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We're Screwed

Hardly a day goes by without hearing about climate change and the impending demise of our plant. Newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Cortez is predicting the world will end in twelve years if we don’t immediately do something, such as her proposed Green New Deal.

As a person who has worked on pioneering save the planet stuff over the past 30 years, I am both pleased and disturbed by what I hear, read, and see.

In the mid-80’s my work at GE was to promote a more effective and smarter use of the world resources. We developed a 3,000 sq. ft. research home to showcase the latest ideas and new products that could improve the world. We understood then the world has limited resources and it is in people’s best interest to be prudent about how we produce, use, and dispose of them. Our work led to the practice of certified pre-owned cars when we introduced the idea to every American and Japanese car company that automobiles had life after the original buyer if their value in terms of quality and reliability remained after the first buyer sold the car.

Many people in the craft-made products industry also feel strongly about saving the planet. Their ethos as a craft maker is attuned to making the world a better. This has led them to takes steps in their facilities to lower energy consumption, improve water conservation, and reduce waste. Bravo! Nonetheless, this will not save the planet.

Yes, it is wonderful that attention is being given to our planet and climate. But don’t be fooled. Even with all the effort by people in the US, most of what we are doing will not stem the tide of Climate Change. The data tells us this.

And this is disturbs me. A lot has been made out of how nations banded together in the Paris Climate Accord to help our planet. Yet, recently, our country walked out of it, drawing scorn at home and abroad.

However, if one looks at the exact data the Paris Climate Accord was based upon, as well as the pledge commitments countries made, we are screwed, and not because of Trump’s actions. This may contradict what you believe. I surely hope it does.

My analysis in Table 1, Paris Accord- CO2 Emissions Data & Forecast, is the CO2 emission numbers that the Paris Accord was based on in 2015. The main CO2 emitting countries and the Rest or World (the other 191 countries in the world) are in groupings to make it easier to see reality. China is by far the largest CO2 emitter. On the right side of the Table are economists and scientists own predictions for 2X and 3X C02 emission increases for China and India.

Table 1: Paris Accord- CO2 Emissions Data & Forecast

One key goal of the Accord was to hold the rise in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius. Countries were considered either as developed (e.g. the United States) or developing (e.g. China). Every country’s actual CO2 reduction amount varied and based on a volunteer pledge. A total of 196 countries committed to the climate deal in 2015. At least 55 nations — between them accounting for at least 55 percent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions, needed to formally approve the pact before it went into effect.

I hypothesized the U.S., the European Union, Russia and the entire Rest of World would reduce CO 2 emissions even more significantly then the PA was seeking, by 50%. In other words, the more likely scenario is less reductions. Meanwhile, China and India as developing nations were predicted in the next decade to increase CO2 emissions by two or three times.

My analysis shows why the world is screwed. Without significant and immediate improvement by China and India, whatever every other country does, including the U.S., total CO2 emissions will increase and are currently increasing.

This was first red flag 2 years ago. The other was the world condemning the United States while staying silent about China’s and India’s a forecasted increases. In fact, often politicians and the media are defending China from criticisms. They say things like, ‘China is a developing country, and their CO2 emissions are lower than the US on a per capita basis.’

Ask yourself this: why does the second largest economy need such an unfair advantage? If one looked at U.S. GDP output, roughly $21.5 Trillion compared to China’s $12.8 Trillion, one could conclude that the U.S. is more efficient in its production than China and produces less CO2 as measure by GDP. The very act of buying American made not Chinese made is saving the planet. But the media and politicians don’t say this. Why?

Yes, there are stories about the money the Chinese are spending to go green. Chinese communist leaders make all sorts of claims to the media and the media happily reports it as fact, even swooning over China’s efforts. Really?

Here again actual current data suggests Table 1 is likely correct, not media or politicians’ spin. In Chart 1, Best and Worst Performing Countries, are the CO2 emission numbers of the best and worst CO2 emitting countries in 2017, released in a June 2018 report.

Chart 1: Best and Worst Performing Countries

Can anyone explain why the media is demonizing America and our President while the U.S. is the best at improving? And why, with all the loud climate change voices in the EU, the EU actually increased CO2 by more than the U.S. decreased it? Given China increased CO2 emission by over three times what the U.S. reduced it by, why does media and global leaders give them a pass? And Canada, who has an economy that is 14 times smaller than the U.S. at only $1.53 Trillion, it increased its CO2 output by about 40% of what the U.S. decreased ours by?

What are the implications for wine, beer and spirit producers? Any agricultural based product will be subject to global climate change, some crops more than others. Whether it’s extreme heat or cold, or a shortage of rain or irrigation water for these crops, weather pattern changes will play a role no doubt. Searching stories in the wine, beer and spirits industries, one finds acknowledgement of this, but more likely one will also finds criticism of America, with little written about China and India who are and will have the most impact on climate. That’s an enigma to me.

If you are a craft producer who is working to improve the planet, keep doing it. It will likely lower your operating costs, build your community image, and reduce your footprint. Frankly though, it’s not enough to keep the planet from being screwed.

It’s time to change the conversation. Time to ask better questions, such as, why are world leaders, scientists, and the media ignoring the most dramatic threat to the planet?

Time to ask your local Congressperson why he or she is so quiet on this? It’s time to hold the biggest polluter accountable. This climate change hypocrisy irks me off too. When someone points at another person claiming to do no wrong, it is often to hide that person’s own misdealing’s.

More than 25 years ago, I testified on Capitol Hill about how our government should take a leadership role in making the planet better. It met ho-hum receptivity. Now, so many politicians eagerly talk about it to appear to be doing something, but the data suggests otherwise. If we want to save this planet, it must start with the truth about what’s going on, not just what the media and politicians want us to believe.

Reality is CO2 emissions are increasing, even from countries who are the loudest proponents of reducing emissions. That means we are in a sinking boat, with a few members of the crew bailing water, while the boat’s holes pour in water 3 to 4 times faster than their bailing.

“Truth only reveals itself when one gives up all preconceived ideas.” Gido Shoseki

(C) Eric Balinski- 2019

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