Does anybody, apart from the Prime Minister, really believe that wrecking the economy in order to combat a trace gas makes any sort of sense whatsoever. Worse than that, if are we just going through the motions to look good before the rest of the world, that isn’t working either.
First the good news if you happen to be a warmist. As of November 4, 2016, precisely 116 “parties” of 197 nations had ratified the Paris climate accord. Even better, the UNFCC website tells us that 112 of those countries submitted CO2 emissions reduction targets, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). These are generally couched in terms of percentage reductions by a pre-determined year –2030, say, against a baseline year of, say, 2005 — and the latest additions to the list mean the accord has now reached its required threshold of global support.
Ostensibly, these contributions have been crafted to help attain the goal of limiting global warming to 2C, but preferably 1.5C, above pre-industrial times. Notice the wording of the national targets. It’s bit of a giveaway. Firstly, they are ‘intended’, i.e. no guarantee they will ever be delivered. And secondly, they are ‘nationally determined’.
On what basis are they determined? This is where the rest of us get to the bad news. One would imagine, ‘climate science’ being such a settled thing, that the UNFCC, prior to the Paris meeting, would have issued some guidance as to exactly what total global CO2 reductions would be needed to meet the 2C goal. How much less CO2 must we emit? Without such guidance how do we know that our nationally determined targets are going to be effective in achieving the goals? Further, how are INDCs to be co-ordinated to maximize the chance of success?
Well, guess what! There is no such official guidance anywhere. Countries simply decided what they could afford. In other words, there is a disconnect between the goal of limiting warming to 2C and what is being promised to achieve it. I’ve written before of this but it’s worth re-visiting the subject in order to highlight the absolute vacuousness of official policy on both sides of the political divide in this country.
Imagine a NSW Premier talking to the CEO of a major construction outfit:
Premier: “We want to build a bridge across the harbour from South Head to North Head. How much will it cost?”
CEO: “How much you got?”
Premier: “We’ve budgeted for $1 billion”
CEO: “Well, give us the billion and we’ll see how far across we can get”
Premier: “Well, it’s worth a shot. When can you start?”
Sounds fanciful, right? What politician in his right mind (admittedly a dying breed) would sign up to something like that? But that’s exactly what we’re doing in relation to the vaunted Paris agreement, only the dollar costs are much bigger.