All major industrialized nations are failing to meet their Paris climate agreement pledges, Nature science journal points out in a newly published article. The article underscores the hypocrisy – evident since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol 20 years ago – of foreign nations making feel-good climate pledges and then failing to follow through on them.
“Wishful thinking and bravado are eclipsing reality,” Nature reports. “Countries in the European Union are struggling to increase energy efficiency and renewable power to the levels that they claimed they would. Japan promised cuts in emissions to match those of its peers, but meeting the goals will cost more than the country is willing to pay.”
In short, Angela Merkel and other European leaders congratulated themselves on their Paris virtue-signaling and then immediately resumed their longstanding failure to live up to their collective word.
“It is easy for politicians to make promises to impatient voters and opposition parties,” Nature continues. “But it is hard to impose high costs on powerful, well-organized groups. No system for international governance can erase these basic political facts. Yet the Paris agreement has unwittingly fanned the flames by letting governments set such vague and unaccountable pledges.”
“We call on governments that want the Paris agreement to work to revisit their pledges now — well ahead of when the formal review process begins around 2020 — and to be honest about what they can and really will do,” Nature asserts.
While Europe and other nations fall woefully short of their emissions pledges, affordable natural gas has gained substantial electricity market share in the United States. With natural gas replacing coal power, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined more than any other nation in the world during the past decade. This has occurred despite other nations branding the United States a climate villain after former president George W. Bush failed to commit the United States to the Kyoto Protocol.
Moving forward, foreign politicians can make all sorts of pledges they never plan to keep. In the meantime, American politicians can and should implement policies that promote affordable, market-driven policies that allow low-emissions natural gas and zero-emissions nuclear power to maintain and gain electricity market share.