Heartland Institute Experts React to President Obama’s Signing of the Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day

President Barack Obama plans to sign the controversial Paris climate agreement today, Earth Day. The nonbinding agreement was drawn up and approved by 196 countries at the U.N. Conference of the Parties (COP-21) climate conference, which was held in Paris in December. Signatory nations agreed to reduce their carbon output “as soon as possible” and to do their best to keep global warming “to well below 2 degrees C.”

The Heartland Institute is among the world’s most prominent think tanks promoting skepticism of man-caused climate change. It hosted a counter-conference in Paris during the U.N. climate talks.

The following statements from environment policy and legal experts at The Heartland Institute may be used for attribution. For additional comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact New Media Specialist Donald Kendal at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.

“If you love people and Earth, then you should hate the Paris climate agreement. It will do nothing to help the planet, and it will condemn millions to continued poverty.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow for Environment and Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
[email protected]

“The president obviously does not know that he is participating in one of the greatest scientific hoaxes in history.”

Walter Cunningham
Apollo 7 Astronaut and Author
Policy Advisor
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“It is absolutely astounding that with the various problems currently facing America – many of which could be addressed with the money the president wishes to assign to international income distribution – President Obama would make the centerpiece of his presidency a treaty that will have no positive impact on our environment whatsoever but will have a considerable negative impact on our economy.”

Jay Lehr
Science Director
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Like the foundations of Earth Day itself, the president’s ceremonial signing of the Paris agreement is all fluff and no substance. Facts do not matter and science does not matter; it’s the agenda, stupid. And, unfortunately, the president has a pen and a media fawning over every move.

“Whether this is a treaty or an ‘executive agreement,’ the Paris agreement has no lasting impact beyond short-term costs to consumers and taxpayers. But the green agenda moves on.

Bette Grande
Research Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

Ms. Grande represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.

“President Barack Obama will sign the Paris climate agreement on Earth Day because of his supposed concern about man-made global warming. However, it is ironic he does so while actively working to curtail production of the one source of energy that is responsible for more greenhouse gas reductions than wind or solar could ever hope to achieve: natural gas.

“Despite claiming to have an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, natural gas production in the United States has boomed. This in spite of, not because of, President Obama. In fact, Obama has unveiled several new regulations that will impede natural gas production by limiting offshore production, imposing new Bureau of Land Management restrictions on fracking, and imposing expensive methane capture rules that make it harder for gas producers to stay in business.

“Thank goodness this treaty is largely symbolic and we can see the light at the end of the Obama tunnel.”

Isaac Orr
Research Fellow, Energy and Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“President Obama is signing an agreement to do nothing about nothing, all as a justification to make citizens pay more. You have to admire the political genius of it.”

Christopher Essex
Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics
University of Western Ontario
[email protected] 

Christopher Essex presented at Heartland’s “Day of Examining the Data” at COP-21 in Paris.

“In signing the Paris COP-21 climate change agreement, President Barack Obama appears to be hoping Americans never read the fine print. Unknown to most of the public is the fact developing nations such as China and India were given an opt-out clause in the original U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) treaty on which the Paris agreement is based.

“The UNFCCC stated that developing countries will implement their emission reduction commitments if we in the developed world pay them enough and give them enough of our technology. Also implied in the agreement is that even if we do give them everything we promise, developing countries may still not meet their targets if those targets interfere with developing countries’ ‘first and overriding priorities’ of ‘economic and social development and poverty eradication.’

“Since actions to significantly reduce emissions will usually interfere with development priorities, developing countries need not meet their targets at all. Developed nations do not have this option; they must keep their emission reduction commitments, no matter how badly they impact their economies. The Paris agreement is a swindle that transfers our wealth to the rest of the world for no environmental benefit in return.”

Tom Harris
Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition
Ottawa, Canada
Policy Advisor, Energy and Environment
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

Tom Harris presented at Heartland’s “Day of Examining the Data” at COP-21 in Paris

“President Barack Obama’s commitment to the Paris agreement, which will be signed without the approval of Congress, is the worst unilateral commitment made by a president since President Lyndon Johnson committed hundreds of thousands of combat troops into Vietnam – without a strategic plan. In spite of the government spending $2.5 billion a year on its climate change science program, government scientists have not been able to produce any meaningful evidence that greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, cause global warming or climate change.

“The global climate models government agencies often use to make unjustified claims significantly overestimate the warming of the atmosphere, where greenhouse warming should occur. Already, without the approval of Congress, the administration has diverted $500 million, largely from needed economic development funds, to U.N. bureaucrats claiming they need the money to ‘fight’ climate change. Climate change has been occurring for hundreds of millions of years, long before there was a United Nations or mankind.

“As the ‘evidence’ for limiting the use of fossil fuels continues to disintegrate, the evidence showing wind and solar energies are unreliable replacements continues to grow. What modern civilization can exist on unreliable electricity to run its medical facilities, subways, elevators, heating and cooling systems, refrigeration, and street and traffic lights? Yet, the administration promotes this disastrous program.

“Thanks to modern technology, the United States, along with neighboring Canada and Mexico, have plenty of clean-burning coal, oil, and natural gas to provide for our energy needs in the foreseeable future. According to the Energy Information Agency, the United States in 2015 imported less than 13 percent of the petroleum (including crude oil, gasoline, etc.) it used from outside of North America. The claim that alternative energy is needed for national defense is as obsolete as flintlock muskets.

“No good can come from this unneeded, costly, and destructive agreement. The egos of the environmental zealots, including key members of the Obama administration, will not be satisfied – until they have destroyed everything modern.”

Kenneth Haapala
Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.