Kellogg column: Free market environmentalism trumps Paris accord
June 20, 2017
The mainstream media is lambasting President Trump's intent to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. They're not concerned that the agreement is aimed at globalist control and transferring wealth from American taxpayers to other countries. Don't be fooled. Intellectual honesty recognizes that every facet of our planet is always in flux. The proper reaction to inevitable climate change is adaptation. That requires preservation of our liberty, prosperity and free market environmentalism.
The Paris Accord is an international pact to adopt green energy sources to ostensibly curb greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature rise. It describes "man-induced" climate change as "urgent and potentially irreversible." The stated goal is to limit the increase in average global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius by eradicating hydrocarbon energy use. To help developing countries switch to green energy, industrialized nations must contribute a combined total of at least $100 billion a year.
Interestingly, the agreement notes that if every signatory country meets its pledge for reducing CO2, global temperature will still rise more than 2 degrees. In fact, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to rise as developing economies consume more energy. And of course, China and India are exempt from immediate reductions. Thus, future provisions will include dubious and costly schemes like seeding oceans to increase carbon absorption and utilizing sunlight reflection technology.
Language in the Paris Accord calls for the use of the "best science available," yet fails to recognize the occurrence of natural climate variation. The agreement is made more absurd by the inclusion of themes such as gender equity, biodiversity and poverty eradication. Media buzzwords, such as climate change and carbon footprint, incite guilt for adherence to U.S. constitutional law and preservation of America's founding principles. It's about supplanting individual liberty with central command and control.
The Paris Accord is a reboot of the 2005 Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. recognized as a bad deal. Countries that signed on to Kyoto failed to meet their greenhouse gas targets. Now they're moving away from clean energy sources, which have been an economic bust. Kyoto was a failure, yet global temperatures have been flat for 15 years. It's doubtful that climate alarmists will attribute that fact to the continued decline of energy use in the U.S. as a share of our economy.
On the contrary, the EPA said, "If emissions stopped increasing, atmospheric greenhouse gases would continue to increase and remain elevated for hundreds of years." The benefits of the Paris plan are vague, but the cost for Americans is clear. Taxes, mandates, subsidies and direct payments required for compliance would take a major toll on our economy. Detailed analysis by the Heritage Foundation predicts the loss of 400,000 jobs and $20,000 reduction in average household income by 2035.
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Science is further obscured by a 2014 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that admits it's not possible to predict specific consequences of climate change on particular places. We should not bind our nation to a bad deal like the Paris Accord, which is rooted in false premises and dependent on American taxpayer dollars. Instead, we should recognize that everything in the universe is in a perpetual state of change. An honest goal to apparent climate change is adaptation.
Adaptation to environmental changes requires free market environmentalism, a philosophy founded on constitutional rule of law, property rights and free markets. These principles are fundamental to economic growth and prosperity. The correlation between an increased standard of living and a commitment to environmental stewardship is irrefutable. Liberty fosters enterprise, property rights allow environmental elements to become assets, and capitalism facilitates cooperative trade that benefits our environment.
Just as free societies are preferable to socialist states, free market environmentalism is superior to green global activism. Entrepreneurs who adopt the free market environmentalism philosophy devise real solutions to environmental problems. Instead of ineffective regulation and endless financial boondoggles, the focus is on the convergence of profit and conservation. Businesses and private individuals have shown that realistic environmental goals can be achieved when there is opportunity to prosper through free market mechanisms.
President Trump is right to pull the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. There's plenty of evidence that governments and global conglomerates are poor environmental stewards. Signing up to give away our freedom and wealth to green global activists is ineffective and foolish. Ignore the media uproar. The world should adopt free market environmentalism, which entails liberty and economics. By focusing on profits instead of limits, capitalism is the tool for true environmental leadership.
James D. Kellogg is an engineering consultant and the author of "Radical Action: A Colt Kelley Thriller." Look for the novel on amazon.com and visit JamesDKellogg.com or email email@example.com.