US secretary of state John Kerry rejected criticism from climate scientist James Hansen that the climate talks that took place in Paris were fraudulent, and insisted the deal will lead the world into switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The Paris climate talks was seen as a success by world leaders after 195 nations concurred to reduce CO2 emissions in a way to sustain global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. The participants at the conference also agreed to fund poorer countries with $100 billion to help them deal with climate change.
However, Hansen, a a former NASA scientist, stated the talks were a “fraud” and “fake” since they would not result in a carbon tax that would decrease fossil fuel use.
Kerry disagreed with Hansen’s comments. “Look, I have great respect for Jim Hansen and I was there in 1988 when he first warned everybody climate change was happening. But with all due respect to him, I understand the criticisms of the agreement because it doesn’t have a mandatory scheme and it doesn’t have a compliance enforcement mechanism. That’s true. But we have 186 countries, for the first time in history, all submitting independent plans that they have laid down, which are real, for reducing emissions. And what it does, in my judgment, more than anything else, there is a uniform standard of transparency. And therefore, we will know what everybody is doing. The result will be a very clear signal to the marketplace of the world that people are moving into low carbon, no carbon, alternative renewable energy. And I think it’s going to create millions of jobs, enormous new investment in R&D [research and development], and that R&D is going to produce the solutions, not government.”
Before, Kerry and Hansen disagreed over the idea of a fee on each ton of CO2 emissions. Hansen said he spent an hour trying to persuade Kerry about the benefits of the idea with no success. He said the cap-and-trade plan–which was abandoned later on–did not properly price fossil fuels in relation to effect on the environment and human health.
Hansen said he had faith that Obama would convince Republicans and the public that a carbon fee could combat climate change, but he felt let down by Obama. “But he’s not particularly good at that. He didn’t make it a priority and now it’s too late for him.”