It’s worse taking meaningless action than to take no action at all.
Symbolic actions make us feel like something was done as a way to get off politicians’ backs, but then as a consequence, there’s less political pressure to ACTUALLY accomplish something.
Enter: The Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The Paris Agreement was a charade, for those truly concerned about climate change. As in many other cases, international agreements provided the semblance of addressing major issues, giving national politicians something to take credit for, but made no discernible real-world difference. — John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened
I’d argue the Paris Agreement did more harm to the climate change movement than if it was never signed to begin with because then our political leaders wouldn’t have been able to come home and say, “See! We took action on climate change!”
Stripped of the ability to say this, there’d be more political pressure for them to take real domestic action to curb carbon emissions.
The [Paris] agreement simply requires signatories to set national goals, but doesn’t say what those goals should be, nor does it contain enforcement mechanisms. This is theology masquerading as policy, an increasingly common phenomenon in international affairs. — John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened
We should call, “Bull!” whenever virtually every single nation on Earth agrees to something, especially when human rights abusers like China and Russia do something “for the greater good,” because it’s a clear sign that there’s no real enforcement mechanism. China will not sacrifice a single point of productivity for climate change.
But the reason Trump pulled out of the agreement was because it was a way for Obama to legislate domestic policy unilaterally from abroad (constitutionally treaties are supposed to receive 2/3 vote from U.S. Senate). The Obama Administration set our national goals so high that there’d be no way for us to meet them without doing great damage to our economy. To highlight this point consider none of the major industrialized nations have implemented the policies they promised nor have they met their pledged emission reduction targets.
In my opinion, the Paris Agreement is one big hoax that comes at the expense of real climate change reform!
Ultimately, global warming (or less controversially we can speak in terms of “pollution”) will end the same way slavery did… innovation. Slavery ended because slave labor was more expensive and less productive than cheap labor.
Slavery ended because of the Industrial Revolution; Pollution will end because of a Green Revolution.
Politicians can put policies in place that incentivize green innovation, such as by raising gas taxes or carbon taxes and then using that money to build more public transportation and green cities. In other words, I agree with Elon Musk whose company has benefited from green subsidies, but he is against them…
Me & other private money funded Tesla for first 7 years, got IPO+ govt money for 3, now paid back. Yes, carbon tax would be a better way. — Elon Musk, tweet
Yes, I am arguing against subsidies and in favor of a tax on the end bad created. Market will then achieve best solution. — Elon Musk, tweet
Pollution has negative externalities. In a fair society, you pay for the damage you cause. Period.
Economists — both liberal and conservative — love carbon taxes. The levies, they say, would create market incentives for people to reduce their consumption of fossil fuels and, more important, encourage the development of new “clean” technology.
Makes perfect sense, but to many voters and, hence, to many politicians, carbon taxes mean something else: They require consumers to pay higher prices today in return for the promise of a more livable planet sometime in the future. — Howard Stein, Tax Policy Center
Raising carbon taxes are unpopular, even for a lot of people who claim to care about the climate, because oftentimes they feel someone over there in the distant future should have to pay for it, i.e. instead of raising taxes on their voters they sign toothless international agreements or give away “green” subsidies with a Chinese credit card to cherry-picked political-donors, but of course, not before the politician gets his ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of a “green” factory.
If you want to be able to distinguish who ACTUALLY cares about the environment and who is a fake… google if they support raising the gas tax or implementing a carbon tax? Most Republican and Democrat politicians don’t.
Politicians like to talk to the talk, agree to the agreements, but rarely do they walk the walk when their political self-interest comes in conflict with the greater good.