Au contraire mon Cher

July 5, 2017


Something happened recently. I couldn't tell if I was living in reality or a Hollywood movie like “Armageddon” or “The Day After Tomorrow.” (By the way, isn't that just two days from now?)


   The air was full of screams and the panic of impending doom. By “air,” I mean social media and the voices of celebrities, usually voices of humility and reason. But the problem was, there were no special effects generated by giant asteroid with Matt Damon on it. There was no 500-foot tsunami approaching President Morgan Freeman's coast. And there was no arctic freeze sweeping over the United States of Jake Gyllenhall.


  There was, however, a statement from Mark Ruffalo: “If this is true he will have the death of whole nations on his hands. People will be looking to the USA for retribution for what they loose.” Great. Another excuse for terrorism that people can use.


  I can see it now. “Earth First!” Boom! I’m sure the suicide bombers of the future will use green explosives. I heard those plastic explosives are bad for the environment.  Even U.S. Sen. Kamila Harris said it would be “catastrophic for our planet.” I guess when she's not interrupting a witness’ testimony, she's busy tweeting hyperbole.


   I'm referring to President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Now, before you go all Hulk on me like Mark Ruffalo does in “Avengers,” I'm not here to say climate change doesn't exist or that humans are beyond reproach. But it's a magical leap in logic to go from acknowledging climate change to agreeing to what politicians and the elite tell us to do, or else it's the end of the planet.  Planet Earth, that is. Not John Grey’s planet of gender contrasts.


   But the truth is, even assuming that local governments and private entities don't make up the difference, America’s exit from the Paris Agreement will have little effect on the planet, the total global carbon dioxide emissions or the projected temperature increase by 2100. And guess what? Many local entities are already making up the difference and are already halfway there, according to Michael Bloomberg.


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  That's assuming the models are correct. And all this is assuming that countries uphold their promises a hundred percent. Remember that the Paris Agreement is voluntary and there are no punishments for non-compliance with the self-set standards— other than angry tweets with emoji from Cher.


   That's already a lot of caveats. Remember that this interim agreement only remains in effect until 2030. Sure, some, like the Greenpeace, argue that the US pullout sets a precedent with a wrong message. I would call that response reasonable. So there you go, a good starting point for honest discussion. Unfortunately, it's the exception.


   One of the common arguments is, “weather isn’t the same as climate.” That goes both ways. One of the most damaging things done regarding the climate debate (and there is much to debate about) was Al Gore’s documentary film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” utilizing the still fresh emotional imagery of Hurricane Katrina as it approached New Orleans. Really? It kind of goes against the principle of following science and not emotions when you present an image of a specific weather event that is natural to that region in an attempt to tie it to anthropomorphic climate change.


   When you live in a 10,000-sq. ft. home and fly on private jets, it undermines your own message of reducing emissions. Al Gore claims to be “carbon neutral” though because of so-called “carbon offsets.” It reminds me of the hunter who kills endangered species and then donates money to help protect the same species. Why not just help the species and get a new hobby?  Or why not fly commercial and live modestly? If you really believed the Earth’s future was at stake, I would think that would be the responsible thing to do. 


    But maybe people like Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio think the Earth is like the Titanic  that hit a giant orange-haired iceberg. They might as well live it up on yachts and hang out with supermodels, right? Have at it Leo. Just don't you dare point your finger at me or others for not supporting an agreement that does very little to help the environment, but does cost trillions of dollars.  And not everyone has the money to “offset” those costs.


   There’s much more to say, but I don't want to use more paper for that would entail cutting down more trees and we all know what trees absorb, right? Kites and carbon dioxide.


Joseph Meyers, a self-confessed news junkie, lives in Tamuning.

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