As member nations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change take their 25thstab at an international agreement to limit so-called greenhouse gas emissions, some American corporations are trying to make up for the absence of the United States as part of the deal.
President Donald Trump famously announced in June 2017 the U.S. withdrawal from the nonbinding Paris Climate Agreement, which was previously negotiated in 2015 with the willful participation of then-President Barack Obama. Even though the U.S. Senate never ratified the treaty, as is required, the U.S. acted as though it was legal and pretended to adhere to the accord. But then last month Trump gave formal notification to the U.N. of America’s departure from the pact, effective the day after Election Day, in 2020.
There has been predictable outrage on the environmental left, from their allies in the media, and from those in the corporate world who either really believe climate change threatens the world, or at least must act like they believe it to head off public shaming from pressure groups.
So the current U.N. Climate Change Conference (“COP25”) in Madrid seemed like the perfect opportunity for companies to throw some public relations efforts into the global warming battle: “We are doing our part!”
These took the form of two sign-up sheets.
The first is a joint effort between the AFL-CIO labor union and several corporations, including several based in Silicon Valley, the leftist enclave that often serves as a feeder for these collaborations. Titled “United for the Paris Agreement,” the statement boasts signatories from union leadership and the heads of companies including Apple (CEO Tim Cook loves these things), Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, MasterCard, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo, as well as many other recognizable names. The corporate leaders say they want the U.S. to remain in the pact.
“Staying in the Paris Agreement will strengthen our competitiveness in global markets, positioning the United States to lead the deployment of new technologies that support the transition, provide for our workers and communities, and create jobs and companies built to last,” the statement says. “It also supports investment by setting clear goals which enable long-term planning. It encourages innovation to achieve emissions reductions at low cost.”
Humanity has never faced a greater or more urgent threat than climate change — and it’s one we must face together. Apple will continue our work to leave the planet better than we found it and to make the tools that encourage others to do the same. https://t.co/26sTnleNep
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 2, 2019
The other alliance, organized under a project led by international tycoon Sir Richard Branson, boasts the participation of American businesses, states, local governments, colleges and universities, faith groups, and other organizations. The members proclaim “We Are Still In” (the Paris Agreement) and include many of the companies that signed the “United” statement.
“The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change,” the declaration says. “Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States…
“In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, counties, tribes, colleges and universities, healthcare organizations, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.”
Companies and public servants like to sign things to signal their virtues. It often takes little effort, and it puts their names out there for a cause to the people who care about it. No one really seems to hold them accountable to abide – in quantifying terms – by what they say they will do. And everyone else mostly doesn’t pay attention as they otherwise go on about their personal business.
Yet the corporations involved here do take some measures to seem “green” that add unnecessary costs to their bottom lines, which do nothing to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are of global concern. Apple’s phony claim that it uses “100-percent renewable” energy to power its massive data farms around the world is just one example, as they spend unnecessary millions on solar projects and other “renewable” schemes, while they still depend on coal and natural gas to keep their servers running.
And even if these companies’ efforts did have an effect on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from power usage, they are useless in the face of China’s massive construction of new coal-fired power plants (despite bogus claims the ChiComs are “leading the way” to comply with Paris). Any hamstringing the U.S. or it companies does via energy to inhibit its economic productivity or efficiency is only subsumed by the dishonest, but highly competitive, Chinese.
Fortunately President Trump understands that, but he leads a relatively free country, so its inhabitants have the liberty to throw good money after bad.