Friday, June 09, 2017

Paris climate agreement will follow Kyoto Protocol to the ash heap of history

If the Paris Climate Accord was such a great deal for the United States, why did President Barack Obama not submit it to the Senate for treaty ratification after signing onto it with considerable fanfare on Sept. 3?

Could it have been because Obama knew that the accord was so poorly negotiated, so costly and destructive to the U.S. economy, that he knew it stood no chance of winning the needed 67 votes, two-thirds of the Senate, for ratification?

Its dim prospects in the Senate might have been a consideration in the decision Thursday by President Trump to pull the U.S. out of the climate-change pact, which stood no better chance of Senate ratification than the predecessor Kyoto Protocol did nearly two decades ago.

The Clinton administration signed onto Kyoto in November 1998, but never submitted it to the Senate for ratification. That's probably because, 16 months earlier in July 1997, the Senate passed a pre-emptive resolution that the U.S. should not sign any agreement that didn't include binding targets for developing nations or that was thought to seriously harm the U.S. economy.

The resolution passed the Senate with unprecedented bipartisan unanimity 95-0.

Many of the same flaws and shortcomings that doomed Kyoto were just as damning of the Paris pact, which would have committed the U.S. to reducing carbon emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Trump did the right thing in making good on his campaign promise to pull the plug on it, ignoring the apocalyptic rhetoric of the radical environmental lobby and its water carriers in the media.

The Paris pact would have disproportionately burdened U.S. families and businesses relative to developing nations, such as China and India. And to what end? According to researchers at MIT, even if all the signatories met their obligations (highly unlikely), it would reduce global temperature rise by less than 0.2 of a degree Celsius.

What it would undoubtedly do, however, is saddle the U.S. economy, job creators and consumers with enormous costs. According to a study by National Economic Research Associates consulting, compliance with the Paris pact would cost the U.S. economy nearly $3 trillion over the next few decades.

It was further estimated that by 2040, it would have caused the loss of 6.5 million high-paying industrial-sector jobs.

It also would have sounded the death knell of the coal industry, with which we still generate one-third of our electricity. The Heritage Foundation estimated that it would have increased electricity costs by between 13 percent and 20 percent annually for a family of four and caused them a loss of income of $20,000 by 2035.

Trump didn't campaign on a pledge to make America poor again.

Finally, the Paris pact is not necessary to achieve reduction of carbon pollution. American innovators have developed new ways to produce energy that have significantly reduced emissions of all forms and simultaneously turned the U.S. into a leading energy producer and exporter.

Moreover, studies have repeatedly shown that the most-free countries are the wealthiest, and that wealthiest countries are the cleanest.

Unleashing the economy will better solve any environmental problems than an international agreement that shackles U.S. industries while letting huge polluters like China and India off the hook. (Under the pact, China would actually be allowed to increase its emissions until 2030.)

With its $100 billion annual U.N. Green Climate slush fund, the Paris accord was a thinly disguised international income-redistribution scheme, and like Obama's infamous Iran nuclear deal, it was not in our country's best interest.


Paris Climate Accord Pollaganda

Plastered among this week’s headlines (some even sporting the “Breaking News” banner) are the findings of a new poll on public opinion regarding Donald Trump’s decision to say au revoir to the Paris climate accord. A Washington Post headline emphatically declared, “Post-ABC poll: Nearly 6 in 10 oppose Trump scrapping Paris agreement.”

According to the survey, 59% of Americans overall disagree with Trump’s decision. In contrast, a paltry 28% support it. Unsurprisingly, the majority of that support comes from Republicans, 67% of whom condone Trump’s move. Also unsurprisingly, 82% of Democrats and 63% of Independents believe the exit was wrongheaded (if not flat out apocalyptic). However, Democrats — besides having lost the climate accord battle — don’t necessarily have a lot to celebrate in this poll, for two reasons.

First, there’s a major caveat in these numbers that reflects the Democrats' worst bane: Their failure to garner overwhelming support for their statist policy prescriptions. The fact that just 59% of Americans supposedly oppose Trump’s move actually represents a remarkable failure on the Left’s part. Why? For 30 years climate alarmists have been lecturing, pleading with and vilifying climate skeptics. And 59% support is the best they can muster?

Of course, that’s assuming the poll is even accurate (a dubious proposition), which brings us to the second point. We define Pollaganda as “polling used to manipulate public opinion and advance a particular bias,” or “instruments designed to generate a preferential outcome.” In the minds of leftists, the Post-ABC poll shows just how “out of touch” Trump is with the majority of America. But polls — particularly Leftmedia ones — prove nothing because they are manipulated from the start.

The next time the Post uses damning surveys to belittle Trump’s policy decisions, just remember this: Those same surveys unanimously, prematurely and wrongly predicted a blowout victory for Hillary Clinton. Moreover, remember that the Paris exit is good for America (and, more importantly, the Constitution) regardless of opinions so-called experts try to extract from polls.


EPA's Pruitt delays Obama-era smog rules for a year

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that it is giving states another year to meet strict rules for smog-forming ozone emissions set by the Obama administration, citing states' confusion over regulatory requirements and the need for the EPA to review the regulations.

"We are committed to working with states and local officials to effectively implement the ozone standard in a manner that is supportive of air quality improvement efforts without interfering with local decisions or impeding economic growth," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Pruitt sent letters Tuesday to each governor, informing them that the agency is extending the deadline by one year for states to determine the areas that have acute smog pollution under the 2015 rule.

"Although the new ozone standard was set on October 1, 2015, there remains a host of complex issues that could undermine associated compliance efforts by states and localities," the EPA said Tuesday. The agency is evaluating those issues, including separating U.S. pollution from that caused by other countries.

"States have made tremendous progress and significant investment cleaning up the air. We will continue to work with states to ensure they are on a path to compliance," Pruitt said.

The Obama-era ozone regulations lowered the level of ozone allowed in a particular area from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. Many areas of the country had not complied with the first 75 ppb standard before the Obama administration decided to make the standard even more strict, critics said.

Under the ozone rules, states must ascertain which areas can comply and which cannot, called areas of "nonattainment." Designating an area as being in "nonattainment" of the ozone rules come with "consequences," the EPA said, including "increased regulatory burdens, restrictions on infrastructure investment, and increased costs to businesses."

That is why EPA has decided to give states "more time to develop air quality plans and EPA is looking at providing greater flexibility to states as they develop their plans," the agency said.

Pruitt also announced that he is establishing the Ozone Cooperative Compliance Task Force to develop the "additional flexibilities for states to comply with the ozone standard," the agency said. Congress gave EPA the authority to create the task force under the recently passed fiscal 2017 spending bill.


When it comes to Trump’s critics on leaving the Paris climate accord, follow the money

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would no longer be participating in the Paris Climate Agreement. He made the announcement on June 1 in a White House ceremony, arguing the agreement put American jobs unnecessarily at risk, while harming consumers, and that some of these nations would not have to reduce any emissions, while others, the U.S., would have to reduce emissions.

However, there was no enforcement mechanism nor any measurement requirement. If a nation fails to reduce their emissions, nothing happens, and if a nation reports false numbers, nothing happens. Because the U.S. was likely the only nation to play by the rules, it would have only hurt U.S. industries unilaterally. For this reason and many more, the President had to pull out of the agreement.

Shortly after the announcement, many celebrities and CEOs took to social media to voice their disagreement with the President’s decision. Disbelief and anger would be an understatement in describing the reactions.

One celebrity business tycoon, Elon Musk, took to twitter, before the announcement, threatening to quit White House councils if the U.S. did not stay in the agreement. Musk is the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, two companies that benefit greatly from the government subsidies and contracts, that did not take to kindly to the decision. I wonder why?

Tesla makes money two ways. The first is the obvious, they sell cars. Not just any car, but electric cars. The vehicles range in price from $35,000 to over $80,000. The vehicles also come with a generous tax credit valued at up to $7,500. Tesla proudly promotes the credit on their website as an incentive. This seems like it would be enough to make a profit, but it is not, as the company still has not turned one.

Secondly, Tesla sells Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) credits in California to other carmakers in the state. How much can these credits be worth? In the third quarter of 2016 Tesla pocketed $139 million from ZEVs. Those credits pushed Tesla into profitability for the quarter, breaking a 13-quarter losing streak. So, it could be said that Tesla has a financial incentive to ensure harsh environmental regulations are pushed across the nation. It’s not hard to see why he was in favor of the agreement.

The Department of Energy expects wind energy to make up 20 percent of U.S. electricity generation by 2030, and coincidently General Electric (GE) is the largest wind-turbine maker in North America. Knowing those facts, it is no surprise GE was one of the companies pushing to stay in the agreement. GE CEO Jeff Immelt tweeted out “Disappointed with todays’ decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.” Perhaps Mr. Immelt should take a look at where his company gets its money.

Not only does GE make the wind turbines, they get subsidized heavily for it. GE has received over $1.6 billion in subsidies from local, state, and federal authorities. It’s a pretty good scam if you can get the government to pay you to make something you get to sell.

Keep in mind, this is just for GE wind energy. This does not include any other green energy subsidies, loans, or bailouts from local, state, and federal governments. When you total the entire amount up, GE has gotten a staggering $159.4 billion in government funds since 2001. That’s more than the GDP for many small nations. With that kind of money on the line, it’s easy to see why GE would want to keep that gravy train rolling.

One might ask, why would a major corporation want burdensome rules and regulations that come with the agreement? Wouldn’t the new rules and regulations hurt the bottom line of the companies. Yes and no.

Excessive regulations cost small businesses over $12,000 per year, and if you’re a business trying to start, it’ll cost over $83,000, according to a recent survey by the National Small Business Association. These costs might not seem like a lot to an Exxon or Google, but to a startup oil field company out of a garage, it’s a killer.

Corporations are not worried about larger competitors, per se, they are worried about the start-ups that can put them out of business with new technology. One way to stop this from happening is to push regulations ensuring the small businesses cannot keep up. Financial regulations introduced under Dodd-Frank had the same effect on small banks. Because of the cost of regulations, small banks could not compete, and many are struggling because of it.

Speaking of banks, many big banks were also disappointed with the President’s decision. The CEO of Goldman Sachs broke his twitter silence to state “Today’s decision is a setback for the environment and the U.S.’s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement.” This begs the question “Why do bankers care?” Who do you think is going to finance the green energy projects?

As the regulations mandate more and more “renewable” energy, the projects are likely to be financed by major banks, with a little help. If banks do not believe the project is likely to succeed, they do not finance it. However, if Uncle Sam backs the loan, because it is green, then banks will loan out any amount to anyone with a federally backed loan guarantee. The Department of Energy gives out billions every year in loan guarantees. Banks will happily make loans, for a small fee of course, as long as they are backed by the federal government. Bad loans made by banks being backed by Uncle Sam, haven’t we seen this story before?

As you continue to laugh at or take seriously the reactions to Trump’s Paris climate accord announcement, remember one thing, follow the money. That will almost always tell you why the critics are coming down the way they are.


Gore Dodges Fact-Check on His 2006 Prediction: Earth at ‘Point of No Return Within 10 Years’

When asked about his 2006 prediction that unless nations took “drastic measures” then the Earth "would reach a point of no return within 10 years," former Democratic Vice President Al Gore did not answer the question and instead said, “a lot of serious damage has been done.”

On Fox News Sunday, June 4, host Chris Wallace asked Gore,  “After your movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ came out in 2006, you made the following comments as part of your publicity for the movie. You said unless we took ‘drastic measures, the world would reach a point of no return within 10 years,’ and you called it a true planetary emergency. We’re 11 years later, weren’t you wrong?”

Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his environmental activism, said,  “Well we have seen a decline in emissions on a global basis. For the first time they’ve stabilized and started to decline. So some of the responses for the last 10 years have helped, but unfortunately and regrettably a lot of serious damage has been done.”

“Greenland, for example, has been losing one cubic kilometer of ice every single day,” he said. “I went down to Miami and saw fish from the ocean swimming in the streets on a sunny day. The same thing was true in Honolulu just two days ago, just from high tides because of the sea level rise now.”

“We are going to suffer some of these consequences,” said Gore. “But we can limit and avoid the most catastrophic, if we accelerate the pace of change that’s now beginning.”

Gore also told Wallace that the directors of his upcoming follow-up documentary, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” are adding a new segment to discuss the impact of pulling out of the Paris Climate Change agreement.

Democrat Al Gore was vice president to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. He is separated from his wife, Tipper Gore, and they have four children.



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