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Twenty-five years after the adoption of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change on May 9, 1992, the world has yet to implement a treaty that effectively addresses global warming. Now, following President Donald Trump's withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate agreement, it is time to investigate more deeply the forces driving delay.Throughout the 1990s, the American Petroleum Institute – the largest oil and gas trade association and lobbying group in the U.S. – repeatedly relied on economic models created by two economists, Paul Bernstein and W. David Montgomery, to argue that pro-climate policies would be devastatingly expensive. Sixteen years later, Trump stood in the White House Rose Garden and announced, with equal sophistry, that the Paris climate agreement would devastate the U.S. economy and cost America some 2.7 million jobs, mostly in the construction industry, by 2025 .In addition to commissioning studies claiming that climate policies would hurt the U.S. economy, the industry also consistently claims that efforts to address global warming would be uniquely harmful to the U.S., would not reduce the risks, and might prevent poverty alleviation.The same arguments – and people – used by the fossil fuel industry to block climate policies decades ago are back.
Global warming’s paper trail for the past two centuries
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