Flat White

The Paris Accord now looks like a suicide note from Western democracies

1 June 2020

10:28 AM

1 June 2020

10:28 AM

Number nine in Craig Kelly’s series 20 reasons why the Wuhan Flu is the final nail in the climate alarmists’ coffin.

It is now four and a half years since the euphoria of the Paris Climate Accord. At the time, United States President Obama hailed it as “a turning point for the world.” The then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon labelled it “a monumental success for the planet and its people.” 

And such was the exhilaration and excitement amongst the fourth estate after the Conference, my jesting comments (in an attempt to highlight the absurdity of the whole thing) were taken and reported seriously: “At home in Australia, there were more Kumbaya statements from local politicians. Leading the charge, Liberal MP Craig Kelly, seemingly overwhelmed with joy exclaimed ‘Hallelujah. The world is saved … The polar bears can sleep soundly tonight’.”

However, with the passage of the time and as the euphoria has died down, the world has had a chance to consider the devil in the detail. For under the Paris Climate Accord, Western nations have agreed to punish their economies, limit their growth, and incur tens of billions in unnecessary costs – all in the belief that this will somehow reduce the incidents of bad weather. 

While in contrast under Paris, the Chinese Communist Party has agreed to: “Achieve the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and making best efforts to peak early ….. to create a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally developed and harmonious modern socialist country by the middle of this century.”

In other words, under the Paris Climate Accord, while the Western democracies have signed up to an immediate economic self-flagellation, China is free to expand its industrial output; to produce as much steel, aluminium & concrete, and to build as many new coal-fired power stations as the mandarins of the Chinese Communist Party see fit up – all the way up until the year 2030. And post- 2030, they have not committed to reducing the emissions of even a single molecule of CO2. 

The terms of the Climate Accord also provide an incentive for a transfer of industrial production (and wealth) from the Western democracies to China. Yet simply transferring industrial production from one nation to another, doesn’t result in any net reduction in C02 emissions. In fact, it is more likely to increase CO2 emissions when production is moved to China as their electrical grid has a higher carbon dioxide intensity.   

Further, as a result of the Paris Climate Accord, Western democracies have little choice than to force-feed solar/wind power into their electricity grids, making their grids less efficient and more costly. Therefore, as the world’s largest exporter of solar panels and wind turbines, China wins again and becomes even wealthier from selling these to western democracies. For example, in 2018/19 Australia paid China $1,674,982,331.00 (FOB value) to buy solar panels (87% of our nation’s imports). Meanwhile, we made our electricity more expensive by adding $1,740,000,000.00 (in 2019 alone) in hidden green taxes to electricity bills to pay for subsidies to encourage people to put solar panels on their roof. 

Further still, as result of the Paris Climate Accord, banks in the Western Democracies are turning their backs on loaning money to developing nations for coal-fired power stations, leaving China’s ‘debt trap’ Belt & Road fund as the lender of last resort. This has enabled China to greatly increase its influence throughout Asia, Africa and the Balkans where China has already committed over US$20 billion in loans for new coal-fired power stations.

China has committed to more than $20 billion in funding for coal plants

Source: The Guardian/Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Simply, the terms of the Paris Climate Accord result in China increasing its strength; economically, politically and militarily vis-à-vis the Western democracies.

Since the Paris agreement, the world has witnessed China engaging in an unprecedented military build-up, increasing their official military spending by 25% from US$142.4 billion in 2015 to $178.6 billion in 2020.

However, how much China actually spends on its military is widely debated. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) put China’s 2018 military expenditure at $225 billion, making it the second-largest spender in the world, behind the United States.

And while the conventional wisdom has been that China’s military spending still lags significantly behind that of the USA, Frederico Bartels, a policy analyst for defence budgeting at the Davis Institute for National Security & Foreign Policy notes in Defence One, ”it’s misleading to make comparisons of military spending based on simply converting Beijing’s reported defence budget from yuan to dollars by applying a market exchange rate”. 

Bartels argues that accounting for differences in reporting structures, purchasing power, and labour costs, you find that Beijing’s Military budget is already about 87% of America’s.

And if there was any doubt, last year’s military parade in Beijing left little question that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) now ranks among the world’s leading militaries. At this military parade, China showed off to the world its advanced supersonic drones, hypersonic glide vehicles, supersonic anti-ship missiles, ballistic missile systems, stealth fighters, numerous tanks and armoured fighting vehicles. These included new military hardware such as the DF-41, an Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of up to 15,000 km and capable of carrying 10 nuclear warheads that can each further manoeuvre independently – giving one missile the ability to nuke 10 targets simultaneously. (And some are worried that the greatest danger we face is that an average global temperature of 14 C is too hot.)

Also, China’s navy has expanded to become the world’s largest naval force in terms of ship numbers. In the year after the Paris Climate Accord, China commissioned 18 ships, while the US Navy commissioned only five. China’s naval modernization priorities include commissioning more nuclear submarines and a third aircraft carrier which is expected to be operational by 2022.

And then there is China’s space program. China is targeting a launch for its Mars mission later this year, which will include landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the red planet. In addition, China is planning to put Chinese astronauts on the moon as well as having a fully operational space station by 2022.

During the heady days and the euphoria of the Paris Climate Conference, many may have turned a blind eye to China’s military build-up and their territorial ambitions in the South China Sea — all in a desire to achieve a ‘photo opportunity’ of a consensus agreement.  

While fools like the champagne-socialist Christina Figueres looked upon China’s authoritarian model of governance with envy, delegates at the Paris Conference were so drunk with the delusional belief and near-religious zealotry that they were “saving the world”, they failed to question the naively optimistic view that in increasing­ly globalised world, China’s continuing rapid economic growth would lead to China integrating peacefully into a rules-based international order. And they gave little or no thought, that terms of the Paris Climate Accord (that they gleefully celebrated) would increase China’s strength; economically, politically and militarily vis-à-vis the Western democracies – and how dangerous this potentially was. 

But that was before the Wuhan Flu.

The Wuhan Flu has reminded the world of the authoritarian rule under which China operates –- and the danger this poses. 

Just a few examples:

  • International health regulations require countries to report the risk of a health emergency within 24 hours. Yet China failed to inform the World Health Organization of Wuhan’s several cases of pneumonia, of unknown origin, until December 31, 2019, even though it likely knew of these cases days or weeks earlier.
  • While boasting about “transparency”, China silenced and punished several doctors for speaking out about the virus and restricted Chinese institutions from publishing information about it.
  •  In January, in direct conflict with censored reports from Wuhan, China claimed that the coronavirus could not be transmitted between humans. The World Health Organisation parroted China’s claim stating: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) identified in Wuhan, China.”
  • At the very same time they were telling the world there was nothing to worry about, staff from Chinese government-backed companies working Australia were instructed to put their normal work on hold and go and buy up in bulk; surgical masks, thermometers, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitisers, gloves and Panadol for airfreight back to China.
  • While China implemented strict internal domestic travel restrictions, they vigorously objected to the international the travel bans from China implemented by Australia and the USA. And as of February 3, 2020, China was still strongly pressuring countries to lift or forestall travel restrictions to and from China. 

And yet, we have a Paris Climate Accord that is based upon the premise that is not a problem to enable China to greatly strengthen itself vis-à-vis the Western democracies; economically, politically and militarily over the next decade, on the wing and a prayer hope that post-2030 that China might then voluntarily agree to surrender the advantages its has obtained and start reducing its CO2, to stop bad weather. Are we barking mad? 

With China’s escal­ating aggressive­ military build-up, their pending forceful takeover and suppression of democracy of Hong Kong, their growing intimidation of Taiwan, their expansionist conduct in the South China sea, including militarisation of islands, their per­sis­t­ent cyber-espionage, their threats to their global trading partners, and so on – to hand the Chinese Communist Party such an advantage makes the Paris Climate Accord look more and more like a ‘suicide note’ for the Western democracies – and potentially the most dangerous, stupid and foolhardy global agreement ever entered into in the City of Lights. 

Craig Kelly is the Liberal Member for Hughes

Illustrations: Craig Kelly unless credited otherwise. 

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