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Hamilton: The Paris Accord: Much ado about what?

Bill Hamilton.

Wondering why some people are protesting U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord, I read the Accord's English text and then double-checked the Accord's troubling financial and intellectual property provisions in French: "Accord de Paris Sur le Climat," and in German: "Paris Klimaabkommen." All versions begin with a preamble about the dangers of air-borne pollutants. So far, so good.

But then, the Accord outlines a scheme whereby each signatory (Party) gets to set its own environmental-improvement goals, decides when and how they might be met, and gets to decide if it wants to report its progress or lack of progress, or not. In other words, there is no there, there. Except (drum roll) for when it comes to who must pay for environmental clean-up costs.

Article 9 says: "Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention." Bottom line: The "developed countries," such as the United States, must transfer billions of taxpayer dollars to the "developing country Parties."

[China, India, and Russia are among the developing country Parties.]

The nations remaining in the Paris Accord and actually live up to their pledges will find themselves at a serious economic disadvantage vis-a-vis the United States which is now free to trade in world energy markets sans any Paris Accord restrictions

Given that China accounts for one-third of today's air pollution, with India and Russia close behind, one wonders if the American taxpayer would want to pay the environmental clean-up costs for China, India, and Russia or, alternatively, spend billions continuing America's already steady progress toward a cleaner environment here at home? We report. You decide.

But wait. There's more. Article 10, paragraph 6 says "at different stages of the technology cycle," (apparently, without international patent protection), the scientists of the developed nations are supposed to transfer their evolving intellectual capital to the developing nations. "Support, including financial support, shall be provided to developing country Parties for the implementation of this Article, including for strengthening cooperative action on technology development and transfer at different stages of the technology cycle, with a view to achieving a balance between support for mitigation and adaptation…"

The agreements signed by former President Obama committed the U.S. to mobilize $100 billion-per-year in climate finance by 2020 plus $100 billion-per-year until 2025. That would be on top of former President Obama's pre-existing plan to provide $100 billion-per-year in aid to developing countries for actions on climate change adaptation and mitigation. In March, 2016, the Obama Administration gave a $500 million-dollar grant to the "Green Climate Fund" as a down payment on a $3 billion-dollar commitment made during the Paris climate talks.

The nations remaining in the Paris Accord and actually live up to their pledges will find themselves at a serious economic disadvantage vis-a-vis the United States which is now free to trade in world energy markets sans any Paris Accord restrictions. States and cities within the United States, such as California, New York, and Washington that stick with the Paris Accord, will be less competitive with other U.S. states and cities.

Ironically, by selling our abundant natural gas and cleaner-burning coal to China and India, the end result could well be an even cleaner atmosphere than that envisioned by the Paris Accord. Stand by. We will see if the Law of Unintended Consequences is still in effect.

Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S. Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University. For more, see: http://www.central-view.com.