In 1997, more than 150 countries came together in Kyoto, Japan, to negotiate a deal to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions driving global warming. Back then, the negotiations centered around developed countries, like the U.S., Japan and Australia with the intention that richer countries would lead the way and create a legally binding treaty with emissions targets and reduction timelines.
This was greeted with predictable scorn. Supporters of the Paris climate deal present a false choice. You either (a) believe in the scientific consensus about climate change (in which case, you support Paris), or (b) you are a denier. But they are missing a third option, which is that (c) this is simply a bad deal in terms of the cost-benefit analysis. Why is it a bad deal? There are no consistent standards for participation. Countries unilaterally decided what voluntary and non-binding commitment they wanted to pledge. The United States will cut emissions 26-28 percent by 2025 — a pledge that is much more rigorous than other nations. “They can do whatever they want for 13 years,” Trump said of China. “Not us.” (Note: Technically, China has obligations that must be fulfilled by 2030.)
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