What follows are two new papers that once again throw the policy paths promoted by climate activists into question. Hat-tip Kenneth Richard.
Paris Agreement China pledge irresponsible
The first by Harris, 2017, calls China’s Paris pledge on climate change “inadequate and irresponsible” and “little more than business as usual“.
Today China is the largest national source of greenhouse gas pollution and thus to solve the “problem” of climate change, China is the country that needs to do the most. But the paper writes that the Paris Agreement “disregards such obligations“. The paper adds:
The inadequacy and irresponsibility of China’s Paris pledge exposes some fundamental flaws in the international climate change negotiations and agreements, demonstrating that science and environmental studies cannot be disconnected from ethics and justice.”
The Paris Agreement is not going to accomplish anything. China is on board because its leaders know they won’t be obligated to do anything differently. It generally gets a free pass. Under the bottom line, there is no agreement in place that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, it isn’t going to happen.
Climate change will be “slightly positive”
The next paper is by Tol, 2017, where he clearly reminds us that climate change is not only bad, like many “experts” like to have us believe it is. An excerpt from page 2:
Research has shown that climate change would bring both positive and negative impacts (Arent et al. 2014, Schneider et al. 2007, Smith et al. 2001, Pearce et al. 1996). Positive impacts include a reduced demand for energy for winter heating, fewer cold-related deaths, and carbon dioxide fertilization which makes crops grow faster and reduces their demand for water. Negative impacts include sea level rise, the spread of tropical diseases, and increases in storm intensity, droughts, and floods. Adding up all these impacts after having expressed them in welfare equivalents, the impact of initial climate change is probably slightly positive. This is irrelevant for policy, because initial climate change cannot be avoided. More pronounced climate change would have net negative effects, and these impacts would accelerate with further warming. Even so, the impacts would be moderate: The welfare impact of a century of climate change is comparable with the welfare impact of a year of economic growth (Tol 2015). Uncertainties are large, though, but even the most pessimistic estimates show that welfare loss due to a century of climate change is comparable to that of losing a decade of growth (Stern et al. 2006).”
Concerning the negative impacts some may not be the problem they are assumed to be (tropical diseases, storm intensity), or the problem will take decades and centuries to show up (sea level rise). The author also mquestions the merits of fighting climate change, noting that it “cannot be avoided”.
From binding agreement to “pledge and review”
Moreover, the international community appears to have given up on pursuing a binding treaty. The paper states on page 7:
There are no sanctions for missing targets – indeed Article 15 explicitly states that the ‘mechanism to […] promote compliance’ is ‘non-punitive’. Article 28 stipulates that a country may withdraw from the Paris Agreement without sanction.
In other words, after 20 years of trying and failing to negotiate a treaty with legally binding emission reduction targets, the Paris Agreement switched to pledge and review.”