“The announcement of a final climate deal from Paris is no more significant to the United States than the Kyoto Protocol announcement 18 years ago,” Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe said Saturday of the United Nations deal touted by the Obama administration.
On Saturday, nearly 200 countries signed an agreement to cut CO2 emissions with the goal of keeping future global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Obama touts the agreement as “the best chance we have to save the one planet that we’ve got.”
What the president left out, however, is the U.N. deal is based on voluntary participation and is virtually unenforceable.
“In contrast to the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris deal removes all legal obligations for governments to cap or reduce CO2 emissions,” says Dr. Benny Peiser, director of the U.K-based Global Warming Policy Foundation. “This voluntary agreement also removes the mad rush into unrealistic decarbonisation policies that are both economically and politically unsustainable.”
“As seasoned observers predicted, the Paris deal is based on a voluntary basis which allows nations to set their own voluntary CO2 targets and policies without any legally binding caps or international oversight,” Peiser says.
The U.N.’s hyped conference in Paris was held so delegates could hash out a successor to the Kyoto Protocol — a legally-binding global warming treaty signed in 1997 and brought into force in 2005. Rich countries that signed the treaty are obligated to reduce CO2 emissions, but poor ones that signed on are not obligated to cut emissions.
The fact that developing countries like China and India aren’t required to cut emissions under Kyoto caused several major countries to abandon the agreement. Paris is supposed to rectify that, but instead resulted in countries simply volunteering to cut emissions with no legal mechanism to hold them accountable.