The Monday Morning Teaser

The big story this week was Trump announcing that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change. It was amazing (in a bad way) to listen to his speech, because the gist of it was so divorced from actual reality: In one sentence, he described the agreement as both “nonbinding” (true) and “draconian” (false).

However, the explanation of why this was such a bad move suffered from a similar problem, especially in the eyes of low-information voters: If the agreement is nonbinding, why is it such a big deal? How can a bunch of nations stating their good intentions be so important that disavowing it has apocalyptic consequences? That disconnect, plus an inclination to distrust “liberal experts” anyway, made the criticism of Trump’s action ring false among people who are inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

What is needed, I decided, is not a deep legal analysis of the agreement, or a review of the evidence for climate change, or a description of the horrors that a few more degrees of global average heat could unleash. What we really need is a simple example from everyday life that illuminates what the Paris Agreement is and does.

I happen to have one handy. I just got done serving on the committee that organizes my church’s annual pledge drive. Like Paris, the pledge drive is voluntary, nonbinding, and vitally important to the survival of the church. The parallels actually run pretty deep. If you want to get technical, they’re both devices for building trust among a large number of individual decision-makers in the presence of a free-rider problem.

So that’s this week’s featured post: “The Paris Agreement is like my church’s pledge drive.” It should be out before 9 EDT. The weekly summary links to a bunch of other commentary on Paris, reviews the week’s progress on the Russia investigation, covers polls on both the Georgia special election and UK parliamentary election, and discusses the Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher blunders, plus a few other things, before closing with the best news I’ve heard in some while: Animaniacs is coming back. That should be out by 11 or so.

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Comments

  • Geoff Thompson  On June 5, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Doug-

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