Paris climate change accord: Facts versus Donald Trump's fictions

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Donald Trump has pulled America out of the Paris Agreement basing his argument on questionable facts. In this article we separate truth from fiction and let you decide whether Donald Trump really is "putting America first"

  "We're getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that's fair."

Under the Paris Agreement, each country set its own commitments. Technically he can change the commitments allowed under the accord but judging from the responses he has received so far there is little good will to do so. This much has been made clear from world leaders after his announcement.

 "China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can't build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020."

Untrue. The agreement is not binding and each country can set its own targets.There is nothing in the agreement that stops the United States from building coal plants or gives permission to China or India to build coal plants. In fact, market forces, primarily reduced costs for natural gas, have forced the closure of coal plants. China announced this year that it would cancel plans to build more than 100 coal-fired plants.

FACTS

Coal use in China has declined slightly for three years.The country is also the world's biggest solar market, and renewable energy investor.

India is considering an electric-car revolution. The third biggest annual polluter is considering all new electric cars by the 2030s.

The price of renewable energy is way, way down. One analysis says solar could be cheaper than coal in a decade.

 "Compliance with the terms of the Paris accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs - not what we need."

Trump cited a slew of statistics from a study that was funded by the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Council for Capital Formation, foes of the Paris accord. So the figures must be viewed with a jaundiced eye.

FACTS:

There are more than 750,000 renewable energy jobs in the USA according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

There are economic opportunities in the transition. There are now many more US jobs in solar than coal, for instance.

Some US cities and states are abandoning their dependence on fossil fuels. Iowa produced almost 37% of its electricity from wind in 2016.

"Even if the Paris agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree - think of that, this much - Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount."

Trump is referring to research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a 2015 report. Researchers found that proposed emissions cuts in the Paris plan would result in about 0.2 degrees (Celsius) less warming by 2100, if the cuts were not extended further.  Washington Post

FACTS:

Climate change is real. The Earth has warmed about 1 degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution.

Humans are responsible. Burning fossil fuels, raising cattle and chopping down rain forests all create heat-trapping gases.

Experts agree on these points. More than 97% of climate scientists agree. It's peer-reviewed science.

Radical temperature changes across the planet; in India, 2,330 people died in a 2015 heatwave. Scientists say we probably contributed.

Coral reefs are suffering or disappearing, endangering livelihoods.
 
Air pollution contributes to 3 million deaths per year, according to the WHO. Much of that is attributable to coal-fired power plants and cars.

The US and China are the two countries who are the biggest polluters in the world. America is the biggest historical climate polluter. And currently the second-biggest per year with China. Humans pollute 1,200 tonnes of CO2 per second. That's nearly 40 billion metric tons per year, says the Global Carbon Project.

 

In other reading

The Paris Agreement: The History Read more

The New York Times As Trump exits Paris Agreement, other nations defiant

CNN 31 of the MANY critical facts Trump is ignoring in quitting the Paris Agreement

The Atlantic Is Trump's Climate-Change Agenda Politically Sustainable?

Sydney Morning Herald Paris climate change accord: Facts versus Donald Trump's fictions

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  • Peter Hunter
    commented 2017-06-04 17:49:40 +1000
    Trump was right. The cost over next 5 years $US2.5 Trillion – jobs lost over 400,000 plus more adverse results for USA. Climate Change is a joke. Only idiots who can’t think for themselves believe the spin.
  • Christine Langley
    commented 2017-06-04 15:37:55 +1000
    This really sounds like globalist BS to me! Good on you Trump stick to your guns!
  • Mark Alves
    commented 2017-06-03 22:03:38 +1000
    As soon as you said the 97 percent and a quote from the Washington post i knew the article was crap. The agreement was never given the ok from the senate as they would have thrown it out also. Good on DT for doing what he promised.