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Libertarian think tank to Trump: 'No benefit' in climate agreement

Libertarian think tank to Trump: 'No benefit' in climate agreement
A Libertarian think tank representing manufacturing firms argues have told President Donald Trump that the Paris Climate Accord is a disadvantage to US companies as it insists on reducing energy consumption while also competing with global companies.

“All costs of reducing GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, whether imposed on the electric generation sector or the oil and gas sectors, are eventually imposed on us, the consumer,” argued Industrial Energy Consumers of America in its letter to Trump on Monday. “[W]e are often already economically disadvantaged, as compared to global competitors who are subsidized or protected by their governments.”

The Washington, DC-based IECA argues that US manufacturing is already 26 percent below 1973 levels, as is its industrial sector. The group argues that when energy costs rise due to GHG reduction mandates, manufacturing companies will move jobs and facilities off shore and could become worse polluters if another country has less stringent regulations.

The group argues that, while California with its climate program appears to show the state is reducing GHG emissions, “they are in fact shifting GHG emissions to other states and countries.”

The group called it “perverse and economically damaging” when a state such as California continues to consume manufacturing products such as steel, chemicals, plastics, paper and cement but, instead of manufacturing them in the state, they import them.

California has the dubious rank of top state for air pollution, according to the American Lung Association.

"California has dominated the top 10 list every year. In fact, a California city has been number one every year since the report began in 2000," Will Barrett, senior policy analyst for the American Lung Association in California, told RT. "For ozone pollution, Los Angeles has topped the list the past 17 or 18 reports."

IECA said, while the Paris Climate Accord does not mandate GHG reductions from US manufacturing, the Obama administration committed in 2016 to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. However, China pledged under the agreement to increase GHG emissions by 117 percent by 2030 before starting to reduce emissions, which “would put us in a perilous competitive disadvantage.”

The letter was issued as Florida researchers reported the effects of climate change on America’s migratory songbirds. Using data from satellites and citizen scientists, the report found nine out of 48 species of birds were unable to return to their northern breeding grounds on time to produce the next generation of fledglings. The decline was observed after looking at data from 2001 to 2013.

That report was published the same day NASA released data showing the Arctic had its second warmest spring in April, with global warming and unusual weather conspiring to shrink sea ice and raise polar temperatures.

“If it’s just natural variability, it’s a type of natural variability I am not familiar with,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. “There’s a lot going on here and I think there’s some catchup to do in the research community.”

Temperatures were also well above average in the Eastern US, China and across Africa. Only a few patches of the globe were cooler.

The Arctic was warming faster than other regions as greenhouse gas pollution traps heat. The average Arctic temperature last year was 6.3°F (3.5°C) higher than in 1900. Temperatures elsewhere are rising by about a quarter of that rate.

The reports were released after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed the Arctic agreement last Thursday that offers a commitment to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to extend scientific cooperation in the Arctic region.

The Arctic agreement between eight circumpolar nations including Russia, Canada and Norway, will make it easier to move equipment, samples and data across borders in the north and facilitate scientific collaboration and sharing.

The treaty made only a passing reference to the Paris Climate Accord by noting “entry into force” of the pact and called for global action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

Tillerson’s signing of the document was a surprise. The secretary of state sought to reassure the international Arctic community by saying, “We’re not going to rush” to make a decision, but the American government would make “the right decision for the United States.”

“We are appreciative that each of you has an important point of view, and you should know that we are taking time to understand your concerns,” Tillerson told the Arctic Council, according to AP.