Worldview WeekendBy Henry Lamb
Copenhagen is about to become the successor to Kyoto as the synonym for the U.N.'s plan to control climate change. The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet in Copenhagen December 7-18. Until this meeting ends, expect to hear a growing number of climate-related horror stories, presented by a wide array of so-called environmentalists, at a rising decibel level that's sure to drive the sane quite mad.
The UNFCCC was a voluntary treaty through which the United States agreed to voluntarily reduce carbon emissions in 1992. At the very first meeting of the COP in 1995, the delegates decided to add a "Protocol" to the treaty that would make specific emissions reduction targets set by the U.N. body legally binding on 34 developed nations. The U.S. Senate adopted a resolution instructing the Clinton administration to not participate in the Protocol unless it included all nations, or if it would have a negative impact on the U.S. economy.
At the third meeting of the COP in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, the U.S. delegation followed the Senate's instruction and refused to agree to the terms set for the United States by the U.N. body, because the developing nations refused to accept any reduction in their carbon emissions. The impasse lasted well into the second week of the meeting.
Then, Prince Albert Gore made his entrance. In a private meeting in his hotel suite, Gore negotiated a deal that completely ignored the Senate resolution, and agreed to accept a legally binding emissions reduction equal to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012, while agreeing to impose absolutely no requirements on developing nations. The Senate was steamed, and Clinton knew better than to transmit the Kyoto Protocol for ratification.
One of the two really good things that George W. Bush did was to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol altogether. (The other good thing he did was to withdraw from the International Criminal Court).
The United Nations, Hollywood, environmental organizations, and most of the Democrats, squalled, bawled, cursed, and ridiculed "W" for his cavalier, go-it-alone, cowboy swagger. The Kyoto Protocol went into effect without the United States' participation.
The Copenhagen meeting is supposed to produce the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which will expire in 2012. This new agreement is supposed to set new emissions reductions targets, even more onerous than the Kyoto targets. The same arguments plague the negotiations leading up to the Copenhagen meeting that plagued negotiations in Kyoto: developing nations absolutely do not want any kind of reductions imposed upon them, while insisting that developed nations, especially the United States, be forced to drastically reduce carbon emissions.
Problem for Obama: he has as much as promised the world that the United States would rejoin the international climate change treaty â€“ regardless of the cost. Apparently, he thought his promise, and his teleprompter would be sufficient to persuade developing nations to join the party. So far, they haven't. His ace-in-the-hole is his "Cap & Trade" bill that he wants signed before the Copenhagen meeting. If he gets his bill, he can tell the developing nations that the U.S. has already done its part, and that he will not sign the Copenhagen agreement unless the developing nations do. Of course, if he doesn't get the Cap & Trade bill before Copenhagen, he may have to develop a new strategy.
Notice the absence of any discussion about the validity of climate change science, or the need to control it? Climate change has nothing to do with the negotiations or the meetings, or the treaties. It never has. Climate change is simply an excuse to construct a monstrous international bureaucracy that meets many times each year in exotic venues around the world. Billions of dollars flow into and out of the climate change industry. No one involved in the climate change business wants to hear anything other than a new horror story to put the fear of catastrophe into appropriators.
Dissent is worse than a dirty word at these U.N. meetings. The actual meetings where negotiations occur are closed. Mercy be unto anyone caught with a tape recorder or video camera in an area other than a lobby of cafeteria, or when accompanied by a U.N. staff member. Literature may not be distributed unless first approved by the U.N. staff. In fact, ordinary people cannot even get into one of these meetings. Only official delegates of a government, approved representatives of accredited NGOs, or approved press professionals can register.
Watch the momentum mount as the December meeting draws closer. Ice caps will melt faster, oceans will rise higher, droughts will be more severe, snow falls will be deeper, ice storms will be slicker, crops will fail more often, men will become impotent, and African pygmies will be recruited by the Boston Celtics â€“ all because of climate change â€“ with the only cure being enslavement by a new Copenhagen Protocol to the Climate Change Treaty.