One of the most accurate lines in movie history is Mel Brooks’s Gov. Wm. J. LePetomaine in Blazing Saddles, exclaiming, “We’ve got to protect our phoney-baloney jobs!” The State Department is living up to this dictum this week.
As we reported here a couple weeks ago, the Trump Administration is divided about whether to honor Trump’s campaign pledge to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. Today Bloomberg reports that the State Department has produced an “internal memo” that “boosts the case” for keeping the U.S. in the Paris accord. The memo appears to have been leaked, though the story doesn’t say so directly, and whether such a leak would help or hurt the cause of remaining in the Paris Agreement is hard to say. Of course this amounts to special pleading by State Department diplomats and their UN allies, whose Categorical Imperative is to keep meeting every year to harrumph about climate change.
The amusing part of this story is that the State Department’s case for staying in rests on the premise that the Paris Climate Agreement is such a nothingburger that it hardly matters whether we stay or go:
An internal State Department memo says the Paris climate accord imposes few obligations on the U.S., bolstering the case for Trump administration officials who want to stay in the deal. . .
While there are some binding provisions in the agreement, those “legal obligations are relatively few and are generally process-oriented,” the three-page memo obtained by Bloomberg News said.
I’ve been saying for 20 years now that the UN climate talks are best described by Winston Churchill’s great description of the disarmament talks of the 1930s—a “prolonged and solemn farce”—and that the Paris Climate Agreement is the climate diplomacy equivalent of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 that outlawed war, to which both Germany and Japan were signatories. Gee that worked well. Like the Paris Climate Agreement, the Kellogg-Briand Pact is actually still on the international law books as a valid treaty. No one has bothered to repeal or repudiate it precisely because its detachment from reality means no one need pay attention to it. Even former NASA chief climatista James Hansen calls the Paris Agreement “a fraud.”
The obvious strategy of the climatistas is to keep stringing along the diplomatic circus until that magic moment comes—presumably under a President Elizabeth Warren and a heavily Democratic Congress—when it will be possible to get the US to commit to economic suicide through a binding and enforceable agreement. But if you couldn’t get this under Barack Obama in 2009 and 2010, it is unlikely ever to succeed. But better in the name of political hygiene to dump the Paris Agreement completely.
Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute sends out this warning today:
Energy Secretary Rick Perry said yesterday that he supports staying in Paris and re-negotiating it. It’s not known whether he was briefed on the feasibility of re-opening the treaty. There is no provision for us to withdraw our Nationally Determined Contribution and then submit a less ambitious one. The EU would demand as a condition of re-opening the whole treaty that it include more mandatory requirements. The developing nations would demand better guarantees that the Green Climate Fund will be fully funded and will increase each year. It’s also not known whether Perry was briefed on President Trump’s other campaign promise to de-fund UN climate programs. Funding the UNFCCC in any amount has been illegal under PL 103-236 since 17th March 2016 when Palestine became a full member. Perhaps Perry has been converted to the cause of expensive and pointless policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and joined the climate-industrial complex—which are a powerful client class at DOE.
The one part of the agreement that might actually mean something is the promise of $100 billion per year in “climate aid” to developing nations. And guess who would be expected to pick up most of that tab? And guess what isn’t happening?
This “climate aid” provision was included as a straightforward bribe to get developing nations to sign on to the non-binding Paris Agreement. Chris Horner of CEI, who is doing yeoman’s work with his persistent FOIA requests for EPA documents, found this very revealing one from Obama’s chief climate negotiator Todd Stern:
If you can’t make out the text, it says: “Our Ugandan President of GA [UN General Assembly] in response to Markey’s question, ‘what will it take to get an agreement in Paris?’ Answer: ‘Money.’”