Janowicz: President Trump’s Mistake on Exiting the Paris Accords

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On June 1, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Accords, setting off waves of outrage throughout the world, including right here in Orange County. As a PhD chemist, I understand the danger of inaction on this issue.

Scientists agree that keeping the global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will help to offset the string of severe weather patterns across the globe. The progression is simple. When the global temperature rises, the oceans heat up and expand. When the ocean expands, it starts to flood beaches and cause tides to shift. Hotter oceans also change current patterns and alter common commercial trade routes.

The main issue in question is the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. High levels of CO2 are the result of burning fossil fuels like coal and oil. So, in addition to the dangers presented by hotter oceans, higher levels of CO2 in the ocean result in a dwindling fish population. This creates a ripple effect all throughout the world’s food chain and endangers our natural wonders, such as the ailing Great Barrier Reef, which sadly future generations will not be able to enjoy.

It’s not just the rest of the world that is impacted by these hazardous changes. Soon we’ll be noticing it much closer to home. Here in Orange County, we are adjacent to a considerable coastline that is at risk. This coastline – which we take great pride in by way of oceanfront property and beautiful public beaches – contributes not just breathtaking scenery but sizeable revenue for cities and businesses.

The drought-to-deluge weather cycles also have severe consequences in Orange County and Southern California. During dry times, thousands of homes are at risk of exposure to wildfires, which puts immense stresses on public safety services, as well as homeowners and communities. This is in addition to pressure on the state’s water supply and the cause of extreme conservation efforts as we saw as recently as last year. During wetter periods, there is a higher risk of flooding and pressure on our state’s aging infrastructure, as we saw last year with the failure of the Oroville Dam spillway.

This has always been a global issue that directly affects our state. Now, with the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Accords, there is a seismic shift in which nations are at the forefront of change. This does not mean that we stand by and do nothing. For issues that are this vast in scope and this significant in terms of human impact, scientists reach out to and cooperate with others across the global community, pooling our research and resources toward common goals.

President Trump claimed that he would be pro-business and wanted a better deal, but U.S. businesses warned President Trump that pulling out of the Paris Accords would be bad for business, as a burgeoning decarbonized economy stands to create millions of jobs. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, has stated that no new deal could be negotiated.

Although I laud Governor Brown’s efforts today on his landmark deal with China, the point is that America needs to be a leader in this issue. If President Trump and his generation of leaders don’t do anything to halt this disastrous course, it will be up to our generation to stand up, step up, and take the lead. Those in the science community must take control of the conversation. We can no longer be passive and stay on the sidelines.

Most importantly, if the U.S. doesn’t do its part to help reign in climate change as the world’s second largest emitter of CO2, then we will continue to destroy our planet for future generations.

Phil Janowicz is President and CEO of Quill and Abacus, an education consulting firm, and a former chemistry professor at California State University Fullerton. He is a candidate for congress in California’s 39th Congressional District.

 

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org

  • kburgoyne

    Thank you, Phil. However carbon energy is at about the same point IBM was in 1985. It is why the industry is so desperate to use non free market political manipulation to protect its market share. Something which anyone familiar with US politics and economic exploits would fully expect.

    We’ve already been seeing widespread adoption and deployment of things like wind mills in “red” states where the rural environment makes them well suited. Thus demonstrating what the greater market wants to do, even in highly conservative areas, in stark contrast the carbon energy companies trying to artificially protect their markets.

    The price of solar panels continues to fall and their efficiency continues to increase not entirely unlike what happens in the computer market. People will continue to, and increasingly, gravitate toward generating their own electricity. Solar has only just started disrupting the increasingly archaic and increasingly inefficient (relative to the emerging technologies) power grid system. The larger enlightened carbon energy dinosaur companies have recently started exploring and investing in green energy products in an effort to remain in existence in the future, and their stockholders are demanding the companies report on what they’re doing to adapt to the future.

    The Pentagon has long identified climate change as the largest threat to US security and global stability and it has increasingly successful research programs devoted to exploiting the emerging disruptive technologies.

    It was only a few years ago the US Navy successfully tested the use of renewable technology generated jet fuel in fighter jets. The huge benefits of the market disrupting technology were obvious even setting aside the environmental considerations. Consider either a carrier itself, or a replacement for a refueling ship, having the capacity to fabricate jet fuel from sea water completely self-contained within the fleet/task-force. No need for refueling ships to travel between the fleet and land-based refineries, requiring security escorts during the process.

    The US Army has long been deploying solar panels at bases in locations like Afghanistan to largely replace the diesel generators. While the Army purchases diesel fuel for a fraction of the price consumers do, the fuel still ends up costing upwards of $400/gallon once it has been delivered under heavy security escort to bases in places like Afghanistan.

    Demand like this for these market disrupting technologies contributes to the funding an ever-increasing competition to make these market disrupting technologies cheaper and more efficient. The generational jumps in efficiency, like with computers, results in more output per space consumed. Having the same amount of electrical output from smaller and smaller solar panels is something extremely attractive to the Army to reduce the logistical (transport, storage, deployment, etc) space required, and it means the cost of power a building using is own roof continues to come down.

    And yes, solar panels do put out plenty of power even on rainy days. Just like people can see just fine on rainy days.

    All Trump has successfully done in his trademark irrational knee-jerk approach to things is to remove America’s voice from any of the discussions, and accelerate the rise of China to the position of the dominant voice on the world stage. While Trump engages in childish attacks on the success of countries like Germany, he encourages the US to remain in an uncompetitive 1950s mentality.

    As just one example, I was in a conversation with somebody who works at a sewage processing facility in TEXAS. They maximize efficiency of the plant, and thus reduce the costs of operating the plant, by relying upon energy recycling equipment. Among other things they use equipment to efficiently recycle the methane coming off the sewage processing to help power the plant rather than wasting it off into the atmosphere and contributing to the CO2 building-up in the atmosphere. Because many of our backward thinking politicians in the US continue to incentivize people to rely upon a 1950s manufacturing mentality, all that plant equipment is imported from forward-thinking Germany rather than being made in the US.

    It is a shame so many of our US politicians promote a “can’t do” attitude in order to support their own political agendas. The rest of the world has demonstrated they will happily exploit the emerging markets, and thus reap the associated rewards, which the US is told by its backwards politicians to ignore.

  • Jack Milliken

    Can’t drill for oil, can’t burn coal, can’t build nukes, can’t lay pipeline, can’t frack for NG – these luddites won’t rest until we’re all miserable

    • LFOldTimer

      All we can do is install more solar panels on tops of homes and let the homeowners pay for it all through their property taxes! Then if the lose their jobs and can no longer make the property tax payments the county confiscates their house! lol.

      We’ve turned into a nation of WalMart greeters, pizza deliverers and solar panel installers! lol.

    • Dylan Thompson

      Isn’t it more Luddite to continue the outdated practice of burning Earth’s finite supply of fossil fuels instead of developing a sustainable energy infrastructure? Green energy is the future technology in this scenario. But even the term Luddite doesn’t fit completely as an analogy because the originals were against technological advancement for fear that they would lose their jobs or that workers protections could be circumvented. I see this more as a lateral step where jobs that would exist in the fossil fuel industry would instead exist in the green energy industry. Furthermore, I would say that Luddite even doesn’t quite fit my analogy because switching to the loom was optional, preferred by and profitable to big-industry while switching to green energy will be necessary, not preferred by and not-profitable to big-energy.

  • LFOldTimer

    The Paris Accord was nothing more than a transfer (a gift) of American wealth overseas. Just another politically correct name for foreign aid. We already have very strict environmental controls in the United States. Ask any business owner who has the EPA breathing down their necks. China and India are the biggest polluters of all and are doing next to nothing to control their emissions. I read that the experts claimed if all the Paris Accord Agreement provisions were followed it would lower the global temp by about .002 degrees in 100 years. lol. Not even a blip on the radar screen.

    Trump did the right thing. He told us that he was going to put America first – and this is one step in the right direction. The UN needs to get tough on China and India – the 2 worst global polluters. Otherwise you’re just whizzing into a 90 mph headwind.

    And quite honestly, I don’t trust the scientists and so-called global experts anymore. It was discovered that they were rigging the statistics on some major global warming studies to make it look much worse that what it actually was. It’s very sad that many leading scientists have now transformed themselves into lying politicians for the left. They got caught at it and now when they scream “The sky is falling” no one pays any attention to it except for the liberals who manufactured the crisis in the first place to raise our taxes.

    When global warming was proven to be a hoax they changed their cause to “Climate Change”. lol.

    Sorry. I no longer buy it.

    • verifiedsane

      Remember before global warming and “climate change” (a very generic sounding all encompassing catch phrase; since factually the climate is always changing and will be always changing), the big scare was that we were entering the next ice age…The scientist and so called experts can’t even predict the weather accurately a week, a month, a season or a year in advance….but they are absolute about what going to happen decades into the future….not buying….

      • LFOldTimer

        You’re right.

        Look how they got El Nino wrong! lol. We were supposed to get hit with torrents of rain in 2015-16. We got a dry winter. Record low rains! My neighbors put new roofs on their homes because Fritz Coleman warned them about the impending rains!!! LOL! Home Depot made a killing!

        This past 2016-17 winter season was supposed to be dry as a bone with La Nina conditions. We got so much rain and snow we don’t know what to do with all the runoff! lol. The reservoirs has full to the brim!!! LOL!

        The experts are idiots, Verified. We spend BILLIONS on the latest technology for the National Weather Service and they can’t get it right one day to the next.

        I got up this morning and the ground was all wet. It looked like it rained overnight. No one predicted that! I hung some clothes out on the line to air dry and when I woke up they were soaking wet!!! I had to throw them in the dryer!!! LOL!

    • Dylan Thompson

      Assume that Climate Change is not happening, aren’t there still many good reasons to promote moving towards a green energy future?

      We are guaranteed to run out of fossil fuels on Earth. How are we going to transition smoothly if no country makes incremental change now?

      Our reliance on fossil fuel has severely distorted our foreign policy. This dependency has led us into unfortunate alliances with Saudi Arabia and Qatar and into disastrous military invasions (eg Iraq, Afghanistan) to maintain strategic objectives in the Middle East.

      Fossil fuels are toxic to human beings and the environment. This comes in the form of oil spills, pipeline leaks, fracking fluid disposal, air pollution from fossil fuel emissions. Seems like if we can get energy with fewer health and environmental problems, then we should move in that direction globally.

      As far as the Paris accord goes, I think it was just a way for politicians in these countries to look like they were doing something positive, without any hard requirement to actually reduce emissions. According to what I’ve read, the only enforcement in the accord was a public shaming mechanism. Unfortunately, you cant shame the shameless.

      Also the initial signing by Obama could be interpreted as a boiling of frogs, meaning that under the public guise of fixing the situation, we simply allow business as usual to continue. Perhaps Trump dumping the plan will cause the frogs to jump out, and implement green policies at the local, state and private levels.

      • verifiedsane

        Without the climate change fear hoax….market forces in time will naturally create their own competing alternatives…supply and demand always does…for governments to create an artificial crisis using fear mongering is not a solution, it’s just another socialist power grab….thanks for joining us Benedict Bernie… 🙂

        • kburgoyne

          Climate change is not a hoax. Period.

      • LFOldTimer

        The United States has performed superbly in reducing pollutants and cleaning up our environment. I recall 30-40 years ago when I could see a black streak in the atmosphere all up and down the southern California coast. We took action and today it’s gone. Our environment is much cleaner than it was in the 1970’s and 80’s.

        We are not the problem. The problem is with the developing world like China and India that are responsible for the lion’s share of global pollution.

        Have you flown into Mexico City lately? It’s like flying into a cup of coffee for God’s sake. What are they doing to reduce their emissions? Why does Mexico, our neighbor, get a pass?

        Natural gas is one of the cleanest forms of energy. We have an abundance of it in America. We should use more, not less.

        And we’ve reduced our oil dependence on the ME substantially in the last 15-20 years. We’re producing more oil at home. And Canada is a growing source too.

        When I was in college the professors told us that we would run out of oil by year 2000. Well, year 2000 has come and gone. In the meantime massive new reserves have been found. We are no where near the point of running out of oil to serve our needs.

        Does this mean we shouldn’t look for new sources of energy? Of course not. We should always look for cleaner and cheaper ways to run our industries and furnish transportation. But, to date, nothing comes close to fossil fuels in term of efficiency and effectiveness.

        But Trump is on the right track. As an American I’m tired of being taken advantage of by other nations that aren’t pulling their weight in the fight to clean up the global environment. They expect us to be their economic sugar daddies while they continue to spew contaminants into the air and water without a thought for tomorrow.

        We’ve done our part. We’ve done a remarkable job at cleaning up our own backyard. Not it’s time for the others to clean up theirs!!!

  • verifiedsane

    talk about delivering a bunch of hot air climate propaganda….The Paris accord was not a treaty….it was a non-binding agreement that actually encouraged china’s and India’s continued polluting…in fact it opened the door to increasing their polluting…this was creating unfair and disadvantage to American businesses and economic interest….So let’s just cut to the chase….this accord wasn’t about science, the climate, or the environment…this was another far left political give away to the multi billion dollar politically created Climate scare industry, & a horrible give away sink hole for America…