Exiting the Mad Hatter’s climate tea party
By Paul Driessen
I can guess why a raven is like a writing-desk, Alice said. “Do you mean you think you can find out the answer?” said the March Hare. “Exactly so,” said Alice. “Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on. “I do,” Alice replied. “At least I mean what I say. That's the same thing, you know.”
“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say, ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see’!” “You might just as well say,” added the Dormouse, ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!” “It IS the same thing with you,” said the Hatter.
Can you imagine stumbling upon the Mad Hatter’s tea party, watching as the discussions become increasingly absurd – and yet wanting a permanent seat at the table? Could Lewis Carroll have been having nightmares about the Paris climate treaty when he wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?
President Trump was 100% correct (not just 97%) when he showed true leadership last week – and walked America away from the madness laid out before him and us on the Paris climate table.
From suggestions that Earth’s climate was balmy and stable until the modern industrial era, to assertions that humans can prevent climate change and extreme weather events by controlling atmospheric carbon dioxide levels – to claims that withdrawing from Paris would “imperil our planet’s very survival” – the entire process has been driven by computer models and hysteria that have no basis in empirical science.
There is no convincing real-world evidence that plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide has replaced the powerful natural forces that have driven Earth’s climate from time immemorial. Moreover, even if the United States totally eliminated its fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 levels would continue to climb. China and India are building new coal-fired power plants at a feverish clip. So is Germany. And China is financing or building dozens of additional coal-burning electricity generators in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.
Plus, even if alarmists are right about CO2, and every nation met its commitments under Paris, average planetary temperatures in 2100 would be just 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.3 F) lower than if we did nothing.
But “our closest allies” wanted Trump to abide by Obama’s commitment. Some did, because they want America to shackle its economy and drive energy prices into the stratosphere the same way they have. Others dearly want to follow a real leader, and walk away from the mad Paris tea party themselves.
But even poor countries signed the Paris treaty. Yes, they did – because they are under no obligation to reduce their coal, oil or natural gas use or their CO2 emissions. And because they were promised $100 billion a year in cash, plus free state-of-the-art energy technologies, from developed nations that would have become FMCs (formerly rich countries) as they slashed their energy use and de-industrialized.
But the Paris climate treaty was voluntary; the United States wouldn’t have to do all this. Right. Just like it’s voluntary for you to pay your taxes. China, India and poor developing countries don’t have to do anything. But the USA would have been obligated to slash its oil, gas and coal use and carbon dioxide emissions. It could impose tougher restrictions, but it could not weaken them. And make no mistake: our laws, Constitution, legal system, the Treaty on Treaties and endless lawsuits by environmentalist pressure groups before friendly judges would have ensured compliance and ever more punishing restrictions.
But hundreds of companies say we should have remained in Paris. Of course they do. Follow the money.
If we are to avoid a climate cataclysm, “leading experts” say, the world must impose a $4-trillion-per-year global carbon tax, and spend $6.5 trillion a year until 2030 to switch every nation on Earth from fossil fuels to renewable energy. That’s a lot of loot for bankers, bureaucrats and crony corporatists.
But, they assure us, this transition and spending would bring unimaginable job creation and prosperity. If you believe that, you’d feel right at home in Alice’s Wonderland and Looking Glass world.
Who do you suppose would pay those princely sums? Whose jobs would be secure, and whose would be expendable: sacrificed on the altar of climate alarmism? Here’s the Planet Earth reality.
Right now, fossil fuels provide 80% of all the energy consumed in the USA – reliably and affordably, from relatively small land areas. Wind and solar account for 2% of overall energy needs, expensively and intermittently, from facilities across millions of acres. Biofuels provide 3% – mostly from corn grown on nearly 40 million acres. About 3% comes from hydroelectric, 3% from wood and trash, 9% from nuclear.
Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and other states that generate electricity with our abundant coal and natural gas pay 8 to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. California, Connecticut, New York and other states that impose wind, solar and anti-fossil fuel mandates pay 15 to 18 cents. Families in closely allied ultra-green Euro countries pay an average of 26 US cents per kWh, but 36 cents in Germany, 37 cents in Denmark.
EU manufacturers are already warning that these prices could send companies, factories, jobs and CO2 emissions to China and other non-Euro countries. EU electricity prices have skyrocketed 55% since 2005; 40% of UK households are cutting back on food and other essentials, to pay for electricity; a tenth of all EU families now live in green energy poverty. Elderly people are dying because they can’t afford heat!
The Paris treaty would have done the same to the United States, and worse.
The Heritage Foundation says Paris restrictions would cost average US families $30,000 in cumulative higher electricity prices over the next decade. How much of their rent, mortgage, medical, food, clothing, college and retirement budgets would they cut? Paris would eliminate 400,000 high-pay manufacturing, construction and other jobs – and shrink the US economy by $2.5 trillion by 2027. Other analysts put the costs of remaining in Paris much higher than this – again for no climate or environmental benefits.
Big hospitals like Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Centerin Winston-Salem, NC and Inova Fairfax Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Northern Virginia pay about $1.5 million per year at 9 cents/kWh – but $3 million annually at 18 cents … $5 million at 30 cents … and nearly $7 million at 40 cents. How many jobs and medical services would those rate hikes wipe out?
Malls, factories and entire energy-intensive industries would be eliminated. Like families and small businesses, they would also face the new reality of having pricey electricity when it happens to be available, off and on all day, all week, when the wind blows or sun shines, instead of when it’s needed. Drilling and fracking, gasoline and diesel prices, trucking and travel, would also have been hard hit.
Americans are largely prohibited from mining iron, gold, copper, rare earth and other metals in the USA. Paris treaty energy prices and disruptions would have ensured that American workers could not turn metals from anywhere into anything – not even wind turbines, solar panels or ethanol distillation plants.
Most of the “bountiful” renewable energy utopia jobs would have been transporting, installing and maintaining wind turbines and solar panels made in China. Even growing corn and converting it to ethanol would have been made cost-prohibitive. But there would have been jobs for bureaucrats who write and enforce the anti-energy rules – and process millions of new unemployment and welfare checks.
Simply put, the Paris climate treaty was a terrible deal for the United States: all pain, no gain, no jobs, no future for the vast majority of Americans – with benefits flowing only to politicians, bureaucrats and crony capitalists. President Trump refused to ignore the realities of this economic suicide pact, this attempted global government control of lives, livelihoods and living standards of people everywhere.
That is why he formally declared that the United States is withdrawing from the treaty. He could now submit it for advice, consent – and rejection – by the Senate. He could also withdraw the United States from the underlying UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or negotiate that reflects empirical science and is fair to America and its families and workers. But what is really important now is this:
We are out of Paris! President Trump is leading the world back from the climate insanity precipice.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.