Punditry on Paris Agreement

Wow, I just watched tonight’s segment on PBS News Hour about Trump’s deliberations on the Paris Climate Agreement, featuring Michael Oppenheimer and Phil Kerpen (of the conservative group American Commitment).  I was rather surprised by the inaccuracies and distortions that came from Kerpen, ranging from his statement that the Paris Agreement “climate benefits are illusory” (of course not) to the falsity that the “agreement locks in … EPA regulations” such as the Clean Power Plan.  Kerpen seems to have missed the boat on the fact that the Paris Agreement’s emission reduction commitments are non-binding and so would not mandate any domestic EPA regulations.  Later on he also talks about how the agreement “imposes draconian cuts on the United States,” again false since the commitments are non-binding.   He really needs to get his facts and understanding of the Paris Agreement straight before he goes on a show like the PBS News Hour.   The non-binding nature of the emission reduction commitments was a central issue in the Paris negotiation, designed to help the U.S. but also strongly opposed by many other countries. Fortunately, Kerpen at least got it right that natural gas substitution for other fossil fuels has already helped drive down US emissions in recent years, meaning that some parts of the US emission reduction promises for Paris will be achieved regardless of any EPA regulations.

Whew – we can only wait with bated breath for Trump’s decision whether to pull out or stay in.

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