Monday, December 14, 2015

WSJ: 'Paris Climate of Conformity: It pays to be skeptical of politicians who claim to be saving the planet'

Paris Climate of Conformity

It pays to be skeptical of politicians who claim to be saving the planet.

The moment to be wariest of political enthusiasms is precisely when elite opinion is all lined up on one side. So it is with the weekend agreement out of Paris on climate policy, which President Obama declared with his familiar modesty “can be a turning point for the world” and is “the best chance we have to save the one planet that we’ve got.”
Forgive us for looking through the legacy smoke, but if climate change really does imperil the Earth, and we doubt it does, nothing coming out of a gaggle of governments and the United Nations will save it. What will help is human invention and the entrepreneurial spirit. To the extent the Paris accord increases political control over human and natural resources, it will make the world poorer and technological progress less likely.


The climate confab’s self-described political success is rooted in a conceit and a bribe. The conceit is that the terms of the agreement will have some tangible impact on global temperatures. The big breakthrough is supposed to be that for the first time developing and developed countries have committed to reducing carbon emissions. But the commitments by these nations are voluntary with no enforcement mechanism.
China (the No. 1 CO2 emitter) and India (No. 3 after the U.S.) have made commitments that they may or may not honor, depending on whether they can meet them without interfering with economic growth. If the choice is lifting millions out of poverty or reducing CO2, poverty reduction will prevail—as it should.

Opinion Journal Video

Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot on the agreement reached at the U.N. climate summit and President Obama’s political calculations. Photo credit: Gett Images.
No less than the supposedly true global-warming believers of Europe are also happy about voluntary commitments because Paris liberates them from the binding targets of the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. Germany’s high energy costs in particular have been driving companies offshore thanks to its renewable energy costs and mandates.
But no one is happier than President Obama, who would have to submit a binding treaty to the Senate for ratification. As we have learned from the Iran nuclear deal and so much else, Mr. Obama is not into winning democratic consent for his policy dreams. Mr. Obama plans to use Paris as a stick to beat Republicans even as he ducks a vote in Congress. We doubt the Paris climate deal would get 40 Senate votes once Democrats in Ohio, Colorado or North Dakota were forced to debate the costs.
Mr. Obama’s U.S. CO2-reduction targets are fanciful in any case, short of a major technological breakthrough. The President promises that the U.S. will reduce carbon emissions by 26% to 28% from 2005 levels by 2025, but the specific means he has proposed to get there would only yield about half that. And that’s assuming none of Mr. Obama’s unilateral regulatory policies are declared illegal by U.S. courts.
As for the bribe, rich countries in Paris bought the cooperation of the developing world by promising to send $100 billion a year in climate aid. So the governments of the West are now going to dun their taxpayers to transfer money to the clean and green governments run by the likes of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. We can’t wait to see New York’s Chuck Schumer make the case on the Senate floor for American aid to China so it can become more energy efficient and economically competitive.
Even if a Democratic Congress made these bribes politically possible, they would do little to ease the consequences of climate change. The world’s poor can best cope with climate harm if they are richer, which requires faster economic growth. Yet everything we know about economic development is that foreign aid retards growth when it expands the reach of Third World governments. Poor countries won’t be helped by subsidies for solar cells delivered through the World Bank.
The same lesson goes for the developed world, by the way. We still recall the George W. Bush economic adviser who told us in 2006 that subsidies for cellulosic ethanol were justified because a breakthrough was “just around the corner.” He said the problem was that Congress’s research grants were distorted by political earmarks.
Of course they were. Congress took Mr. Bush’s invitation and force-fed ethanol mandates into law despite the lack of available technology to meet them. A decade later cellulosic ethanol is still around the corner.


Which brings us to the development on the fringes of Paris that might do some good. Bill Gates is hitting up his fellow billionaires to pay for research into energy alternatives to fossil fuels. This is a tacit admission that the technology doesn’t exist to make alternatives cost-effective no matter how many subsidies governments offer. If carbon energy’s efficiency and wealth creation are going to be displaced, the world will need advances in battery storage and nuclear energy, among other things.
The grandiose claims of triumph in Paris represent the self-interest of a political elite that wants more control over the private economy in the U.S. and around the world. These are the last people who will save the planet.


  1. Brilliant analysis. Its the biggest scam in history. And G. Soros is collecting stocks in the coal industry.
    Follow the money!!

  2. If we are to believe the hype then the Paris Climate Agreement eliminates all climate change, extreme weather events, and seal level rise for now and for all time and we here in the USA do not have to pay for it because we are a poor nation with a large national debt, trade deficit, and unfunded liabilities. Apparently we can just go ahead and ignore the following holes in the AGW conjecture and Mother Nature will forgive us and honour the Paris Climate Agreement instead of the science.
    The climate change that we are experiencing is typical of the Holocene for the past 10,000 years. Models have been generates that show that climate change is caused by the sun and the oceans and hence Mankind does not have the power to change it. We are in an interglacial period and are currently warming up from the Little Ice Age much as we warmed up from the Dark Ages Cooling Period more than a thousand years ago. There is nothing unusual about it to indicate that Man might be the cause.

  3. Brilliant analysis thanks for sharing!

  4. Carbon dioxide radiation cannot raise the maximum temperature for the day. Warming is assumed to be caused by radiation from carbon dioxide supposedly slowing surface cooling and then, because of that supposed slowing, the minimum temperature for the day is supposedly warmer. But it's not: it may take a few minutes (or just a few seconds) longer in the night to get down to the minimum temperature, but that's all. The minimum temperature is determined by all the thermal energy stored in the troposphere, and over 98% of that is in nitrogen, oxygen and argon molecules.

    Radiation can only slow that component of cooling which is itself by radiation, and that is only about a third of all surface cooling. Other cooling processes may well accelerate to compensate. Furthermore, the minimum temperature for the night is determined primarily by the supporting temperature in all the air molecules colliding with surface molecules, and carbon dioxide only comprises 0.04% of those. IR-active molecules lower the temperature gradient, so that the thermal plot rotates downwards at the surface end. That is why more moist regions in my study had lower mean daily minimum and maximum temperatures than drier regions at similar latitude and altitude. So-called greenhouse gases lower the mean surface temperature, and the reasons (based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics) are here.

  5. Brilliant analysis and great read. The type of climate change that we are experiencing nowadays is typical of the Holocene for the last 10,000 years.

  6. Rapid global cooling

  7. Dangerous global cooling

  8. I would agree that radiation can only slow the component of cooling and that other cooling processes may well accelerate to compensate. Great article thanks for sharing.

  9. thanks… I’ve been bookmarking them for a while now and just decided to create a post to provide them to others…
    geology is the study of what