Thursday, January 21, 2021

Mayor Cooper endorses President Biden's decision to rejoin the Paris Agreement.


Climate Mayors Statement on President Biden’s Executive Order to Rejoin Paris Agreement 

JANUARY 20, 2021 — Today, Climate Mayors, a bipartisan network of over 470 U.S. mayors working to combat climate change through meaningful actions in their communities, issued the following statement regarding President Biden’s Executive Order to bring the United States back into the Paris Agreement: 
Since 2017, when the previous administration announced its intention to leave the Paris Agreement, Climate Mayors served as a bulwark against climate complacency. Our 474 member cities have remained committed to upholding the Paris Agreement, and have taken strong actions to reduce carbon emissions and keep the United States on a path of climate progress.
This past year, our cities were ground zero for the fourfold crisis the Biden administration intends to prioritize: the COVID-19 pandemic, a profound economic downturn, extreme climate impacts and a national reckoning with racial inequity. We are at an inflection point and, for cities, the stakes could not be higher. 
Against this urgent backdrop, Climate Mayors applaud and endorse President Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris Agreement. With the stakes so high, we are eager to collaborate with a federal administration committed to urgent, bold climate action at the national and international levels. As leaders on the ground, we keenly understand that climate action will not only protect human civilization and prevent irreparable climate disruption, but will also make American cities cleaner, healthier and more equitable.
This announcement is only the beginning; there is still a lot of work to do. It is essential that the transition to a green energy economy is front and center in any comprehensive economic stimulus package. Climate Mayors are ready to partner immediately on accelerated climate solutions here in the U.S. and abroad. The future of our economy, our public health, and our world depend on it.

Rod's Comment: Getting the US back in the Paris Agreement was to be expected.  Anything done by executive order can be undone by executive order.  Don't get too worked up over this.  The Paris Agreement is not a treaty.  We do not surrender any sovereignty with this accord.  It is simply a statement of good intentions.  An executive order can not bind the United States to a course of action.  It is symbolic.  

My view is that President Trump should have never gotten us out of it but simply should have ignored it. That is a case where he unnecessarily alienated people and tarnished the image of the US in the eyes of the world for no good reason.  If the Paris Agreement actually did anything, then I would have supported Trumps decision to get us out of it, but saw no need to take a stand on something that didn't matter anyway. 

The US leads the world in reducing greenhouse gases.  This was primarily accomplished by switching from burning coal to using natural gas made abundant by fracking. Another factor was the downturn in economic activity caused by the Covid-19 crisis.  

President Biden has pledged to ban fracking on federal lands and new regulations will probably make fracking more difficult everywhere. As the economy picks back up and the fracking ban takes hold, I expect the US will reduce greenhouse gases less under Biden than we did under Trump. At the same time we will probably lose our energy independence achieved under Trump.

As one who accepts the theory of global warming, I do think we should attempt to reduce greenhouse gases, but not at the cost of destroying the economy.  I believe the solution lies in embracing new technologies, market forces, fracking and the new generation of nuclear power plants. The environmentalist community unfortunately, opposes both fracking and nuclear power and seems to not believe in the science of economics.  

The Green New Deal would destroy our economy.  I don't think it will pass.  If we could have held the Senate, it would have been dead on arrival.  However, even with Democrats controlling both houses of Congress, I don't think it will pass.  When individual legislators look at the cost to their district or state and the economy, many will abandon it.  If is easier to say you support something when campaigning than to actually vote for it. The Congress may pass a watered down mild version and call it the Green New Deal but the radical version envisioned by some, I don't think will be passed. 

As for the nations mayors taking bold action on climate change, it is mostly posturing and smoke and mirrors.  Recently, Mayor Cooper claimed to have taken action "that moves Nashville a decade ahead in sustainability," when all he had really done was sign an ordinance passed by the Council that was a mandated update to the housing and fire code. For more on this see Mayor Cooper Celebrates Passage of Green Legislation. Hyping a routine overdue required update.  

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