Posted by: ericgrimsrud | December 15, 2015

Is the Paris Accord better than nothing?

Leading American Climate scientist, James Hansen, believes the COP21 Accord just signed in Paris constitutes a “fraud” (see http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/cop21-father-of-climate-change-awareness-james-hansen-denounces-paris-agreement-as-a-fraud-a6771171.html) because this document merely provides a set of promises and no actions that might keep future global temperature increases to less than 3.6 F.  I agree that a declaration of this sort is rather meaningless. What Mother Nature does in response to the impacts of mankind cannot be legislated by any national or international committee no more than a bill passed recently in the state capitol of North Carolina will prevent sea level rise. What happens will be determined only by what we actually do in order to reduce and then stop CO2 emissions and no specific actions of that sort were set in motion in Paris.

The immediate implementation of an annually increasing substantial carbon fee (or tax) is what the world needs, but no such suggestion emerged. Until that happens, cheap fossil fuels will be readily available and used.

The Paris agreement might actually do more harm than good if it gives the general public the impression that something substantial is being done about the advance of global warming. This impression, along with the same provided in frequent TV ads by the fossil fuel companies, is nonsense. The only scorecard that matters – measurements of the background level of atmospheric CO2 – continues to show that no improvements are being made. That number still increases every year and at a greater rate.

If you can stand a more frank appraisal of where we are today in our anemic battle against global warming, I will again encourage you to sit through a 40-minute lecture by one of Great Britain’s leading climate scientists on climate change. Kevin Anderson. It can be seen at http://www.vimeo.com/62871951. There is little reason for any celebration until we learn the difference between talking and doing.


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