A Roadmap for Clexit

Published February 24, 2017

Review of Clexit for a Brighter Future: The Case for the Withdrawing from United Nations’ Climate Treaties, by Donn Dears (Critical Thinking Press), 104 pages, ISBN 13: 978-0-9815119-3-1; $9.95 on Amazon.com.

In the preface to Donn Dears’ new book, Clexit for a Brighter Future, New Zealand climate realist Brian Leyland succinctly describes the 2015 Paris international climate agreement as “nonsense,” noting, “[I]f the United States stands by the commitment made by Barack Obama, it will cost the country billions of dollars, increase the price of electricity, reduce the reliability of the power system, and do virtually nothing to slow down (mythical) dangerous man-made global warming.”

After reading Clexit, it’s difficult to disagree with Leyland’s assessment. How can this wacko conspiracy hold the attention of any sane individual?

Cheap Energy or Poverty?

Most of us recognize low-cost energy has helped the developed world live under better conditions today than kings did centuries ago. As Dears clearly shows, constraining low-cost energy, as the Paris agreement requires, would ensure billions of people in developing countries continue to endure starvation, disease, and misery.

Clexit—a title that echoes Britain’s exit, “Brexit,” from the European Union—explains why the United States must walk away from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the granddaddy of all climate change policy.

In a mere 36 pages, Dears tears UNFCCC to pieces, supporting each of his assertions using extensive scientific and economic data. Among the appendices Dears uses is one titled “Carbon Capture and Sequestration,” where he shows capturing and sequestering carbon emissions requires mountains of cash. In the appendix on “Storage,” Dears discusses various mechanisms for storing the electricity produced by alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar. He shows those mechanisms to be leaky and falling “far short of the storage capacity needed for eliminating a large portion of fossil fuel generating capacity.”

Let’s Not Always Have Paris

The Paris [climate] Agreement went into effect on November 4, 2016, when 55 countries, whose combined emissions account for at least 55 percent of worldwide carbon-dioxide emissions, ratified the agreement. Although the U.S. Constitution requires Senate approval of any such treaty before it can go into effect and the U.S. Senate never ratified the Paris Agreement, the United States was counted as a signatory once then-President Barack Obama signed it.

Before my readers become overcome with illness over this unjust act made by our previous president, let me calm your nerves by quoting from the UNFCCC: “Any country can withdraw from the treaty by providing written notification of its withdrawal which will go into effect one year after submission.” That is what the Clexit movement is all about.

UNFCC establishes as its purpose: “The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve … stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

To achieve that goal, it is estimated global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would have to be cut by 50 percent. U.S. emissions would need to be cut by 80 percent. In Chapters 1 and 2, of his book, Dears proves those goals are unachievable, because 70 percent of global CO2 emissions are emitted by China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States, with China and India contributing more than all the others combined. The remaining 30 percent of carbon-dioxide emissions come from countries with populations that are struggling to survive, including countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, which contains 13 percent of the world’s population but 48 percent of global poverty.

Alternative Energy, Cars

In Chapter 3, Dears calculates the cost of replacing coal and natural gas for electric power generation with wind and solar energy, concluding it would cost trillions of additional dollars.

In Chapter 4, Dears shows the treaty essentially requires people to replace gasoline-powered automobiles with cars powered by electricity or fuel cells, without considering where the electricity will come from to run the cars or to produce hydrogen for the fuel cells. Interestingly, Tesla electric cars, a favorite in Hong Kong, are responsible for higher CO2 emissions compared to gasoline-powered cars, because coal, a less-efficient energy source, provides all the energy to charge the batteries.

Heavy Burden on United States

Dears extensively documents the outsized effect the major provisions of UNFCCC have on the United States. For instance, the treaty allows any country to sue the United States if it is determined U.S. emissions entered that country’s air space. UNFCCC also states the United States will bear the bulk of all costs, as it will have to contribute the most to the U.N. Green Climate Fund.

Additionally, it establishes a “precautionary principle” requirement, mandating no country may use a new technology without first proving the technology will not unreasonably contribute to higher CO2 emissions levels. UNFCCC further requires all companies that develop useful new technologies for carbon-dioxide reduction to “share” those technologies with other countries without remuneration.

Exit Strategy

It makes no sense, Dears concludes, to continue with the UNFCCC charade. Dears says UNFCCC’s goals are not achievable and aiming for those goals will consume huge quantities of financial resources that could otherwise be used to make people’s lives better around the world.

We must withdraw from this treaty and, in this reviewer’s opinion, then withdraw entirely from the United Nations.

Jay Lehr, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is science director of The Heartland Institute.