The im­por­tance and cost of the Paris cli­mate deal

The Denver Post - - PERSPECTIVE -

Re: “Trump’s cli­mate plan might not be so bad af­ter all,” Nov. 27 Per­spec­tive ar­ti­cle.

Bjorn Lom­borg opines that the Paris Agree­ment on cli­mate change is “in­ef­fec­tive,” that it may be scut­tled with­out hard con­se­quences and that we should rely on green R&D in­stead.

This is a false choice. The Paris Agree­ment is the first time that nearly 200 coun­tries have agreed to take ac­tion to limit warm­ing to 2 de­grees Cel­sius (and prefer­ably less). The agree­ment is de­void of hard and fast plans to achieve the tar­gets. These come later un­der the agree­ment. How­ever, that does not make the agree­ment any less sig­nif­i­cant, be­cause it is a first-ever, solemn con­tract among vir­tu­ally all coun­tries, de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing, to act to limit cli­mate change con­sis­tent with the sci­ence.

No doubt there is a need for more green R&D, as Lom­borg says, but now there is an in­ter­na­tion­ally adopted frame­work, con­text and mo­ti­va­tion for do­ing so. So, we need to keep and com­ply with the agree­ment and in­vest more in green R&D.

Bruce Driver, Boul­der

Bjorn Lom­borg notes that hu­man-caused cli­mate change “should not need to be re­stated in 2016,” and that the Paris ac­cords will not be an ad­e­quate re­sponse.

How­ever, I dis­agree with his as­sess­ment that im­ple­ment­ing the Paris pledges will nec­es­sar­ily be ex­pen­sive. Con­sider this three-part ap­proach: a grad­u­ally in­creas­ing car­bon fee on fos­sil fu­els, col­lected at the point of ex­trac­tion or im­port; re­fund of all fee rev­enues to U.S. house­holds via monthly per capita re­bates; and bor­der tar­iff ad­just­ments to keep U.S. busi­nesses com­pet­i­tive in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Eco­nomic anal­y­sis shows that this pol­icy cuts U.S. green­house gas emis­sions in half over 20 years (ex­ceed­ing our Paris pledge), in­creases GDP by $80 bil­lion per year, in­creases em­ploy­ment by 1 per­cent, and sig­nif­i­cantly im­proves health.

De­tails of the anal­y­sis be­hind these re­sults can be found on Cit­i­zens’ Cli­mate Lobby’s web­site at http://cit­i­zen­scli­matelobby.org/remi-re­port/.

David M. Kline, Boul­der

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