Paris agreement endangers climate

The symbol of endless labout

Symbol of arduous labour

Eternal useless labour was the lot of King Sysephus, whom the gods made to roll a boulder each day to the top of a mountain and watch as it rolled down again. This was a punishment, not a reward. It’s a Greek tale among many at the heart of Western civilisation, instructive and memorable to countless generations of people raised to be thoughtful, and a heritage to value. But the climate hoax contains eternal labour for us all and we just don’t see it.

On the face of it, the suggestion to “fight climate change” is like saying: “Hey, I bet we could remove that continent with our bulldozers!” Fighting climate change is hysterically far-fetched. But we seem to have accepted by now that we’ll pretend to do it, even though it’s impossible. Nobody even giggles any more.

Paris is no Agreement

But the Paris Agreement slaps us in the face with its impossibility and gives a clear reason to immediately reject the “climate battle”. The Global Warming Policy Foundation have published a paper by Professor David Campbell analysing the Paris agreement. His conclusion is devastating. First, he quotes Article 2(1)(a) of the Paris Agreement:

This Agreement, in enhancing the implementation of the Convention, including its objective, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by: (a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

The impressive wording gives the impression these temperature targets are being agreed on, but Professor Campbell is blunt:

This is not an agreement of the 2°C or a 1.5°C target or of any target.

That’s a substantial failure, given the avowed purpose of the conferences every year, but it’s not just this Paris conference or the agreement that has failed:

First, though the UK Government amongst others has welcomed the Paris Agreement as a ‘historic … turning point’, it must be recognised that this mere statement of aspiration is all that has been achieved after twenty five years of UN climate change negotiations. In this context of a quarter century of failure to establish a target; failure to establish an agreement for global reductions; and, far from achieving any reductions, failure to prevent the huge growth of emissions since 1990, the Paris Agreement is an overwhelmingly disappointing complete failure (if one can be disappointed by an entirely predictable, indeed predicted, outcome).

Hand grenade

Then he lobs a hand grenade:

the Paris Agreement … is actually an agreement, not to reduce emissions, but to allow their unbounded growth.

Surprised? So was I. If the climate really is in trouble through a bit of extra carbon dioxide, the Paris Agreement will make it worse, not better. When climate change zealots ignorantly applaud the Paris Agreement as “legally binding,” “a major success,” “a global action plan,” and that it “delivers real and effective climate action” (as the EU website trumpets), cheerfully agree with them, and point out that it guarantees a powerful increase to our emissions.

Let us empty the bath

Professor Campbell puts our “climate battle” into striking perspective:

The UK is responsible for circa 2% of global emissions. UK decarbonisation of 80% or even 100% cannot achieve any significant reduction of the global concentration of CO2e without complementary action by other more significant emitters, particularly China and India, and continuation with decarbonisation in the absence of such action would be irrational. It would be as if the UK was emptying a bath with a ladle whilst China was filling it with a bucket, with India standing behind with another bucket.

I like the metaphor. Just in case we’re unsure, he restates his main conclusion:

The UNFCCC is, then, based on an agreement to allow an unbounded growth of emissions and has made mitigation impossible from the beginning of international climate change policy; the Paris Agreement affirms this.

Which is devastating to Ban Ki-moon’s attempts at a statesmanlike presentation of the agreement around the world – as though it’s important.

It’s pointless – so we must do it

Closer to home, Professor James Renwick urges us to give climate policy a high priority. He has said New Zealand ought to be a fast follower on climate policy and, though this new analysis shows that the Paris Agreement makes global reductions impossible, he doesn’t let that interfere with his recommendation to reduce our emissions. He said recently in the Herald (one of the 10 points we apparently didn’t know):

9. New Zealand’s per capita emissions are well above the global average. We often hear that New Zealand’s emissions are so small that we can’t make any difference in the world. But every group of 4.5 million people in the world could say that.

Though he clearly questions that we can’t make any difference, he still can’t think of a reason to fight climate change – at least, he doesn’t say so here. It’s meant to reduce the temperature (even if it won’t work), but the UK puts out only 2% of global emissions and NZ puts out 0.2%, so why go to the trouble and expense of reducing emissions when China and India are putting out hundreds of times more carbon dioxide all by themselves? Common courtesy says he should offer us a reason. Instead, he insults us with the name “deniers” – why should we listen to him?

Anyway, even if it were wise to fight the climate, it is hilariously pointless to rein in your own puny contribution when China and India pour out vast and increasing amounts. To change the metaphor, as we dig out a spadeful of earth, the Chinese pull up with a 20-ton truck-full.

It’s impossible that our sacrifice could be noticed by the climate system. Like a bulldozer scraping a continent.

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One Thought on “Paris agreement endangers climate

  1. Andy on 06/09/2016 at 3:16 pm said:

    The reason we need to be seen to do something is known as “virtue signalling”

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