In its press release at the conclusion of the climate change conference in Paris, the government drew an extremely positive picture of a 'historic global climate deal… [in which] the whole world has signed up to play its part in halting climate change'. This description of affairs seems to justify continuing the UK's policy of drastic and costly decarbonisation efforts to 'mitigate' global warming.

But the government's accounts are so misleading that they completely undermine public consideration of the issues. The Paris Agreement not only fails to ground the mitigation policy, it ensures the policy will fail. Two principal points should be made.

First, the gover...

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