Paris Climate Conference Is a Bad Deal for America
Paris Climate Conference Is a Bad Deal for America
Heat waves emanate from the exhaust pipe of a city transit bus as it passes an American flag hung on the L.A. County Hall of Justice in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 25, 2013. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Heat waves emanate from the exhaust pipe of a city transit bus as it passes an American flag hung on the L.A. County Hall of Justice in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 25, 2013. (David McNew/Getty Images)

A conference attendee looks at a projection of the Earth on the opening day of the COP21 U.N. conference on climate change in Le Bourget, outside Paris, France, on Nov. 30, 2015. (Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images)

A conference attendee looks at a projection of the Earth on the opening day of the COP21 U.N. conference on climate change in Le Bourget, outside Paris, France, on Nov. 30, 2015. (Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images)

The Eiffel Tower illuminated during the first day of the U.N. Climate Conference in Paris on Nov. 30, 2015. The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change takes place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. (Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images)

The Eiffel Tower illuminated during the first day of the U.N. Climate Conference in Paris on Nov. 30, 2015. The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change takes place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. (Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images)

The French national flag (L) and United Nations flag at the opening of the U.N. Climate Conference (COP21) at Le Bourget, outside Paris, France, on Nov. 30, 2015. (Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)

The French national flag (L) and United Nations flag at the opening of the U.N. Climate Conference (COP21) at Le Bourget, outside Paris, France, on Nov. 30, 2015. (Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)

Buildings stand out amid a dense smog engulfing Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, on Dec. 3, 2009. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Buildings stand out amid a dense smog engulfing Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, on Dec. 3, 2009. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A Chinese woman wears a mask as haze from smog caused by air pollution hangs over the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, on Nov. 15, 2015. As a result of industry, the use of coal, and automobile emissions, the air quality in China's capital and other major cities is often many times worse than standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO). (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

A Chinese woman wears a mask as haze from smog caused by air pollution hangs over the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, on Nov. 15, 2015. As a result of industry, the use of coal, and automobile emissions, the air quality in China's capital and other major cities is often many times worse than standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO). (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Exhaust emits from the engines of a passenger jet as it prepares for take off at Heathrow Airport in London, England, on March 30, 2006. Air travel is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Along with emissions from cars, air travel is set to become the dominant source of climate change. (Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Exhaust emits from the engines of a passenger jet as it prepares for take off at Heathrow Airport in London, England, on March 30, 2006. Air travel is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Along with emissions from cars, air travel is set to become the dominant source of climate change. (Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Exhaust plumes from cooling towers at the Jaenschwalde lignite coal-fired power station at Jaenschwalde, Germany, on March 20, 2007. Though Germany has been among Europe's biggest proponents of CO2 emissions reductions, it remains heavily dependant on coal for its energy needs. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Exhaust plumes from cooling towers at the Jaenschwalde lignite coal-fired power station at Jaenschwalde, Germany, on March 20, 2007. Though Germany has been among Europe's biggest proponents of CO2 emissions reductions, it remains heavily dependant on coal for its energy needs. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

At the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, or COP21, President Obama plans to sign another bad deal for America.

The United States will pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025. That won’t stop global warming, and will likely make its consequences worse for most Americans.

Without international action, global temperatures are on track to rise as much as 3.9 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Melting Arctic ice will raise sea levels enough to flood island nations in the Pacific and major coastal cities like Shanghai, expand deserts, and curtail global food production.

Curbing greenhouse gas emissions appears the only viable path available to mankind to limit the devastation.

Curbing greenhouse gas emissions—mostly carbon dioxide, or CO2, from electrical generation, automobiles, and other uses—appears the only viable path available to mankind to limit the devastation.

In Paris, 167 nations are tabling promises to curb emissions or at least change patterns of industrialization to reduce the increase in temperatures by perhaps 1 degree, and agree to processes to achieve additional needed gains in the future.

Sadly, however, China, which accounts for 25 percent of global CO2 emissions, is only pledging to stop increasing those by 2030. Chinese citizens appear little concerned and put little pressure on Beijing to cooperate more constructively.

Sadly, China, which accounts for 25 percent of global CO2 emissions, is only pledging to stop increasing those by 2030.

Other big polluters like India are making similarly vague commitments. Essentially they will promise to reduce the rates of growth in greenhouse gas emissions, not to cut them overall.

The argument goes per capita incomes are much lower in those nations, and they need more flexibility to pull millions out of poverty. Yet, Gambia and Ethiopia, two of the poorest nations on the planet, are pledging to reduce its emissions absolutely.

Prior to the Obama administration’s big push to raise automobile mileage standards and reduce electric utility and manufacturing emissions, the U.S. accomplished a 9 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from 2005 to 2011, thanks to consumer demand for fuel efficient vehicles and market pressures on industry to keep energy costs down.

Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies are forcing accelerated reductions on U.S. industries to meet harsher COP21 targets. That makes energy more expensive and encourages manufacturers to relocate to China where environmental enforcement is lax.

Shifting manufacturing to China increases global CO2 emissions, because it uses fossil fuels so inefficiently.

Scientists at Harvard, the University of California and the University of Maryland have demonstrated that shifting manufacturing to China increases global CO2 emissions, because it uses fossil fuels so inefficiently.

Advocates of the COP21 process overlook those market responses when promising a 1 percent reduction in global temperatures by handcuffing industry in advanced economies. Enough reductions in greenhouse gas emissions simply cannot be realized without compelling China and other dirty economies to finally clean up and make the same sacrifices as the rest of humanity.

Enough reductions in greenhouse gas emissions simply cannot be realized without compelling China and other dirty economies to finally clean up and make the same sacrifices as the rest of humanity.

Since the beginning of this century, U.S. growth has slowed to 1.8 percent a year from 3.4 percent the prior two decades thanks to trade, currency, and environmental policies that unfairly advantage Chinese and other Asian economies that will spew ever more pollution into the global commons. The COP21 process will make this situation worse.

Millions of Americans are without decent jobs, and governments at all levels are strapped for adequate tax revenue to provide vital public services and honor commitments to the elderly through social security and other public pensions.

Rising temperatures will confront federal and state agencies with unparalleled challenges as droughts dislocate cattle ranchers in the Southwest, insects threaten forests, arable regions shift north, coastal cities become uninhabitable and new diseases attack humans, plants, and animals.

Moving populations and economic activities will cost trillions of dollars, and an economy impoverished by mindless micromanagement from Washington to meet COP21 commitments simply won’t be able to generate the tax dollars to foot the bill.

Americans may be forced to abandon farms and cities and increasingly fend for themselves, as Washington will not be able to sustain the essential elements of civilization.

Peter Morici, professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Previously he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. Follow him on Twitter @pmorici1.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Epoch Times.

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