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Why Does Tillerson Really Want America in the Paris Agreement?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Why does Secretary of State Rex Tillerson want to keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement? Is it just to push all the remaining coal out of the U.S. power system? I hate to think ill of the man. I am a dedicated Republican and my wife and I are long-time Exxon stockholders. I have great faith in the future of oil and gas. However, I also have faith in coal. Tillerson’s voice for suppressing fossil fuels is being supported, moreover, by the other Big Oil companies—who may feel a special interest in shifting U.S. power plants from coal to what is increasingly “their” shale gas.

The world has enormous supplies of coal and it has long-term value. Much of that coal is in the United States. Even better, the citizens of many developing countries, yearning urgently for First World lifestyle benefits, also have coal. There are big deposits in China, India, South Africa, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan to name a few. Unfortunately, the world’s bankers refuse to lend money for Third World coal-powered electricity because of Green opposition.

The coal-fired plants being built today are funded by loans from China. Moreover, the Chinese just built a new super-clean coal-fired power plant. Coal need no longer be “dirty.”

Nor will coal’s CO2 emissions matter much, based on the latest research. In 2016, Switzerland’s CERN laboratory fired particle beams from their giant accelerator into a super-clean cloud chamber, revealing the Earth’s cloud chemistry for the first time.

Four formerly alarmist European research centers have taken the CERN results and created a new climate model—which doesn’t show runaway warming.

We certainly shouldn’t keep waging Barack Obama’s ill-founded “war on coal” at a time when the IPCC’s climate models have failed miserably. Far beyond even that, the latest research indicates our Modern Warming is due to the long, natural Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle, and dates  back to 1715! The CLOUD experiment revealed a dynamic relationship between the sun and the number of cosmic rays that hit the Earth’s atmosphere. Lots of cosmic ray strikes meant heavily overcast skies during the Little Ice Age—and the Earth cooled. When the sun is strong, as today, Earth is hit by fewer cosmic rays. The resulting sunny skies have warmed the Earth.

The Modern Warming won’t last forever, so instead we should be worried about adapting to the next “little ice age”—or big Ice Age—that will follow it.

My coal-policy concern is that important regions of the U.S. still heavily depend on their coal-fired electricity. Think of the Rust Belt States. Think of shutting off any new jobs resurgence in the Middle West and Pennsylvania—which voted for Donald Trump. Think also of the millions of Appalachian coal miners forced onto welfare rolls as Obama shut down their mines. The country, its people, and the world still need coal energy. 

I am even more worried about the legal trap that exists if we stay in the Paris Agreement. Whenever the Greens are blocked by public opposition, they always turn to the courts and it’s consistently worked for them. With Paris still on the books, think of the 9th Circuit Appeals Court ruling that we must slash U.S. greenhouse emissions by 26­–28 percent in the next eight years!

Forced Greenhouse reductions would stifle the economy even more harshly than Obama’s past policies—which is why he signed Paris. Better to send the Paris “Agreement” to the Senate as the treaty it clearly is—and hope it is killed entirely. Or, announce America’s resignation from the whole UN Framework Agreement on Climate Change.

Understand that a 26–28 percent slash in CO2 emissions wouldn’t make much difference to an honestly updated climate forecast based on CERN’s CLOUD study. The new climate model constructed from CLOUD by European research institutions finds most notably—brace yourself—60 years of still-cooler temperatures!

The cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation began about 2002 and will thus last another dozen years or so. Then we might get a few years of renewed moderate warming. The impact will be modest, however, because the Europeans now agree with the Russians that there will be a Solar Sunspot Minimum, probably before 2040. The Minimum will deliver 60 years colder than we’re seeing today. The sunspot minimum will be imposed over both the Pacific Oscillation and the long Dansgaard-Oeschger Cycle.

Beyond 2100, further CO2 impact will be minor. The atmospheric bands become CO2-saturated and CO2’s impact will decline logarithmically (rapidly) toward zero.  We now understand that the first CO2 impacts in the 1940s must have been the strongest. Even so, our temperatures declined sharply enough to foster predictions of another Ice Age in the 1970s.)

It’s not so much that the IPPC’s models are wrong—it’s that they are so radically overwrought. Both sides of the debate agreed on the 1 degree C, but that wasn’t enough to scare anybody. The modelers thus decided to guess that a warmer world would have a moister atmosphere. That would amplify the Greenhouse Warming impact of the CO2—and resulted in predictions of 4 or 7 or even 12 degrees C of warming! Unfortunately, their guess was wrong. The NASA satellite data don’t show any increase in atmospheric moisture over the years since 1979.

That may be why their models have predicted 2.5 times as much warming as the Earth has seen. The predictions made left-wing politicians very happy, but they weakened public faith in the modeling. Only a tiny minority of First World residents still worry “a great deal” about global warming. The Third World thinks about global warming only when somebody like Obama promises to give them money for signing useless treaties.

Unfortunately for us all, the modelers sucked us so deeply into their convenient fantasy that the elite can’t afford to let go—no matter what the new CLOUD studies tell us. Honest modelers would have revised their projections—but the modeling community is too committed. Too many countries, politicians, and governments—and too many learned journals—remain tempted by fame, power, and government grants.  

I hope Secretary Tillerson has some larger objective in supporting continued U.S. Paris membership—but so far he hasn’t revealed anything more than sitting at the table, which doesn’t make much sense since it can’t make a positive contribution to American well-being.

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