Actions by countries to leverage carbon-rich energy for economic growth proves the United Nations Paris Agreement to combat global warming is really a global joke.
With great fanfare, the Paris Agreement became effective on November 4, 2016. To commemorate the deal, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe were lit green.
The agreement was reached last December with the goal of limiting a rise in global temperature to under two degrees Celsius. Countries signing the agreement promised to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but the reduction targets were not legally binding.
Without penalties, the Paris Agreement is a politician's dream since talk is cheap and actual measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are expensive.
The reality is counties are talking tough about fighting global warming while they expand the use of traditional energy sources — coal, oil, and natural gas — that can undermine their commitments and the spirit of reducing emissions.
Predictably, China is playing the global warming game to its advantage. At the latest round of United Nations talks on implementing elements of the Paris Agreement in Marrakesh, Morocco, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin challenged Donald Trump’s 2012 tweet that accused China of creating the global warming theory "to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
Liu told the media that U.S. interest in supporting United Nations global warming efforts date back to Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, not China.
Additionally, Liu emphasized China was determined to keep its commitment to the Paris Agreement even if Trump ignored the promise President Obama made to the United Nations.
China’s attempt to lead the charge against global warming is laughable and underscores the uselessness of the Paris Agreement.
While Liu talked tough in Marrakesh, China’s actions speak otherwise. China uses huge amounts of coal to power its economy, making it the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide. That trend is not changing anytime soon, as coal is responsible for almost 75 percent of China’s electricity generation.
According to the Wall Street Journal, China will increase the use of coal up to 20 percent by 2020 to keep up with expected increases in demand for power including government-backed infrastructure projects.
China is now worried its coal supply is running too low and is expanding coal mining — a sudden reversal from recent trends. That action challenges the thought that the country’s use of coal peaked in 2013, and new estimates forecast China will not reach peak coal use until 2026.
Ironically, China’s booming use of coal and carbon dioxide emissions is in line with its commitment to the Paris Agreement. While the U.S. promised to cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least 26 percent from 2005 levels, China can fire away with coal and emit as much as it wants until 2030 — the year it agreed to peak its emissions.
Presumably, President-elect Trump would call this a classic bad deal.
China is not the only country playing fast with the Paris Agreement.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada approved construction of two significant pipeline projects that can carry almost one million barrels of oil derived from Alberta’s oilsands to British Columbia for shipping export and to Wisconsin for use in the United States.
The projects were approved because current pipeline capacity for oilsands can’t keep up with demand.
Canada officially joined the Paris Agreement in October with a promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. Its energy production and infrastructure projects, however, undermine its emission target.
In addition to the new oil pipelines, Canada approved a Liquified Natural Gas export terminal that is estimated to contribute up to 87 percent of British Columbia’s 2050 emission goal.
It’s clear nations will not jeopardize economic growth despite leaders bold statements to address their global warming concerns.
The green spotlights on Paris landmarks to celebrate the United Nations agreement is about as green as the deal will get.
Dr. Tom Borelli is a contributor to Conservative Review. As a columnist he has written for Townhall.com, The Washington Times, Newsmax magazine, and also hosts radio programs on SiriusXM Patriot with his wife Deneen Borelli. Dr. Borelli has appeared on numerous television programs on Newsmax TV, Fox News, Fox Business and TheBlaze. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
This article originally appeared on ConservativeReview.com.
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