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The World Would Be Better Off if Trump Withdraws from the Paris Climate Deal

Luke Kemp's picture

Luke is a lecturer at the Australian National University (ANU) in both climate and environmental policy. He holds a PhD in political science, as well as a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies...

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  • Jun 1, 2017
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Trump and Merkel at G7 meeting in Sicily

Some argue that the U.S. leaving Paris would be beneficial to global climate policy, others believe it would be harmful. In this article, Luke Kemp, Lecturer in International Relations and Environmental Policy at Australian National University, argues the world would be better off if Trump withdraws from Paris.

In another article, Jonathan Pickering of the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra takes the opposite view. Courtesy The Conversation.

The conventional wisdom that the United States should remain under the Paris Agreement is wrong. A US withdrawal would be the best outcome for international climate action.

With Trump set to decide on the matter after this week’s G7 meeting, his aides are split on the issue. Chief strategist Steve Bannon heads the faction pushing for an exit. Secretary of State and former ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson has argued for the US to retain a “seat at the table”.

It is within the president’s power to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and perhaps even the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which has overseen global climate diplomacy for some 25 years.

In a commentary published in Nature Climate Change today, I argue that a US withdrawal would minimise risks and maximise opportunities for the climate community. Simply put: the US and the Trump administration can do more damage inside the agreement than outside it.

There are four key, interconnected risks related to US participation in the Paris Agreement: that the US will miss its emissions target; that it will cut climate finance; that it will cause a “domino” effect among other nations; and that it will impede the UN negotiations.

Money and emissions are all that matter

The first two risks are unaffected by withdrawal. The Paris Agreement doesn’t require the US to meet its current emissions reduction pledge, or to provide further climate finance to developing countries. The agreement is procedural, rather than binding; it requires a new, tougher climate pledge every five years, but actually hitting these targets isn’t mandatory.

The US will probably miss its climate target regardless. It would need more than just Obama’s Clean Power Plan to hit its goal of reducing emissions by 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2025. And now that Trump has decided to roll back those policies too, US emissions are set to increase through to 2025, rather than decrease.

The same goes for international climate funding, which will be cut under the “America First” budget plan. That includes funds previously earmarked for the Green Climate Fund, which has so far raised US$10 billion in climate aid. The US was to provide US$3 billion but has donated just US$1 billion so far. The remaining money is almost certainly not coming.

Domino effect?

The third risk is the domino effect: that US actions could inspire others to delay climate action, renege on their targets, or withdraw. But there is little evidence to suggest that the US dropping out will trigger other nations to follow suit.

The closest historical parallel is the Kyoto Protocol, which the US signed but never ratified. When President George W. Bush announced that the US would not ratify the treaty, others rallied to the protocol’s aid and pushed through the Marrakech Accords in 2001, to strengthen Kyoto’s rules.

What’s more likely to cause a domino effect is US domestic behaviour, rather than any potential withdrawal from the Paris deal. Other countries are more likely to delay or free-ride on their pledges if they see the US miss its target, revealing how weak the Paris Agreement really is.

Paris has little aside from inspiring public pressure and long-term low-carbon investment patterns. Neither pressure nor the “investment signal” is likely to work if a renegade US shows that Paris is an empty global show-and-tell regime. Investors and the public are likely to lose faith in an agreement that can visibly do nothing to constrain a climate laggard.

The fourth risk is that the US will act as a spoiler in international climate talks. This requires membership. If the US remains in the agreement it will retain a veto in the negotiations.

The negotiations are at a crucial juncture. The so-called “Paris Rulebook”, which details how exactly the agreement will be fulfilled, is being negotiated, with plans for it to be adopted in 2018.

The US could use its voice and veto to water down the rules. It might even stall and overload negotiations by demanding amendments to the Paris Agreement, as Energy Secretary Rick Perry has suggested. A US that has credibly threatened to withdraw may have even more diplomatic clout going forward.

Considered in this light, giving the former head of ExxonMobil a “seat at the table” is a terrible idea.

New opportunities

A US withdrawal, on the other hand, could create new opportunities, such as renewed European and Chinese leadership. In the wake of the 2016 US election, former French presidential nominee Nicholas Sarkozy raised the idea of applying a carbon tax of 1-3% on US imports. In a time of rising protectionist policies, particularly in the US, carbon border tariffs may become more politically palatable.

A US dropout would also be an ideal opportunity for a rising China to stamp its mark on an international issue. It would give both China and the European Union a chance to jump even further ahead of the US in the renewable energy markets of the future.

The EU previously showed leadership in the absence of the US to revive the Kyoto Protocol and forge ahead with renewable energy. This time Europe could do so with the support of another great power.

Such cooperation could take numerous forms. One simple way would be for the two to put forward a stronger joint climate pledge. This could be strengthened by uniting their respective carbon trading schemes and applying a common border carbon tariff.

Trade measures and an EU-China climate bloc will be far more effective than Paris ever could have been. Yet none of these possibilities is likely to become reality without the diplomatically drastic move of US withdrawal. On balance, it is clear that a US climate exit is preferable to remaining.

It is worth stressing here the difference between pulling out of the Paris Agreement and withdrawing from the UNFCCC. The latter is far more dramatic, and more likely to trigger a domino effect. It would also mean the US would no longer be legally bound to report on its emissions and actions to the international community. It would become a complete climate pariah.

A future president could easily rejoin Paris through an executive agreement. In contrast, re-ratifying the UNFCCC might require a vote in the US Senate, which has become more partisan and divided since the convention was first ratified in 1992. However, withdrawal from the UNFCCC would lessen the threat of US obstruction, as it would lose its veto in the wider negotiations and be even more politically ostracised.

Despite this, the same basic risk-opportunity calculus applies. The domino effect may be more likely, but overall a withdrawal is still preferable.

Participation is a red herring

Wanting the US to remain is a short-sighted, knee-jerk reaction. The international community should be much more worried about the real domestic actions of the US, rather than whether it is symbolically cooperating internationally.

The international community appears to be mortally afraid that the US will make the largely symbolic gesture of quitting Paris. Yet there was less concern when Trump rolled back domestic climate measures.

EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete recently stated that Paris allows for the continued use of fossil fuels and provides the flexibility for a “new US administration to chart its own path”.

Is this really a worthwhile message to send to the White House: that blatantly violating the purpose and spirit of the Paris Agreement is fine, as long as you are still cooperating on paper? It is disturbing that symbolism has apparently become more important than action.

Policy, not participation, needs to be the focus of criticism. Otherwise Paris will prove itself to be nothing more than a diplomatic fig leaf.

While Paris may be weak, international climate action can still be strong. The shock of Trump’s withdrawal could make international action stronger by allowing emboldened leadership to blossom elsewhere.

Editor’s Note

This article was first published by The Conversation and is republished here under a Creative Commons licence.

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jun 1, 2017

Luke, agree 100% – participation in the Paris climate accord is not only non-binding – there’s no mechanism in place to make it binding. It’s theater.

The only way for the U.S. (or any other global power) to avoid putting biodiversity and the survival of billions at risk is by example.

Rick Engebretson's picture
Rick Engebretson on Jun 1, 2017

A great example of the difference between climate science and climate politics.

A climate scientist honestly examines every technology opportunity as a potential contribution to an overall climate solution.

A climate politician examines every opportunity to stab you in the back for money and power.

The US needs to invest in our capability to put a man on the moon, feed a fast growing world, communicate globally on Twitter. If this article’s attitude is representative of the Paris agreement, no deal. Go make your windmills and raise your taxes.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Jun 2, 2017

US market is too small too keep up with global competition on advanced renewable such as PV-solar panels, wind, etc. Which became recently very visible with offshore wind.

But with US out of the Paris agreement and becoming gradually a renegade, being a US renewable firm won’t sell on the world market. So it will be wise for bigger renewable construction firms to move their headquarters, etc. out of USA.

Seems to me that Sunpower figured it already out as it expanded quietly in countries away from USA.

The new French president realized the opportunities the new US policy offers to his country and personally made an excellent short promotion video.

Gary Tulie's picture
Gary Tulie on Jun 2, 2017

I agree with Luke on some points, not others. I accept his view that US participation under the current regime may do more harm than good, however I do not think that US emissions will go up between now and 2025.

Why? For one, US electricity use has been largely flat over the last few years, and is likely if anything to reduce even with significant adoption of electric vehicles. Widespread almost universal adoption of LED lights in both residential and commercial environments is inevitable – they get cheaper and better every year, and are already by a large measure, the cheapest form of lighting to own. All major appliances are also tending to become more efficient from air conditioners to televisions.

Secondly transport – well before 2025, electric vehicles will be mainstream with some European countries looking to phase out the internal combustion engine from the new car market around this time. I believe some states like California and New York are likely to follow suit, and even if they do not, if electric cars have a 300 mile range, and cost around the same or less than other vehicles with the added bonuses of lower running costs, less maintenance, and no tail pipe emissions, why would anyone still buy one with an internal combustion engine? I expect these conditions to be realised around 2020.

Thirdly, renewable energy is now cost competitive in cost per MWh to produce, is getting cheaper by the day, and will soon be joined by cost effective energy storage. Regardless of Thump, pure economics will drive further large scale adoption of solar and wind power with some further expansion of hydro and geothermal power. In this environment, it is becoming impossible to make a financial case for a new coal fired plant, and even continuing to run existing ones will soon be very difficult if not economically impossible. All this even without a significant number of state renewable energy targets, and many large companies rapidly working towards 100% renewable energy for both financial and CSR reasons.

In short, I expect US emissions to fall steadily in spite of Trump, and consider it possible that the US targets for emission reductions signed by Obama may yet be hit in spite of political headwinds.

Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on Jun 2, 2017

I’d say it’s symbolic rather than theater, as is pulling out.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on Jun 2, 2017

Rick,

COP-21 is a non-binding, CO2 emission reduction agreement, which aims to limit the world temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level during the 1861 – 1880 period. By 2015, the increase was about 1.1 C. That leaves just 0.9 C to go. This may appear minor, but is not, as any CO2 emitted today would not have a GW impact until many years later.

Based on present CO2 emission, population growth, and economic growth trends, the 2 C increase likely would be reached by about 2045, and a 4.3 C increase likely would be reached by 2100, based on the MIT and Lomberg analyses.

Future Impact of COP-21 on World Temperature: MIT claims, with FULL implementation of the voluntary, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) agreed to during the COP-21 conference, and kept in place till 2100, COP-21 would prevent about 0.2 C of any warming that would occur by 2100, i.e., instead of 4.3 C from pre-industrial baseline, it would be 4.1 C by 2100. See Page 2 of MIT URL. Bjorn Lomberg estimates COP-21 would prevent about 0.17 C, in close agreement with the MIT estimate.

That means the agreed COP-21 emission reduction would be grossly insufficient. In fact, the COP-21 emission reduction would have to be increased by about a factor of 100 to achieve the 2 C target, according to Bjorn Lomberg. Based on outcomes of about a dozen prior COPs, the RE investments required for such a huge CO2 emission reduction likely will not take place. See Lomberg URL.

https://globalchange.mit.edu/sites/default/files/newsletters/files/2015 Energy %26 Climate Outlook.pdf
http://www.lomborg.com/press-release-research-reveals-negligible-impact-...

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on Jun 2, 2017

Bentvels,

Regarding offshore wind, Massachusetts has a new energy law requiring utilities to procure electricity generated by 1,600 MW of offshore wind turbines (name plate capacity) by June 30, 2027. The turnkey capital cost of such wind turbine plants, plus wiring to shore, plus onshore grid modifications would be at least $9 billion (not counting financing costs, return on investment, O&M, etc.), and the electricity cost would be at least 25 c/kWh (NE wholesale prices have been a steady 5 c/kWh for the past 5 years).

Construction would require huge sea-going tugs, cranes and other specialized vessels to assemble those 600-ft tall wind turbines. Europe has perfected that equipment, but the US does not even have it.

European companies, such as Vestas, Siemens and others will be making big profits.

Wall Street financiers will collect fees for managing the tax shelters for the multi-millionaire investors.

New Englanders get to pay for the outrageously high cost of electricity.

Just another way for Europe, Japan and others to hamstring the New England and US economy into a higher cost structures and make them less competitive, all under the false flag of fighting GW and saving the world. Read this article about the Rhode Island wind turbine folly.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/08/08/at-...
http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/a-very-expensive-offshore-wi...

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on Jun 2, 2017

Kgothier,

Here is a capital cost estimate, and a need for nuclear, in addition to wind, solar, etc.

Many people think we can have 90% of ALL primary energy from renewables for 10 billion people and their economies by 2050, or by 2100. Prorating the $33 billion cost of Vermont’s energy transformation* for 10 billion people would be $33 b x 10000/0.625 = $528 trillion, adjusting for per capita income would be 12,380/47,000 x 528 = $139 trillion.

* The Vermont goal is 90% of ALL primary energy from renewables by 2050, not just electrical energy.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-s-90-percent-renewab...

NOTE: The gross world product was about $78 trillion, or $78 trillion/6.3 b = $12,380/capita, in 2014. Vermont’s GDP/capita was about $47,000 in 2015.
http://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/GDP.pdf

World Spending on RE is Grossly Inadequate for COP-21 Goals: World spending on renewables was about $300 billion in 2015, of which about $100 billion by China. Some RE people, during and after COP-21, called for RE spending to be increased to $1.0 trillion/y. The numbers indicate the world is under-spending by large factors.

– $139 trillion/34 y = $4.09 trillion/y would be required until 2050; under-spending factor of 13.6
– $139 trillion/84 y = $1.65 trillion/y would be required until 2100; under-spending factor of 5.5

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/ffp-glo…

However, significant categories of costs are not included in above estimates, such as having a transformed transportation system and other infrastructures, various transformed industries, healthcare systems, defense systems, education systems, etc., all that to be transformed with renewable energy, which is generally more expensive than traditional energy sources, if storage and grid costs are added and subsidies are taken away.

Huge Nuclear Build-Outs Are Needed: Such RE build-outs will never happen, unless massive nuclear plant capacity, MW, is built, and that capacity would have to provide about 70% of all world energy (not just electrical energy) to replace fossil fuels with syn-fuels, plus generate about 70% of the world’s electricity. Modern renewables (wind, solar, hydro, etc.) would provide the other 30% of all world energy. At present modern renewables provide about 10%. See below table.

NOTE: France generates about 80% of its electricity with nuclear plants, equivalent to about 35% of its primary energy. France has the lowest electric rates in west Europe.
http://ftalphaville.ft.com/files/2013/01/Perfect-Storm-LR.pdf

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Jun 2, 2017

renewable energy is now cost competitive in cost per MWh to produce, is getting cheaper by the day, and will soon be joined by cost effective energy storage.

To be actually competitive with e.g. nuclear power over a 48-hour lull, storage needs to be ~90% efficient and cost about $8/kWh.

The cost of materials alone for a Li-ion battery is about $80/kWh.  Lead-acid is cheaper but the TCO is much higher due to short cycle life.  Not even Donald “batteries from dirt” Sadoway thinks he can get close to $8. 

Regardless of Thump, pure economics will drive further large scale adoption of solar and wind power with some further expansion of hydro and geothermal power.

Were it not for massive tax subsidies and outright mandates like renewable portfolio standards, nobody would be building solar or wind.  In a market-based system, they are their own worst enemies:  when they have power to sell they drive prices to their marginal cost (zero) where they would go broke if they did not have non-market revenues to rely on.

Geothermal is extremely limited by geology, with a total of less than 10 GW built and planned across the entire US.  Everyone loves to hate hydro; environmentalists want dams removed, not built.

In this environment, it is becoming impossible to make a financial case for a new coal fired plant, and even continuing to run existing ones will soon be very difficult if not economically impossible.

You fail to mention cheap natural gas, which is the actual reason that no new coal plants are likely to be built.  A plant costing $thousands per kW cannot compete against one which costs $600/kW and has similar or lower fuel costs.  And because cheap storage will remain as much of a mirage for the next several decades as it has for the last century and a half, the push for “renewables” means natural gas will remain essential.

Rick Engebretson's picture
Rick Engebretson on Jun 2, 2017

Willem, I don’t doubt the urgency but I dispute the mechanism.

The US also urgently needs to pass a debt ceiling not to default. Trump wants to renegotiate the terms and allow somebody, like the US Senate, other than Obama alone to set the terms. If you want us in and care so much, respect the offer with civility. Personally, Trump is far more courteous to skunks than I am.

As your plentiful data show, emissions limits alone will NEVER return CO2 to safe levels. I think 2 likely climate investments the US will make are 1) military style civilian small hardened nuclear electric generation, and 2) Mississippi River water and floodplain “infrastructure” updates. We’ll emit less and suck up more CO2.

What do you advocate to put the CO2 back in the ground as low volume Carbon?? Making good farmland now has a few adherents after 20 years.

James Hopf's picture
James Hopf on Jun 2, 2017

This article seems to be based on the premise that the US is a climate pariah (that would have a negative influence) while European nations are climate leaders that are genuinely concerned about global warming. The truth is that European nations, “leaders” like Germany in particular, are complete clowns with respect to this issue, and their actions show a LACK of genuine concern about global warming. The fact is that the US actually achieved *more* emissions reductions than most European nations.

The author states that it is emissions (reduction) that matter. Yeah, tell that to the Europeans (Germans and Japanese in particular).

Look at the records of these co-called “climate leaders” Germany has spent enormous sums of money to build renewables, but only to have them replace nuclear, as opposed to fossil fuels, the result being little emissions reductions. They even use coal and (even worse) lignite, as opposed to gas, for their remaining power generation. Japan is even worse. It has decided to replace all its nuclear with fossil fuels (coal and gas) and hasn’t done much (yet) with renewables. The result being a large increase in fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions. They have essentially given up on all their climate commitments (and/or will be seeking to re-baseline them). Another example is France, which will now be replacing nuclear with a combination of renewables and gas, the result being an *increase* in power sector CO2 emissions.

Based on their actions, it seems that emissions reductions do not matter much to them. Instead, their motivations appear to be, love of renewables (only) above all else, and hatred of nuclear power above all else. Their figure of merit is how much renewable generation you build, as opposed to how little coal or oil is used (or more generally, what overall CO2 emissions are).

These are the examples to follow? How can they lecture the United States, which actually has significantly reduced its emissions (especially in the power sector), largely due to replacing coal with gas, along with some help from renewables. As for gas, oh yeah, the Europeans are largely banning fracking. Speaking of examples to follow, I can’t help but observe that the author of this article is from Australia, which gets virtually all of its power from coal.

Germany (as well as Denmark) crow about how much renewables they use, even though they use coal for all their remaining, non-renewable generation. The overall result is a mixture of high costs and high pollution and CO2 emissions. Their CO2 emissions have not fallen much at all. Their reason for using coal, even lignite for all remaining generation? It’s slightly cheaper than gas, and they’re phasing out nuclear by govt. fiat. They’re willing to pay massive amounts for renewables, but are unwilling to pay anything at all for any other means of emissions reduction, even ones that would reduce CO2 at a far lower cost.

Nations that really care about emissions reduction would use all available means to achieve that goal, not a single, politically popular means. The way to due that is through technology-neutral, market-based mechanisms that let all means of emissions reduction compete on a fair, level playing field. More on that in a follow up post.

James Hopf's picture
James Hopf on Jun 2, 2017

As I said at the end of the last post, technology-neutral, market based policies, which allow all means of emissions reduction to compete on a level playing field, would be the policies adopted by countries that genuinely care about global warming. One may try to say that Europe is doing this, through their cap-and-trade system, but that would be a fallacy. Clear evidence of this are the low emissions credit costs in Europe, and the actions of nations like Germany, i.e., using coal and even lignite, as opposed to, say, gas, for all its remaining, non-renewable generation.

Europe’s cap-and-trade system exists in name only. What Europe really has is a renewable energy (only) support/mandate policy. All other means of emissions reduction need not apply. This completely flies in the face of the entire principle behind market-based emissions reduction policies, which is that all means of reduction get to compete, and the market chooses the most effective, lowest cost means of reduction.

How and why did this happen? One reason is that European nations weakened the cap-and-trade policy by giving away large numbers of emissions credits and exempting heavy industries (in a bid to protect jobs). But the main reason is more fundamental, and is an inherent weakness of cap-and-trade (vs. other policies like carbon taxes).

Cap-and-trade tends to be neutralized by other policies such as renewables subsidy or mandate policies, especially if the goals of the cap-and-trade policy are weak. Cap-and-trade policies essentially create a market for non-emitting energy (the idea being that various technologies would compete in that market). However, say there is also renewables mandate policy, and compliance with that mandate policy would, by itself, lead to emissions reductions that meet the cap-and-trade policy’s goal. The result would be the price of an emissions credit falling to near zero (as we see in Europe). Basically, the renewables mandate policy hands the entire emissions reduction market to renewables only. The fact that there is no remaining market, to be filled by any other means of emissions reduction, is reflected in the negligible emissions credit price.

If one were really true to the idea of letting all means of emissions reduction compete in a fair market, the result being maximum emissions reduction at minimum cost, one would deliberately not have any policies other than the market based policies (e.g., no policies that specifically support one option, such as renewables). Barring that, policies like a CO2 tax or a CO2 fee and dividend work better with other policies. Unlike cap-and-trade, a CO2 price would ensure that there is at least some incentive for all means of emissions reduction, regardless of other policies that may be in place. Under effective policies like this, you wouldn’t see nuclear plants closing, and you wouldn’t see coal or lignite being used in lieu of gas. In short, you’d actually see significant emissions reductions in places like Europe.

One would like to think that Europeans and the like (i.e., our so-called “climate leaders”) could be convinced to embrace more effective, even-handed policies like this, but I have my doubts. It seems clear that they have a specific result in mind (renewables only) and therefore they will only agree to policies that ensure that (pre-determined) result. Even if it results in far less emissions reduction along with much higher costs. I can’t shake the notion that Europe deliberately set the cap-and-trade policy’s emissions reduction goals to be roughly equal to what their renewables policies would achieve by themselves.

Contrary to the author’s view, I had hoped that the US could have a *positive* influence on climate policy, i.e., to pressure Europe and others to move towards more market-based, technology-neutral policies (that are more effective and less expensive). Now, with the US gone, climate policy will be completely in the hands of countries that (in my view) have little credibility on the climate issue, and whose policies show a lack of genuine concern.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Jun 2, 2017

Willem,
Yes, it are the effects of getting more and more behind!
Europeans also built first US offshore wind farm for a fantastic price!

All while here in NL/Germany/Denmark its widely expected that the then standard 1GW offshore wind auctions/tenders for construction in 2027 get offers from European firms to construct, operate and decommission those for guarantee prices of 3-4cnt/KWh produced during the first 15years (thereafter whole sale prices).
Bids are already near those price levels.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on Jun 3, 2017

Obama, without permission from the US Congress, committed $3 billion to an Interim Climate Fund to literally buy the votes of poor countries, so they would commit to COP-21.

Some of these countries are among the most corrupt in the world. That money will disappear in Swiss bank accounts, instead of helping them with COP-21 goals, as there is NO monitoring mechanism in place.

Obama transferred/threw away $1 billion just before Trump was sworn in.

Now that the US will be out of COP-21, the other $2 billion STAYS IN THE US.

Regarding the US Leaving COP-2, if the world is making so little progress towards RE, then the US, “doing its RE part” by staying with COP-21, would be engaging in an expensive exercise in futility.

The RE movement is primarily driven by Europe, Japan and others, because they have insufficient domestic energy resources. Europe, Japan and others want the US to stay with COP-21, because they would become less competitive versus the US, if they increased investments in RE and the US did not.

The US, with chronic budget deficits of about $500 billion/y, already has a huge trade handicap, largely due to overinvesting in defense spending to maintain its world leadership peacekeeping role, and underinvesting in the goods and service sectors. For decades, Europe, Japan and others have underinvested in defense, because of the US protection guarantee; only 5 of 28 NATO nations spend at least 2% of GDP on their own defense.

Europe, Japan and others have been shirking the world peacekeeping burden, as it would divert investments from their goods and services sectors. Instead, they invested in producing and exporting superior goods and services, which the US did not. This causes the US, hamstrung by having to adhere to World Trade Organization rules, to have chronic trade and budget deficits, each about $500 billion/y.

Europe, Japan and others want to keep the good times rolling, i.e., have the US
protect them for free, if possible, in hamstrung mode with chronic trade and budget deficits, WTO rules and COP-21 requirements.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cop-21-world-renewable-energ...

Alistair Newbould's picture
Alistair Newbould on Jun 4, 2017

Willem, I am not sure I follow your logic. How did Europe or Japan make the law for Massachusetts? If we believe the science, then not minimising global warming by reaching a low / zero carbon economy by second half of the century will cause severe and irreversible environmental changes. There are various routes proposed to do this, energy conservation, RE, CCS, Nuclear power being the main. One mechanism for driving this change is a price on carbon emissions. If we cannot add further Greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2050 (or whenever) then at that point the price on carbon will equal the cost of extraction and sequestration. Reducing emissions now will “buy” more time to get to that point, and with luck reduce the cost of sequestration. But it seems to me more than likely that the price of electricity and other emitting processes will climb rapidly from here on, so that 25 c/kwh won’t look so bad. Wholesale price in NZ is also around 5 c US / kwh, but that’s probably too low. 70% renewable generation here and a fully competitive market – apart from no realistic price on carbon – actually capped at US $17 a tonne. But you know all this! An early exposure of all emitters to an open and restricitng carbon market will surely let the market decide which route to follow.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on Jun 4, 2017

Kgothier,

The US does not need COP-21

Obama, without permission from the US Congress, committed $3 billion to a Green Climate Fund to literally buy the votes of poor countries, so they would commit to COP-21. Some of these countries are among the most corrupt in the world. That money will disappear into Swiss bank accounts, instead of being used for COP-21 goals, as there is NO monitoring mechanism in place. Obama paid $1 billion to the Fund just before Trump was sworn in. Because the US is leaving COP-21, the other $2 billion STAYS IN THE US. See URL for full transcript of COP-21 withdrawal announcement.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-paris-climate-agreement-withdrawal-ann...

NOTE: The Fund has a goal of raising $100 billion EACH YEAR by 2020. As at 17 May 2017, a total of $10.3 billion had been pledged. EU member states pledged $4.7 billion, US $3 billion, and Rest of World $2.6 billion. The Fund is intended to take in $100 BILLION per year starting in 2020. The US being about 20% of gross world product, likely would be hit up for $20 billion per year. No thank you, said Trump. He was not about to let the UN do boondoggle projects with US taxpayer money.

If the world is making so little progress towards RE, then the US, “doing its RE part” by staying with COP-21, would be engaging in an expensive exercise in futility.

The RE movement is primarily driven by Europe, Japan and others, because they have insufficient domestic energy resources. Europe, Japan and others want the US to stay with COP-21, as a big source of cash for future financing of the Green Climate Fund, and because they would become less competitive versus the US, if they increased investments in RE and the US did not.

The US, with chronic budget deficits of about $500 billion/y, already has a huge trade handicap, largely due to overinvesting in defense spending to maintain its world leadership peacekeeping role, and underinvesting in the goods and service sectors. For decades, Europe, Japan and others have underinvested in defense, because of the US protection guarantee; only 5 of 28 NATO nations spend at least 2% of GDP on their own defense.

Europe, Japan and others have been shirking the world peacekeeping burden, as it would divert investments from their goods and services sectors. Instead, they invested in producing and exporting superior goods and services, which the US did not. This causes the US, hamstrung by having to adhere to World Trade Organization rules, to have chronic trade and budget deficits, each about $500 billion/y.

Europe, Japan and others want to keep the good times rolling, i.e., have the US protect them for free, if possible, in hamstrung mode, with chronic trade and budget
deficits, WTO rules, and COP-21 requirements.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cop-21-world-renewable-energ...

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on Jun 5, 2017

Hops,

Saving the world is not symbolic, or theater, it is about the money.

Germany’s electricity sector has not reduced its CO2 for EIGHT YEARS, but German household were charged 8 x $25 billion = $200 billion to stand still.
When will these households say enough is enough?

Green Climate Fund: The Fund is administered by the UN. As of 17 May 2017, a total of $10.3 billion had been pledged to the Fund.

– EU member states pledged $4.7 billion (UK $1.2 b; France $1.0 b; Germany $1.0 b; Others $1.5 b)
– US $3.0 billion
– Rest of World $2.6 billion (Japan $1.5 b; China $0; India $0; Others $1.1 b). See table in URL.

The Fund has a goal of raising $100 billion EACH YEAR by 2020.

The US, about 20% of gross world product, likely would be hit up for $20 billion EACH YEAR.

No. Thank you, said Trump. He was not about to let the UN do boondoggle projects with US taxpayer money.

http://www.greenclimate.fund/partners/contributors/resources-mobilized

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on Jun 5, 2017

Alistair,

Please read my above comment to Rick.

Mass is a socialist state run by folks who think offshore wind is affordable. It is not.

The 25c/kWh is the now cost, but it gets escalated each year, per PPA, just as the Rhode Island PPA.

Please read the Rhode Island PPA, and my URL references.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cop-21-world-renewable-energ...

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