Smoke rising from towers Oliver Berg/Getty Images

A Climate Cure Worse than the Disease

The climate policies lauded in Paris at the One Planet Summit this month are essentially high-cost, low-effect gestures. While the EU will devote 20% of its budget this year to climate-related action, even fully achieving the accord's emissions targets throughout this century would prevent just 0.053°C of global warming by 2100.

JAIPUR – Two years after the Paris climate agreement was signed, the French capital this month again attracted the world’s good and great, who gathered for President Emmanuel Macron’s One Planet Summit. In turns blasting US President Donald Trump for withdrawing from the Paris accord and telling each other that it remains on track, politicians formed a self-congratulatory huddle with celebrity campaigners and business leaders.

We should treat such smug bonhomie with caution. Goodwill isn’t enough to stop climate change, and history is littered with well-meaning policies that turned out to be unhelpful, or even worse than the problems they were meant to address.

One particularly harrowing example was Mao Zedong’s attempt to improve crop yields and health by eradicating sparrows. The population of locusts ballooned, contributing to a famine that claimed around 30 million lives.

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