Norm Sauer: What $100 billion a year buys |

Norm Sauer: What $100 billion a year buys

Norm Sauer
John Hart/ | The Union

Leaders from 186 countries made an agreement at the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris in December, but it is not what President Obama wants us to believe or what others have called “monumental.”

Most Americans should be shocked to learn not only did our government pledge strong emissions cuts and ask for none in return, but it is using American tax dollars to “grease the wheels.” And, many Americans will be angered to learn the true objective of our environmental activists.

Environmentally, the U.S. was unable to get developing countries to reduce emissions. Yes, India and China made emissions pledges, but those pledges amounted to their doing business as usual. No mechanism was created for the world to act collectively to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Rather, developing countries proposed their own “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs) at their own discretion without format or baseline, which INDCs were not legally binding and without consequence for noncompliance. This means each country chose its own course having no incentive to make economic sacrifices.

… the Paris pact is no more than elitist political nonsense disguised as science in order to promote a political sinister agenda to lead us Americans down the road to serfdom.

Take China for example. It pledged CO2 emissions would peak around 2030, and offered to reduce its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP (“carbon intensity”) but Bloomberg News Energy Finance found that this commitment lagged behind where the country was already headed. Meanwhile, China newly announced it was burning 17 percent more coal — an extra Germany worth of emissions each year — but it would not revise its pledge. Nevertheless, President Obama praised China’s “consistent cooperation.”

India said nothing about its emissions path, but offered a 30-35 percent improvement in carbon intensity — a decline slower than its present trajectory. And Pakistan was nearly contemptuous submitting a single page with no commitments of any sort other than it would “reduce its emissions after reaching peak levels to the extent possible.”

Americans are being snookered. Before the Paris “agreement,” the New York Times announced “Two-Thirds of Americans Want U.S. to Join Climate Change Pact.” The poll did not explain the nature of the pact.

However, when a poll by Morning Consult first explained that we were cutting emissions drastically and paying undeveloped countries large sums of money without a promise by them to reduce emissions, only 26 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of others felt America should sign on regardless of whether developing countries were required to cut emissions.

In return for empty promises, the developed world agreed to transfer hundreds of billions of dollars to developing countries, notwithstanding the low quality and ambition of those countries. It was $100 billion a year agreed to be the floor, and no provisions provided where the money is to come from or where it is to go.

It appears the massive transfer of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars is the price paid for developing countries to simply sign the agreement so desperately desired. Neither the taxpayers of developed countries nor the need for reducing emissions of developing countries was a concern. In fact, there were never any negotiations over emissions themselves.

The upshot is that Americans will be sending tax dollars overseas and paying hugely increased energy bills while the countries pocketing the funds and doing the least will get to condemn the U.S. as the country not doing its part.

So, what’s really going on?

Go back to Feb. 10, 2015. An Investor’s Business Daily article reported a news conference in Brussels wherein Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, referring to the upcoming meeting in Paris admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

In her own words Ms. Figueres said, “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

Connecting the dots, is it any wonder according to a Pew Research poll in October 2015 only 19 percent of Americans trusted our government all or most of the time? Or, the universal pessimism expressed in the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll a year earlier wherein 76 percent of Americans had no confidence that life for their children would be better than for them.

There you have it: the Paris pact is no more than elitist political nonsense disguised as science in order to promote a political sinister agenda to lead us Americans down the road to serfdom. Can you hear the chains rattling?

Norm Sauer, who lives in Nevada City, is a member of The Union Editorial Board. His opinion is his own and does not reflect the viewpoint of The Union or its editorial board. Write to him at

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