Real Climatologists masthead
Real Climatologists motto

Expert News Article tab

Photo of Secretary Kerry touring Chinese auto factory.

The Only Agreement In The Paris Climate Agreement

May 9, 2017

Duane Thresher
Climate Expert

[Note: This article first appeared in the Daily Caller.]

So, you keep hearing about the Paris Climate Agreement but still don't know anything about it? That's OK. There's a lot of hot air but not really much to know.

Ostensibly the agreement is about countries reducing their carbon emissions to fight global warming. But the most important thing to know is that the only agreement in the Paris Climate Agreement -- by both climate change warriors and global warming skeptics -- is that it will have little, if any, effect on global warming.

Skeptics, of course, say this because there might not be any global warming to have an effect on.

Climate change warriors, including even the (god)father of global warming himself, James Hansen, say this because the only compliance enforcement in the agreement is "name and shame". That's their name for it, not mine. You point out noncompliants and say shame on you. That's it. Really.

China and the US are the only two countries who matter in this agreement since they have the largest carbon emissions reduction targets by far. These targets are pure fantasy, chosen just to be "ambitious". In my open letter to President Trump I wrote that such agreements have little to do with climate but are about economic competition. China, being a lot less concerned about world opinion than the US, will just ignore its fantasy carbon emissions reduction target, keeping its economy healthy, and demand the US cripple its economy to reach the US's fantasy carbon emissions reduction target. ("Save the planet ... the Chinese will need it.")

Regarding concern about world opinion: When I worked in German climate science, my Romanian officemate, who survived the Ceausescu regime, used to say to me: "The US is the top dog so everyone is going to hate you no matter what. Why does the US want to be liked so much? Just enjoy being top dog."

Additionally for the agreement being used for economic competition, the agreement specifies that $100 billion per year should be handed out to developing countries to help them adapt to climate change, whatever that means and assuming there is any climate change. Experience has shown that the only adaption that will occur is that a few individuals in those developing countries will get very rich and leave their developing country. And the donors, primarily the US, will have thrown their money down a hole yet again, when it could have been better used at home.

Further, the agreement will be a boon to bureaucrats and climate change warriors, who tend to be one and the same these days and who are very expensive to support (although perhaps their jobs could and should be outsourced to India).

Remember those kids from high school who ran for class president, just to put it on their college applications? They made all kinds of promises that they, you, and the administration all knew were pure fantasy -- senior trip to the moon, etc. Those are the bureaucrats. Then they were harmless, now they are not.

John Kerry, Obama's Secretary of State who helped negotiate the treaty, is one of these bureaucrats. Even he admits this agreement will have little, if any, effect on global warming but it was the best he could get. That is, the agreement is all about politicians wanting to give the appearance of having done something about global warming, while not actually doing anything about it, which is too hard.

To top it all off, Kerry and all the other bureaucrats involved in this agreement have zero climate science background.

Who am I to talk about it then? I have a PhD in Earth & Environmental Sciences from Columbia University and NASA GISS, an MS in Atmospheric Science from the University of Arizona and NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) and a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and NASA. I was at NASA GISS while James Hansen was its head and am a coauthor with him on several publications. My graduate and postdoc work was in climate modeling (on supercomputers) and climate proxies (records of past climate), which is unusual breadth for a climate scientist. As mentioned, I worked in German climate science. I've also lived and/or traveled around North America, Europe, Australia, Antarctica, and Japan so I have a better understanding of the rest of the world than most. I created a website,, to state simply why global warming is not irrefutable.

There is no upside to the US staying in the Paris Climate Agreement and President Trump should take us out.