Beyond Paris, questionable efforts to combat climate change

Germany has long been a leading advocate for confronting and ameliorating climate change. But actions speak louder than words – or signatures on an international accord. The recent Volkswagen scandal is only the latest case of climate policy hypocrisy.

Meeting in Paris last December, countries around the globe finally recognized the generally accepted scientific evidence that climate change is real. They also accepted some responsibility to do something about it.

To much fanfare, 195 countries, including Germany and the United States, signed the Paris Agreement pledging to hit targets to drop emissions, cut carbon and keep our aging Earth from experiencing too many hot flashes and cold extremities.

Developed democratic countries, pushed by their citizens, led the charge for a comprehensive agreement to atone for past polluting and to prevent developing states from repeating their own sins. Canada, England, France – they all chimed in and tried to convince, coerce and cajole those developing countries to be energy ascetics. That was a tough sell. The developing world now wants its turn to crank out the carbon and catch up to the already rich, gas-burning and global-warming recidivists.

Looking beyond the narratives of the industrialized world’s planned sacrifice, however, some of the stories seem a little less noble or credible.  Read More