A Climate Agreement Powered by Hypocrisy
PARIS – The beautiful Champs-Élysées is lit with millions of sparkling lights. This year, they are powered by renewable energy. There is a wind turbine as tall as the Arc de Triomphe, and 440 solar panels take up much of the Champs-Élysées roundabout. One evening during the COP21 climate change conference this month, there was neither sunlight nor wind, so organizers asked those of us strolling down the avenue to power the lights via stationary bikes and hamster wheels.
“Pedal power” delivered great images for the television crews that were here to cover the summit. But these “green energy” bikes amount to a victory of empty gestures over substance and reason – which makes them sadly representative of COP21 itself.
The agreement reached in Paris contains promises that, if enacted between now and the target date of 2030, will cost the global economy at least $1 trillion dollars a year – and possibly twice as much if politicians make inefficient policy choices. This makes the agreement the costliest in history.