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Robert Samuelson: The Messy Reality Of Global Warming

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There was no need for President Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement to achieve his goal of overturning the Obama administration's global warming policy. This had already occurred through court rulings and executive orders, which effectively halted higher vehicle fuel economy standards (up to 54.5 miles per gallon) and ended the Clean Power Plan program, which pushed electric utilities to shift away from coal. Moreover, national commitments to slash emissions made in Paris are voluntary. Countries can modify or ignore them. There is no enforcement or penalty for missing targets.

Under the Paris accord, countries made these commitments based on their own circumstances and political judgment. The United States pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28% from 2005 levels by 2025. The European Union promised to reduce emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030. China said that its carbon dioxide (CO2) would peak by 2030 and that, by the same year, renewable fuels would represent about 20% of its energy use.

But as noted, none of these goals was........

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