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Climate ‘deal’ with China is no deal at all

by Rex Murphy     •     National Post  Climate China Global Warming Change Agreement

Much is being made of Barack Obama’s “deal” with China on the always parlous matter of global warming and carbon dioxide emissions. For those who still retain their enthusiasm for the lame-duck Mr. Obama and his dear love of government by decree – this is an Executive Orders President — the announcement was a milestone in the fight against our ecological doom, an historical commitment. It is also said by its supporters that the deal “shames” Canada, “isolates” us, puts us in the overcrowded villains gallery of the environmentalist movement.

Is it not a thing of wonder just what a pledge (which is merely a promise in a rented tuxedo) with the leader of the world’s largest dictatorship can do? Moreover, in the fervid atmosphere of global warming, just what constitutes a deal? What’s the give and take for both parties?

Mr. Obama, in his role as He Alone Who Makes the Laws, has told China that the U.S., which even now (thanks to the unholy science of fracking and the shale gas revolution) is on a downward slope in CO2 emissions, is willing to bind itself to continuing that downward slope for the next 16 years. Quite a pledge from the No. 1 (or is it No. 2 these days?) economy in the world.

And in return, what does the deal promise from China’s side? Why, China gets to continue its pharaonic drive to industrializing the nation of 1.3-billion people for the next 16 years in all its luxuriant excess, as the old laws used to say, without let or hindrance. Only after 16 full revolutions of our blue planet around the sun,  wheeling its way all during that time towards a humidification apocalypse, will China absolutely, you can bet on it — cross its coal-fired heart — put a cap on carbon dioxide emissions.

When one side owns all the give and the other side all the take, the dictionary leans more to “surrender” than “deal.”

It is also without process or protocol. It is merely two men, for their own political convenience, exchanging environmentalist velleities, word incense to their charmed believers. Did Mr. Obama come with resolutions of Congress embodying its goals? Does he have a framework for actually enforcing the deal? Of course not. Why drag legislators into national commitments? If you cannot take the word of a turbo-charged industrial megapower, run by a communist dictatorship, on a formless pledge 16 years into the future … whose word can you take?

On the U.S. side, what may be taken from this story? The very first question should be what is Mr. Obama’s word worth these days, never mind a decade and a half into the future, 14 years after he is out of office. This is the president, after all, who promised and promised over again that U.S. citizens they could keep their doctor and their medical plans under his signature health-care legislation.Who pledged to close Guantanamo on his “first day in office.” Who warned the Syrians not to cross the “redline” of using chemical weapons on his own people, but did nothing when gas rained down on helpless civilians. His word is a ping-pong ball in flight. It will bounce where it will.

Furthermore, on the other big issue that touches Canadian fortunes in these End Days of global warming, the Washington Post ran through Mr. Obama’s  words on the rejection of the Keystone Pipeline. It awarded him its dreaded Three Pinocchios. It would have been Four, but an errant fact staggered in.

I am reminded of poor John Keats’ sad words for his own tombstone: Here lies one whose Name is writ in Water. So it is with the Obama promises, a leader who is more and more a Salesman President — all pitch and little product.

As for Canada’s isolation, and putting Canada in a box, how does that work? I think the implication is that because the United States, in Mr. Obama’s idea of things, will continue to reduce CO2 emissions until 2030, Canada must follow that example? Well, why? Why cannot Canada take the offer the U.S. made to China? China has a 16-year holiday to keep accelerating its development, building a coal-powered plant every 8 to 10 days, and when all is done and there’s nothing left to industrialize in 2030, then it will begin a slowdown.

We could pledge to keep on “business as usual” till 2030, too, and we would earn — I presume — as much favour as China for its promise to do the same.

So this great historic deal is really nothing more than yet another trot out of verbal commitments, a last gasp for Mr. Obama, a placation to the always fierce warming constituency, and for the Chinese, a little chuckle or two at how easy it is to charm the eagerly gullible.