Carbon emissions from United States down, but rising elsewhere

Curious, is it not, that the major industrial power doing the most to battle climate change is the target of the bulk of criticism regarding that concern?

With a new general session of the United Nations underway, multiple world leaders are citing worry about a range of issues. In fairness to them, it should be noted they seem to recognize that climate change, while important, is not the most immediate threat facing the planet.

Confrontations in the Middle East and between India and Pakistan, along with tensions affecting Israel and the Palestinians and conflicts in places ranging from Afghanistan to Yemen have been cited by various U.N. attendees. Good for them for having their priorities in order, even if they often differ on how to address disputes.

But climate change remains a headliner. An Associated Press story on the new U.N. session began with, “The planet is getting hotter, and tackling that climate peril will grab the spotlight” at the world body.

To hear critics — many right here at home as well as in other countries — the United States is public enemy No. 1 in regard to climate change. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull this country out of the agreement has been criticized widely.

Had the pact been handled as a treaty, it would be the most expensive one ever entered into by the United States. But in 2016, when the accords were formalized, then-President Barack Obama decided representatives of the American people should not have the opportunity to vote on the matter, as required by most treaties. So Obama signed the measure into law as an executive order.

Since Trump’s decision to pull out, he has been criticized viciously — and that is the appropriate word — for allegedly allowing the world to slide deeper into what critics insist is a global warming abyss.

But consider this: The United States is not the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide. China is, at about twice the level of our country. And the Paris agreement provided virtually no guarantee Beijing would take action to reduce carbon emissions. Other so-called “developing countries” got similar breaks.

If you are tempted to hop on the anti-American bandwagon regarding climate change, consider this: Carbon emissions from our country are decreasing. They are about 13 percent lower than in 2005.

Meanwhile, carbon emissions from the rest of the world go up steadly. They have increased by about 25 percent since 2010.

So, are we Americans the enemy on climate change? You decide.


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