President Trump likely would ignore it, President Clinton would champion it

The European Union approved a fast-track ratification of the Paris climate change agreement yesterday, less than a year after it was signed in Paris, upending a Donald Trump promise to cancel the agreement if elected president.

In September, in a ceremony in Hangzhou, China, the UN Secretary General received the legal instruments for joining the Paris Agreement from the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, China and the U.S.  India ratified the treaty earlier this week.

EU’s Early Ratification of Paris Climate Agreement Sacks Trump’s Promise to “Cancel It”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at Paris Agreement Ratification Ceremony in China in September.

The Paris Agreement, adopted by 195 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) last December in Paris, calls on countries to “combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future,” according to a statement by the UN.

The agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification or acceptance with the Secretary-General, according to the UN. The EU plans to deposit its ratification document at the United Nations on Friday, fulfilling the criteria for enactment.

The number of countries that have joined the agreement are responsible for 52.11 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the UN.

Addressing the plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “I can think of no better way to secure the legacy of Paris than to have the agreement enter into force in record time, backed by the support of the world’s most powerful economies and its most vulnerable countries.”

“In the name of humanity and for the sake of future generations, I encourage you to support the speedy ratification of the Paris Agreement,” he said. The UN Secretary-General commended the European Union Parliament on agreeing to a process that would enable individual countries to send their ratifications directly to the UN.

Under the global accord reached in December, more than 190 nations agreed to work toward capping global temperature increases since pre-industrial times to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The EU aims to reduce the heat-trapping gases by at least 40 percent in 2030 compared with 1990 levels, Bloomberg reports.

And so the Paris climate change agreement will become effective in 30 days.

What does it mean?

The Hill called the EU’s move “a power play against Donald Trump, effectively preventing him from canceling the deal as he has promised to do. That means Trump, should he be elected president in November, could not ‘cancel’ or renegotiate the terms of the agreement.”

However, since the agreement is nonbinding, “Trump would be free to ignore it if he wins the White House,” the Hill said. “Once the deal takes effect, the United States cannot back out of the plan — or force changes to it — for at least four years. … Environmental groups, though, predict that Trump would find there are limits to how much of the climate push he can stop.”

The two presidential contenders are on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to energy policy and fossil fuels. Trump is pro-oil and gas and coal development. He recently said the Obama administration’s ‘war on energy’ will cost the U.S. economy $5 trillion. If former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton becomes the U.S. president in the November election, she and her executive branch would be likely to fully support the Paris agreement, as if it were binding.

Not everyone is on board with climate change assumptions

Those who question the science behind the global climate change movement are now in the sights of the federal government.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the Senate Judiciary Committee she has considered taking legal action against companies who deny the validity of climate change science.

“The United States’ top lawyer told the Senate Judiciary Committee on [March 9th] that the Justice Department has ‘discussed’ the possibility of a civil lawsuit against the fossil fuel industry. She said any information her office has received has been sent to the FBI in a bid to build a case,” the Daily Mail reported, discussing comments by Lynch in answer to questions by Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse during the hearing.

Whitehouse: “The similarities between the mischief of the tobacco industry pretending that the science of tobacco’s dangers was unsettled and the fossil fuel industry pretending that the science of carbon emissions’ dangers is unsettled has been remarked on widely, particularly by those who study the climate denial apparatus that the fossil fuel industry has erected.

“’A request for action by the Department of Justice has been referred by you to the FBI. My question to you is other than civil forfeitures and matters attendant to a criminal case, are there other circumstances in which a civil matter under the authority of the Department of Justice has been referred to the FBI?”

Lynch: “Senator, thank you for raising that issue, and thank you for your work in this area. I know your commitment is deep. This matter has been discussed. We have received information about it and have referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action on. I’m not aware of a civil referral at this time.”

Exxon Mobil

The New York Times and other media reported in November of 2015 that the New York attorney general had begun an investigation of Exxon Mobil “to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business.”

In April, 2016, Exxon Mobil responded to a subpoena from the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, saying in part: “The chilling effect of this inquiry, which discriminates based on viewpoint to target one side of an ongoing policy debate, strikes at protected speech at the core of the First Amendment.”

Exxon Mobil posted a lot of information on its website regarding the accusations including this statement:  “In the interest of transparency, soon after the stories appeared, ExxonMobil established on online repository of these documents so that readers could more easily access and examine them in their entirety. We also published a list of over 50 peer-reviewed articles on climate research and related policy analysis from ExxonMobil scientists from 1983 to the present.”

The company also posted its endorsement of a carbon tax:  “A revenue-neutral carbon tax is the best option to fulfill these key principles and could be a workable policy framework for countries around the world. It is the policy most likely to preserve the ability of every sector of society to find new efficiencies and develop effective technologies.”

Global enviro activists elevate war against the fossil fuel industry

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal: “Both sides see this as a pivotal moment in a growing campaign by environmentalists to deploy a legal strategy used against tobacco companies in the 1990s by arguing that oil companies have long hidden what they know about climate change. Tobacco firms’ finances and credibility were badly damaged by lawsuits accusing them of hiding the truth about their products.

“A key meeting in the new push unfolded in January behind closed doors at a Manhattan office building. The session brought together about a dozen people, including Kenny Bruno, a veteran of environmental campaigns, and Bill McKibben, founder of, two activists who helped lead the successful fight to block the Keystone XL pipeline.

“The new campaign’s goals include “to establish in public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution that has pushed humanity (and all creation) toward climate chaos and grave harm,” according to an agenda of the meeting viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

New legal strategies

“This new legal strategy stems in part from environmentalists’ frustration at what they see as the inadequacy of recent climate deals. Their hope is to encourage state attorneys general and the U.S. Justice Department to launch investigations and lawsuits that ultimately will change Exxon’s behavior, force it to pay big damages and drive public attention to climate change,” the WSJ reported.

At the state level, the organization has been active as well. It is one of several global anti-fossil fuel groups that was active in a voter signature petition gathering effort to attempt to create an amendment to the Colorado constitution that would mandate a 2,500 foot setback for oil and gas operations in the Colorado.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission published a report showing that if such an amendment became law, it would effectively take 90% of the state’s land surface out of contention for new drilling, well completions and related oil and gas development activities. The proponents behind the proposed amendment, aided by, Greenpeace and other large environmental groups, failed to achieve the number of signatures required by the Colorado Secretary of State that would have placed the amendment onto the Nov. 2016 ballot for voters to decide.

The University of Colorado’s business school said the economic effects of such an amendment would have decimated the economy by removing 104,000 jobs and $14.5 billion from the state’s economy, coming just short of throwing Colorado into a recession. Colorado ranks in the top 10 for both oil and natural gas production in the United States.

EU’s Early Ratification of Paris Climate Agreement Upends Trump Plan to “Cancel It”

Source: EIA

After the signature collection initiative failed to land their proposed 2,500 foot setback on the ballot in Colorado, activists examined the disqualified signatures, “even knocking on the doors of voters who signed petitions with incorrect or incomplete information, hoping to appeal the ruling,” the Colorado Independent reported.

But the supporters of the amendment later decided it not to challenge this year’s signature count. Instead, the environmental groups are attempting to defeat Amendment 71 – “Raise the Bar.”

Amendment 71 replaces the Colorado constitution’s requirement to collect signatures from 5 percent of recent Colorado voters (which the anti-frac movement failed to do) with the requirement to gather signatures from 2% of each of Colorado’s 35 state Senate districts.

One of the anti-oil and gas groups called Amendment 71 “an effort to prevent future initiatives designed to protect communities from fracing.”

The oil and gas industry supports Amendment 71 along with state associations of realtors, dairy farmers, casino owners and business strategy group Colorado Concern. Opponents include the Bell Policy Center, the Colorado Fiscal Institute, environmental group Conservation Colorado and voting outreach group New Era Colorado, the report said.

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