January 2016

The Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) released on 29th January a statement and a technical document that leave no doubt that the Paris Agreement is a treaty according to all international criteria that requires depositing  “instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession” by the parties.  President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, and their legal allies in environmental pressure groups may quibble all they want that, although it may be considered a treaty by the United Nations and the entire international community, it’s still just a piece of paper that doesn’t rise to the level of a treaty requiring ratification by the Senate; but they cannot hide the reality that it is a treaty and according to the U. S. Constitution cannot go into force in the U. S. until it has been ratified by the U. S. Senate.

The UNFCC statement, Bringing the Paris Agreement into Force: Next Steps and National Climate Plans, confirms that the treaty will be open for signature from 22nd April 2016 to 21st April 2015.  The press release issued at the end of COP-21 in Paris on 12th December 2015 first shared the good news that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will hold a hold a “high-level signature ceremony” at UN headquarters in New York City on 22nd April, which the press release refers to as “Mother Earth Day.”

The statement also makes clear that signing the treaty does not bind national parties to it.  That only comes after “at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting for at least an estimated 55% of total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.” [all emphasis mine]  Thus President Obama may sign the treaty at the UN’s big Mother Earth Day celebration, but in order to become a party to the treaty the United States government will have to do something in addition to signing it.

The technical document, The Paris Agreement: Next Steps, makes it clear that the additional action required is ratification.

[click to continue…]

Robert M. Carter, RIP

by Myron Ebell on January 22, 2016

in Blog

bobbyCIt is with great sadness that I report the death of Robert M. Carter on 19th January in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, several days after suffering a heart attack.  He was 74. The Heartland Institute has a tribute by Joe Bast plus tributes from many friends and colleagues. It also has videos of many of Bob’s excellent talks at Heartland International Climate Conferences.  A short, more formal obituary may be found here.

Bob was a fine man, an outstanding scientist, and one of the leading climate realists in Australia and the world.  It was my good fortune to get to know Bob and his wife Anne over the last decade when he came to America to speak at Heartland’s climate conferences.  He was in good form at Heartland’s conference in Paris on 7th December. I and many, many people around the world have lost a good friend.  The Cooler Heads Coalition has lost an esteemed ally.  May he rest in peace.

Post image for Mandating 100% Renewable Energy: It’s About Jobs?

Over at Energy in Depth, Steve Everley posts a detailed rebuttal of Stanford professor Mark Jacobson’s widely-cited study, which claims that building a 100% renewable U.S. energy system will more than justify the costs. Even if we care little about the potential climate and air quality benefits, Jacobson and his allies contend, we should demand a rapid transition away from conventional (fossil and nuclear) energy, because that will create millions of jobs.

Everley summarizes the views of other researchers who argue that Jacobson underestimates the cost and feasibility of replacing fossil and nuclear energy with wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable technologies. But he also makes an original contribution to the debate.

Everley shows that according to Jacobson’s own data, transitioning to a 100% renewable energy system by 2050 would destroy more than 3.7 million permanent jobs. That exceeds by more 1.1 million the 2.6 million permanent jobs Jacobson estimates would be created.

Jacobson Job Losses 100 Percent Renewables







Source: Mark Jacobson

The proper goal of economic policy is to foster wealth creation, not job creation. Consider, for example, that replacing mechanized agriculture with subsistence agriculture would create lots of farm labor jobs, but it would also produce lots of poverty, hunger, sickness, and death.

Nonetheless, when renewable-energy advocates claim their agenda is “about jobs,” examining the net employment impacts of their schemes is fair game. See, for example, economist Gabriel Calzada’s study finding that Spain’s renewable energy subsidies destroyed about 2.2 jobs for every 1 job created.

Everley’s entire post is worth reading. Below is a summary in his own words. [click to continue…]

Post image for Paris Agreement: Recycled “Process” Socialism

At the Paris climate conference, President Obama got exactly what he wanted: the framework for a multi-decade, global campaign of political pressure directed chiefly against Republicans and their fossil-fuel industry allies.

The Paris Agreement does not directly impose “legally binding” emission-reduction and “climate finance” commitments on the United States. But both conservative gloating and green grousing about the treaty being “toothless” overlook what matters most in climate policy: politics.

Obama will use the Agreement to claim that EPA’s Clean Power Plan and other elements of his climate agenda are promises America has made to the world. The Agreement, moreover, will establish the institutional framework for a global coalition of 190+ foreign leaders, legions of UN bureaucrats, scores of green pressure groups, and hundreds of corporate rent-seekers. The coalition will demand that future Congresses and the next president enact and adopt whatever additional laws and regulations are needed to meet Obama’s emission-reduction pledge — known in bureaucratic parlance as the U.S. “Nationally Determined Contribution” (NDC).

The Agreement contemplates that Parties will submit ever-more “ambitious” NDCs every five years. So the global coalition will be poised to demand that future U.S. NDCs also be turned into laws and regulations. No chains are as binding as those we forge for ourselves!

The Paris pressure cooker is recycled process socialism. There’s an old joke that socialism (spending other people’s money) would be fun if it weren’t for all the committee meetings. Actually, socialist leaders got their jollies at such meetings, which employed a confessional exercise called criticism and self-criticism to cure “false consciousness,” inculcate doctrinal conformity, and enhance understanding of and allegiance to “the plan.”   

The parallel to the Paris regime is striking. The Agreement and accompanying “Decision of the Parties” envision endless rounds of meetings and reports. The incessant bureaucratic activity will facilitate the naming and shaming of Parties who doubt the so-called consensus of scientists, deviate from their five-year plans, or fail to demonstrate the desired climate “ambition.”  [click to continue…]