Wednesday, May 22, 2013
There are some interesting variations in news reports about the recently concluded U.N. climate conference at Doha, Qatar.
The Associated Press version, printed in this newspaper on Dec. 9, was headlined, "U.N. conference adopts extension of Kyoto accord," but the Reuters account on its website the same day carried the label, "Despair after climate conference, but U.N. still offers hope."
Despair? Well, Alden Meyer of the left-wing Union of Concerned Scientists told the AP, "At the end of the day, ministers (delegates) were left with two unpalatable choices: accept an abysmally weak deal, or see the talks collapse in acrimony and despair -- with no clear path forward."
Reuters added, "At the end of another lavishly-funded U.N. conference that yielded no progress on curbing greenhouse emissions, many of those most concerned about climate change are close to despair.
"As thousands of delegates checked out of their air-conditioned hotel rooms in Doha to board their jets for home, some asked whether the U.N. system even made matters worse by providing cover for leaders to take no meaningful action."
No progress? But didn't the delegates who traveled to yet another richly expensive resort destination on carbon-spewing jetliners create, as the AP noted, a two-year extension of the Kyoto protocol?
Well, sorta. It's hard to see how the word "global" can be applied to a carbon-reducing pact that the United States never joined, nations the size of Canada, Russia and Japan have repudiated and to which huge carbon-emitting countries such as China and India are exempt.
In fact, Reuters reported Dec. 10 that three more nations, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, said they would likely repudiate "Kyoto-2" because it would block their economic growth.
So, if that process has reached its sell-by date, what's the outlook for a successor agreement when the next gold-plated conference rolls around in 2015?
Here's Reuters' take: "... With the world's nations divided over who must pay the cost, the task of reaching accord seems beyond the capabilities of the vast corps of international delegates."
Hey, who says there's no good news in the paper anymore?
All Doha did was make it clearer that the climate change establishment exists to feather its own nest while seeking large-scale control over people's lives, with taxpayers (as usual) footing the bill.
Typical was a plan to raise $100 billion annually from taxpayers in the United States and other industrial nations to help poorer countries "deal with the impact of climate change."
So far, the plan has lots of backers, but precious little money. Like the luxurious conference settings, that proves conferees talk a big game, but live as if they didn't really believe their apocalyptic rhetoric. So, why should we?
Meanwhile, many nations in Europe are cutting back on high-cost but low-reward renewable energy subsidies and turning instead to vast new resources of oil and natural gas now available through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
And look at this: According to the latest data released Oct. 14 by the United Kingdom's Meteorological Office, which with the University of East Anglia together comprise the U.N.'s official repository of climate data, after a rise in global temperatures from 1980 until 1996, there has been absolutely no net change in the succeeding 16 years despite continuing increases in carbon dioxide levels levels.
Of course, sooner or later, the needle will move -- but which way?
As the Bloomberg financial news site reported Nov. 8, "Human emissions of fossil carbon into the atmosphere and the resulting increase in temperatures may be holding off the next ice age, according to research from Sweden's University of Gothenburg."
The story added, "'We are probably entering a new ice age right now,' Lars Franzen, a professor of physical geography at the university, was cited as saying in an online statement. 'However, we're not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide.'"
If you do believe rising carbon dioxide levels inevitably raise temperatures, holding continent-covering mile-thick ice sheets at bay would seem more important than worrying about a 2- or 3-degree rise in temperature, right?
But maybe we don't need to worry all that much.
Mostly because more natural gas is being used to generate power, an Environmental Protection Agency annual forecast just said U.S. carbon emissions will remain below 2005 levels until at least 2040.
Yet, the EPA is readying a host of emission regulations that will hit fossil-fuel generators hard, guaranteeing substantial increases in electricity rates across much of the country.
The rules accompany proposals in Congress for new carbon taxes. (You don't pay enough for gasoline and fuel oil now?)
Continuing to keep our air and water clean is a worthwhile goal, but these moves have almost nothing to do with that and very much to do with centralizing power in the hands of an ideologically committed green elite.
M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org