Friday, June 2, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: The President Keeps A Promise

President Trump, after promising throughout his 2016
campaign that he would withdraw the U.S. from the so-called
Paris Accords, did just that.

Elections matter.

What are the Paris Accords? They are a non-enforceable and
essentially symbolic pact in which nations self-determine
their own level of environmental emissions. It is a “feel-good”
agreement in which primarily smaller nations declare their
commitment to protecting the global environment at little or
no cost to themselves while larger industrial nations are
expected to diminish their industrial capacity (and thus lose
many jobs and lower living standards for their own citizens)
in order to fulfill emissions standards which are temporarily
popular and fashionable in the scientific community, but which
remain controversial.

The Paris Accords, under the guise of being a non-partisan
environmental agreement, are, in reality, very political.

In the international media and the establishment U.S. media,
the Paris Accords pit those who want to “protect” the
environment and the planet against those who do not. This
was always a false division because a person can agree with
climate environmentalists and still oppose joining the Paris

There are those in the world who are indifferent to
environment concerns. These are persons and institutions who
opposed removing lead from gasoline, controlling tobacco
smoking, protecting workers in the workplace, and promoting
clean air and water. Most Americans do not agree with this
indifference to environmental concerns.

But to equate those who oppose the so-called Paris Accords
with these “anti-environmentalists” is not only ludicrous, but
factually wrong. The claim that scientists are almost
unanimously agreed about climate science today is also wrong.
(The first error is the assumption that all scientists are experts
in climatology. That error is the equivalent of saying that a
medical researcher is also competent to pass expert judgment
on latest theories in sub-atomic particles or astrophysics.)

Is there climate change taking place? Of course there is.
Climate change is as old as the planet. It is always occurring,
and global warming and cooling are constant features of the
ecology  of the earth. Does human activity affect the
environment? Of course it does. There were measurable and
non-controversial results of removing lead from gasoline,
restricting public tobacco smoking, protecting workers from
toxic exposure in factories, and reducing industrial air pollution.

The last I observed, the United States is among those nations
which has made the most improvements in protecting its
environment. Although “smog” still exists in Los Angeles,
air pollution is much more prevalent, for example, in the cities
of China  and Brazil.

The real question in this matter is whether or not dismantling
long-term industrial capacity of the developed nations will
vitally and critically “save” the world from environmental
climate change conditions. That is a legitimate question. There
are reasonable arguments on both sides.

But it is not the question at stake in the issue of the Paris
Accords. I repeat, those “Accords” are a voluntary, self-defining
and symbolic agreement based on controversial assumptions,
and which would provoke very negative and immediate impact
on millions of workers in the developed industrial world.

That does not say that further research and accurate data cannot
lead to global agreements on the environment that most can
support --- and all would benefit from.

President Trump has stated that his administration is willing to
renegotiate this and other global environmental agreements. The
initial reaction from primarily European leaders is that they will
NOT negotiate.  Who then is the real obstacle to international
cooperation in this matter?

Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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