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crazyguy's avatar

Why does Biden want to rejoin the Paris Agreement?

Asked by crazyguy (1927points) 1 month ago

Even CNN admitted in a 2018 article that the Paris Agreement will not work (see https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/03/opinions/paris-agreement-wont-save-us/index.html).

As with most international agreements involving hundreds of countries, the bulk of the costs are borne by just a few countries. In the case of climate accords of Kyoto, Bali Action Plan, the Copenhagen debacle, nothing was achieved. The Paris accord “establishes common binding procedural commitments for all countries, but leaves it to each to decide its nonbinding “nationally determined contribution” (NDC).”. Read that carefully:

1. Each country decides its contribution.
2. The determined contribution is “nonbinding”.

If you are still in doubt, read this critique of China’s NDC:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09159-0

So back to my question: Why would Biden ever want to join the Paris Accord?

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25 Answers

Yellowdog's avatar

China is one of the main fiscal benefactors of the Paris Agreement—the world’s biggest polluter is regarded as a developing country, and Biden has deep ties with the Chinese government.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Even CNN admitted in a 2018 article

Since this question comes from a fanatical Trump supporter, we know you aren’t concerned about fighting climate change. You’re using an opinion piece (not an article) that says the Paris Agreement hasn’t done enough to support your belief that “we must do nothing”.

Note the word “Opinon” on the top of the page. It isn’t “CNN” making the assertion. This is basic news literacy.

An op-ed, short for “opposite the editorial page” or as a backronym the “opinions and editorials page”, is a written prose piece typically published by a newspaper or magazine which expresses the opinion of an author usually not affiliated with the publication’s editorial board. Op-eds are different from both editorials (opinion pieces submitted by editorial board members) and letters to the editor (opinion pieces submitted by readers). ”

zenvelo's avatar

Because it is a forum to work with other countries on fighting climate change.

And @Yellowdog Biden’s ties to China are nowhere near as deep and conflicted as the Trump family’s. Biden does not have a Chinese bank account for deposit of slush funds. He does not have a daughter who used her father’s position to get special trading rights.

ragingloli's avatar

Even a non-binding agreement between countries is a better motivator to do something, than having nothing. Many countries will feel bound by it, because they are answering to an electorate that has mostly accepted the importance of combating climate change.
And since you signed this agreement, even if non-binding, other countries will start to needle you periodically if you lack behind the stated goals. It creates a diplomatic pressure, light as it may be.
And in general I find the attitude to poutily not do something, because someone else is not doing as much as you, to be extraordinarily childish, especially in the face of the greatest threat facing humanity today.

LostInParadise's avatar

As the article points out, one of the reasons why the progress has been so limited is because Trump pulled out of the agreement. With Biden promising to rejoin, let’s hope that more will be accomplished.

Pandora's avatar

The US has no reason to wag its finger at other Nations when we have actually rolled back measures that protected the environment so we are on track to increase carbon emissions. Here is a different “perspective”: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40138062 on actual cost to taxpayers and to taxpayers of other nations. Technically other nation pay way more percentage wise.

As to why does Biden want to join? Maybe because he wants a planet with breathable air for his children and grandchildren and the cost of increase carbon emission will mean worst weather and more expensive cost in rebuilding states that will be harder hit by extreme weather. But of course you would have to believe in climate change being made worse by all our horrible waste to begin with.

I don’t believe any Trumper believes that man contributes to climate change and can slow down the progression by making less carbon emissions. Just like so many don’t seem to grasp the idea that wearing a mask can slow down the spread of Covid.

SEKA's avatar

Sorry, but I thought CNN had been declared an unreliable source. I see Biden trying to right all the wrongs done over the last 4 years

Pandora's avatar

@ragingloli “I agree!”

crazyguy's avatar

@Yellowdog I agree 100%. I am not aware of any direct payments by any country, but If China can hobble its main competitor with costs that it can avoid, the coast would be clear for its products to dominate even more.

crazyguy's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Thanks for pointing out my error. That explains why I agreed with CNN!

In any case, my point is well made in the op-ed. The Paris accord will never work, because the countries are too political correct to demand sacrifices from each other. Addressing ‘climate change’ in a meaningful way requires sacrifices by all.

crazyguy's avatar

@zenvelo Of course the doting father never spoke to his only surviving son about the latter’s business dealings. Of course Trump’s account, hiding in plain sight, is a slush fund. Of course, Hunter never used his “father’s position to get special trading rights”. Of course.

crazyguy's avatar

@ragingloli Since you are not mentally challenged, I am going to make the assumption that you are naive. By the way, that description applies to most native-born Americans; because the rest of the world is capable of more subterfuge than you can ever imagine. Even binding agreements are scanned for loopholes; nonbinding agreements are easy to break.

crazyguy's avatar

@LostInParadise With the US out of the agreement progress has been non-existent. For one simple reason. The US was supposed to provide all the progress.

crazyguy's avatar

@Pandora Here is the US Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Climate Accord:
https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/ndcstaging/PublishedDocuments/United%20States%20of%20America%20First/U.S.A.%20First%20NDC%20Submission.pdf

Notice the specificity of our targets. Here, for comparison is China’s:
https://www.c2es.org/site/assets/uploads/2015/07/chinas-contribution-paris-climate-agreement.pdf

Notice China’s GHG emissions will increase until 2030. Here is how China is doing relative to its own targets:
https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/china/

Notice China’s CO2 emissions are higher in 2020 versus 2015 – 13,495 MT/yr vs 12,800.

China is an expert at promises, not so good at carrying them out.

crazyguy's avatar

@SEKA CNN is an extremely unreliable source. But, as pointed out by @Call_Me_Jay, the particular story I linked is an op-ed. However, I agree with the major assertions of the story: the international agreement will never succeed, because almost every country will look to the US to do the heavy lifting.

Pandora's avatar

@crazyguy, your link in your reply doesn’t work.

crazyguy's avatar

@Pandora My apologies. Try this one: https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/NDCStaging/Pages/All.aspx

This one shows you all the NDCs. You can then select the US or any other country.

Pandora's avatar

@crazyguy I look at the US NDC and looked at the date on the report, which was dated 02/09/2016. The chart only shows projections and the actual emissions on it only goes till about 2014 or so. Its the black line on the chart. But again. This was the projection from 2016.

crazyguy's avatar

@Pandora I am not sure which document you pulled up. I am looking at:
https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/ndcstaging/PublishedDocuments/United%20States%20of%20America%20First/U.S.A.%20First%20NDC%20Submission.pdf

and see the following specific statement of intent:

“The United States intends to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28%.”

Unfortunately China’s NDC at the link I have is in Chinese. However, here is a critique of it:

https://www.wri.org/blog/2015/07/closer-look-chinas-new-climate-plan-indc

From the critique:

“However, there is also significant room for improvement, including:

Articulating the expected trajectory for all greenhouse gases from now through 2030 and the expected peaking level for CO2. While studies provide some indication of this information, further detail is important considering the significance of China’s emissions globally.
Clarifying the scope and coverage of the emissions peak target. It is not clear whether the CO2 peaking target includes emissions from land-use change and forestry, shipping fuels and non-energy related CO2 emissions, such as those from cement production. These factors are not insignificant—in 2013, China’s cement industrial processes emitted nearly a gigaton of CO2, more than Germany’s total emissions.
Discussing fairness and ambition. Countries are expected to describe how they consider their contributions to be fair and ambitious—for instance, by characterizing the INDC in terms of metrics like per capita emissions, deviation from business-as-usual and more. China’s INDC touches on this topic, but does not explain in depth. These descriptions are needed to spur action from other countries, especially other major emitters.”

It is instructive that China’s, India’s and many other countries talk about reducing “emissions intensity” which ties emissions to GDP, while the US and presumably other “developed” countries address total emissions: I guess the reason is that developed countries no longer need to grow their GDP’s!

Pandora's avatar

@crazyguy Your link isn’t working.

crazyguy's avatar

@Pandora Sorry about that – it worked for me at one time!

Do this:

Go to: https://unfccc.int/

Then hover over “Documents and Decisions”. Under that click on NDCs. Hope that works.

Pandora's avatar

I did and the document submission page was dated 03/09/2016 and its the same projection chart for 2020 and 2025. It says so on the chart page. Look at the little picture in the corner stating projections. You are looking at a chart that was made in 2016 and the projections for the levels we would be at for 2020 and 2025. The are not our actual levels. They are forecast not facts.

crazyguy's avatar

@Pandora I think I knew that. Especially for 2025. Did I say the numbers were actual?

Pandora's avatar

Then what was the whole point of the chart? To waste my time? I already said above that it was outdated and had nothing to do with our current levels. I knew I shouldn’t have ever given you a shadow of a doubt. You just come on here to troll.

crazyguy's avatar

@Pandora What my post said was:

“The United States intends to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28%.”

As far as I remember, I did not present a chart.

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