His thoughts — An update on the Paris Climate Pact

Published 12:30 pm Thursday, November 17, 2022

Seven years ago, leaders of nearly 200 countries flew their jets to Paris, France to save the world from climate change. During that period, some told us that we had only twelve years to save the world from irreversible damage. So called experts, such as Al Gore and Greta Thunberg, became media stars.

Many promises and claims originated from that meeting. Every leader made a promise of what goals their nation would achieve. Each country agreed to certain goals with little or no consideration of what they had accomplished prior to that year. Some countries, such as China, were given 15 years to add to their pollution before their level of emissions would be established. During the grace period, China has been busily increasing their pollution by building coal power plants as fast as they can. In 2021 alone, China was building 176 power plants.

Half of those in China and the others were built in nations that have longer time frames to reduce pollution. Compare that to the United States that has built no new coal power plants since 2015. In my opinion, the goal is more about politics than the environment.

ANNUAL MEETING

As they hold their annual conference in Egypt this time, now seems to be a reasonable time to look at what has been accomplished or not accomplished. Each year, the countries return to the table to reevaluate their emission commitments and see if they are meeting their pledges. As in every year, few nations are making any serious attempts to improve their environment. Globally, the number of coal power stations is actually growing as new construction has more than offset the closure of old plants.

DATA MANIPULATION

There has been little explanation as to why the year 1900 was selected as the baseline year. However, often when folks cite statistics, they slant them to strengthen their case. A different starting point might have weakened their case. As an example, in the 70’s a case was being made that, because of global cooling, we might be entering a new ice age.

Assuming that we knew accurate temperatures in 1900, it is believed temperatures have risen 2 degrees in the last century. Some believe temperatures will rise another 2.6 degrees in the next century using computer modeling that may or may not be accurate.

The premises of all this is the driving force for much of the climate change initiatives that have been passed by our federal government and many states. So far, it has cost our economy over $3 trillion dollars. The result is that we have increased the use of ‘green energy’ only a minute amount.

In Virginia, under former Governor Northam, he entered Virginia under regulations named Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a compact with New England, New York, and other northern states. Under this agreement, energy rates have risen and will continue to rise. Those extra dollars that you pay every month are then channeled into projects that some think will save the planet.

They might be right. However, they may have used the wrong data in their modeling. Their actions may well destroy jobs and our way of life while China cons us and becomes the manufacturing center of everything in our lives. All of us want clean air and water, but in everything there must be a balance.

You cannot have zero pollution and still have manufacturing to provide goods. Likewise, growing food to feed people will require some mitigation for us to maintain healthy bodies. We should all work toward an environment that protects the earth but flying fuel burning jets around the world to meet to discuss the issue is not one of them.

Neither is providing water in disposable plastic bottles at rallies to protect the environment. The reality of all of this is that some only push causes that sound good with little consideration of how their actions affect the lives of others.

In Richmond every year, so called environmental groups rate legislators on how they voted on environmental related bills. Interestingly, those of us who represent rural communities are always rated below the urban and suburban legislators who believe that food miraculously appears at grocery stores. We in rural Virginia understand the balances that are necessary for life.

Frank Ruff Jr. represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is Sen.Ruff@verizon.net.