The Dirty Dozen: Paris Climate Accord Won’t Change World’s Top Polluters

Environmental groups are outraged that Pres. Donald J. Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord, based on his “America First” mandate. But critics of the move may be missing the fact that the devil is in the details, and the world’s worst polluters are unlikely to change regardless of any supranational treaty.

The White House issued statements that indicate the Paris deal would “cost the U.S. economy nearly $3 trillion in reduced output, over 6 million industrial jobs, and over 3 million manufacturing jobs.”

The Obama Administration had pledged $3 billion in Paris funding and set a break-neck pace for American industry to lower greenhouse gases. But the rub is that other major industrial nations made only modest, if any, commitments to reduction.

As the National Review pointed out, “While other countries made emissions pledges that could be met without trying, Obama committed the U.S. to an aggressive climate-change agenda.” The National Review’s “The Key Charade of the Paris Agreement” goes on to charge that countries such as China and India are orchestrating a ruse.

Such allegations beg the question, which countries are the worst and rising polluters?

In 2016, China contributed 28.21 percent of global CO2 emissions. What’s particularly disconcerting about that figure is that fact the communist state produced more greenhouse gases last year than the next three top polluters combined — the United States, India and Russia. Since 2010, China has increased its global slice of the polluters pie by nearly 6 percent. What’s worse, the nation’s commitment to the Paris agreement centers on its “peak” greenhouse gasses leveling off in 2030. Even though China has the world’s largest population at nearly 1.5 billion people, it still managed to rank seventh in per capita pollution.

United States
In 2016, America ranked as the second largest greenhouse gas producer, owning 15.99 percent globally. Whether attributed to a declining manufacturing sector or the emergence of green technologies, the United States has only increased its carbon footprint by .39 since 2010. The downside to American greenhouse gas output is that the country ranks second in the world per capita.

Often cited as one of the largest polluting nations, India accounted for 6.24 percent of CO2 emission in 2016. Much like the United States, the manufacturing giant increased its carbon footprint by a meager .54 percent since 2016. What’s troubling about India, in terms of the Paris accord, is that it made a reduction commitment that it may already have exceeded. India may have actually agreed to increase greenhouse gasses despite promising to do the precise opposite.

Not known for heavy industrial output, Russia’s economy is grounded in the exporting of natural resources such as oil and coal. However, the would-be super power ranks fifth in CO2 emission and emits 4.53 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. The Russian Federation backed the Paris Climate Accord knowing full well that it has already reduced its global percentage since 2010 by nearly 1 percent. On the negative side, Russia ranks third in the world for greenhouse gas output per capita.

Unlike the Russians, Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise. In 2016, the small island nation contributed 3.67 percent globally. That number rose from 2.9 percent in 2010. Doubling down as a world polluter, Japan also ranks fourth per capita in emissions.

For all the forcefulness behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s insistence on the U.S. being a party to the Paris agreement, Germany contributed 2.23 percent globally in 2016. That figure rose from 2.1 percent since 2010, and the European Union ranks fifth per capita in greenhouse gas pollution.

South Korea
One of the rising industrial nations, South Korea has shown steady increases in greenhouse gas emissions. In 2016, it ranked seventh at 1.75 percent. That was a significant global jump from 1.6 percent in 2010, considering the size and population of the country.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has also shown steady increases in greenhouse gas emissions. In 2016, Iran contributed 1.72 percent globally. That number was up from 1.6 in 2010 and recently lifted sanctions may move Iran toward increased industrialization. However, the Muslin nation did sign on to the Paris Climate Accord.

While Canada is widely perceived as progressive and green friendly, the country falls into two very disturbing categories. It ranked as the ninth highest greenhouse gas polluter at 1.71 percent in 2016, holding steady from 2010’s 1.7 percent. Canada also tops all countries in CO2 emission per capita. In other words, Canadians are the world’s worst in terms of greenhouse gases.

Saudi Arabia
The Arab nation has shown increased emission from 1.2 percent in 2010 to 1.56 percent in 2016. The Paris accord signatory shows little indication that its greenhouse gas output will radically change.

European Union 15 & 28
Rounding out the Dirty Dozen, the EU 15-member proper and 28-country full membership rank 11-12. In 2010, the 15-member group contributed 8.7 percent globally, and the 28-member group hit 10.7 percent. Either number would rank them third as a single entity. The EU 28 also ranks fifth in terms of per capita output.

In theory, the goals of the Paris Climate Accord are well intentioned. But until countries scroll back yearly amounts of greenhouse gases on a consistent basis, such policies amount to little more than political smoke and mirrors.

~ Conservative Zone

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