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Green religion -- justification by climate faith alone

060317 Climate SATURDAY Editorial pic
No sober-minded person thought Paris, a nonbinding agreement, was going to save the planet. But the faithful were always seeking a deeper sense of salvation. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Listen closely to the cant and jargon of modern environmentalism, and in the empty invocations of "science," you are witnessing the rites of a religious faith. If the screams after President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement seemed overwrought, it's because Trump hadn't merely adopted a policy the other side disagreed with; he'd committed a secular, liberal, sacrilege.

Take CNN's Fareed Zakaria, who said, "This will be the day that the United States resigned as the leader of the free world." He then listed what he regarded as the benefits of Paris, without addressing why it had anything to do with American leadership.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Trump supports a "dirty-energy agenda" that is a "grave threat to our planet."

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., tried to outdo all potential 2020 rivals by saying that Trump's decision to bid Paris adieu was "catastrophic for our planet, for ourselves, and for our kids."

These overheated CO2 emissions reflect sincere emotion, but have nothing to do with facts and science. They're entirely about faith in global, intergovernmental rhetoric.

None of them acknowledged that American emissions are falling fast and will continue to do so through 2030.

In 2007, America emitted 6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. In the decade since, emissions have fallen 13 percent, to 5.2 billion metric tons. This occurred without Paris, without cap-and-trade, without a carbon tax and without former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan.

From 2003 to 2013 (the latest World Bank data), America's carbon dioxide emissions per capita fell by 16 percent, mainly because of innovative technology such as fracking and horizontal drilling — cleaner, cheaper ways to get energy. Natural gas is displacing coal. America is achieving what environmentalists say they want, but it's not doing it in the way today's green faith demands, which is through regulation, restriction, central command and economic insipidity.

To liberal environmentalists here and in European corridors of power, this makes America a villain, while Brazil and India are saints even though their per capita emissions rose by 39 percent and 60 percent respectively during the same decade. The difference is that Brazil and India pay lip service to Paris.

What about relatively more developed South Korea, where emissions rose by 22 percent? Even in Germany, where nuclear energy was cast recklessly aside, per capita emissions declined by only 6 percent in that period. America is leading, yet it's evil because it won't grovel to the new world order.

The Paris Agreement is not about reducing emissions, which it will fail to do, but about professing the faith. No good works, no actual emissions reduction, make up for the way the United States under Trump has turned away from Obama-style obeisance. The United States is the heretic while Brazil is in the state of grace. And heretics will be burned.

No sober-minded person thought Paris, a nonbinding agreement, was going to save the planet. But the faithful were always seeking a deeper sense of salvation.