provide an energetic foundation for next year’s COP in Paris where nations are supposed to adopt a replacement for the flawed and failed Kyoto Treaty. If that is, indeed, its major objective, it will fail to achieve it. India and other emerging economies will want a deal at least as good as China’s. That would continue their exemption under the Kyoto Treaty for more than another decade. Japan has slipped back into a serious recession and Russia has already said that it won’t be part of any successor agreement. That leaves the EU and the US. Germany has just announced that it is going to abandon its 2020 targets. The other EU nations economies are in even worse shape than Germany’s, which is barely growing, so is it likely that they will agree to additional and credible emission reductions? President Obama is trying to take us down the same failed path as the EU using EPA’s regulatory authority. If EPA is successful in implementing the EU green agenda the economic consequences will be just as disastrous and that should become ever more evident.
The more likely outcome in Paris in 2015 will be that participants claim some sort of success and then once again kick the can down the road. Aspirations will once again be the measure of success. If by some chance an agreement is reached and the President signs it, it will be DOA when it goes to the Senate for ratification because of the economic damage it will cause, especially since 2016 is an election year. Potential job losses, investment that begins to go elsewhere, and escalating electricity prices, which will hit low income and senior citizens the hardest will cause Senators who are up for election to run from it as if it was radioactive.
The President, environmental advocates, and the EU continue to push a fatally flawed policy even as the climate refuses to conform to their dire predictions. Isn’t it time to take a time out and reassess what we actually know and don’t know?
This article appeared on the National Journal’s Energy Insiders weblog at http://disqus.com/wokeefe/