On Sunday as a two-week global climate summit in Madrid began, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pontificated that the world must stop a “war against nature” and intensify its efforts to fight climate change. Guterres uttered, “Our war against nature must stop, and we know that it is possible,” adding, “We simply have to stop digging and drilling and take advantage of the vast possibilities offered by renewable energy and nature-based solutions,” according to Reuters. The Daily Mail added that Guterres hyperventilated, “The point of no return is no longer over the horizon. It is in sight and hurtling toward us.”
Guterres argued that a number of nations have not met the specifications outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement. He insisted that the promises made by 70 countries to reach “carbon neutrality” or “climate neutrality” by 2050 were insufficient, stating, “We also see clearly that the world’s largest emitters are not pulling their weight, and without them, our goal is unreachable.”
Guterres asserted, “I don’t even want to entertain the possibility that we do not agree on article 6. We are here to approve guidelines to implement article 6, not to find excuses not to do it.”
The International Chamber of Commerce wrote about Article 6:
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement aims at promoting integrated, holistic and balanced approaches that will assist governments in implementing their NDCs through voluntary international cooperation. This cooperation mechanism, if properly designed, should make it easier to achieve reduction targets and raise ambition. In particular, Article 6 could also establish a policy foundation for an emissions trading system, which could help lead to a global price on carbon.
Under this mechanism, countries with low emissions would be allowed to sell their exceeding allowance to larger emitters, with an overall cap of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ensuring their net reduction. Supply and demand for emissions allowances would lead to the establishment of a global carbon price that would tie the negative externalities of GHG emissions to polluters. In other words, by paying a price on carbon, states exceeding their NDCs would bear the costs of global warming.
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement states:
- Parties recognize that some Parties choose to pursue voluntary cooperation in the implementation of their nationally determined contributions to allow for higher ambition in their mitigation and adaptation actions and to promote sustainable development and environmental integrity. 2. Parties shall, where engaging on a voluntary basis in cooperative approaches that involve the use of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes towards nationally determined contributions, promote sustainable development and ensure environmental integrity and transparency, including in governance, and shall apply robust accounting to ensure, inter alia, the avoidance of double counting, consistent with guidance adopted by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Agreement.
As Christopher C. Horner and Marlo Lewis, Jr. wrote for the Competitive Enterprise Institute in a comprehensive piece detailing the legal and economic case against the Paris Agreement:
The Paris Agreement is a costly and ineffectual solution to the alleged climate crisis. It is also plainly a treaty, despite President Obama’s attempt to implement it without the Senate’s advice and consent … In America’s constitutional system, treaties must obtain the advice and consent of the Senate before the United States may lawfully join them. President Obama deemed the Paris Agreement to not be a treaty in order to evade constitutional review, which the Agreement almost certainly would not have survived … The Agreement endangers America’s capacity for self-government. It empowers one administration to make legislative commitments for decades to come, without congressional authorization, and regardless of the outcome of future elections. It would also make U.S. energy policies increasingly unaccountable to voters, and increasingly beholden to the demands of foreign leaders, U.N. bureaucrats, and international pressure groups.
They added, “U.S. industry has a huge energy price advantage over its global competitors, which underpins the American manufacturing revival Trump campaigned on. The climate policies required to meet President Obama’s emission reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement would destroy that edge. Obama pledged to reduce U.S. emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, with deeper cuts every five years thereafter. That is already significant, but he went much further. He also committed the United States to rapidly phase out fossil fuels over 35 years.”