Climate confab ends with little harm done

Freedom New Mexico

The 17th worldwide conference intended to whip 190-plus nations into a fighting mood to combat global warming concluded in Durban, South Africa, this week, thankfully, without doing much harm.

Global warming true believers spin the United Nations event as a success for extending for five years the 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement to cap greenhouse emissions that was to expire next year. But the new agreement doesn’t advance the cause much, if at all.

Moreover, failure to arrive at meaningful, enforceable terms signals fundamental problems beset the movement.

Representatives of developed countries, such as the United States and European nations, and developing countries including China and India, essentially agreed to come to a meaningful, enforceable agreement later. At this rate, it’s doubtful anything meaningful or enforceable will be agreed upon by the 2020 deadline.

Meanwhile, Canada this week withdrew from the Kyoto pact, citing its prohibitive costs, about $1,600 per Canadian family. Russia and Japan have no intention of being bound by the protocol’s limitations. The United States didn’t have to back out of Kyoto — It never agreed to abide by it. The Senate rejected the Kyoto treaty 95-0 in 1997.

The new agreement “doesn’t explicitly compel any nation to take on emissions targets, although most emerging economies have volunteered to curb the growth of their emissions,” the Associated Press reported as thousands of conference attendees departed Durban on jet planes, leaving good-sized carbon footprints in their wake.

We have been critical of Kyoto and subsequent efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions for many of the same reasons the movement has lost momentum.

Despite the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control insisting that global temperatures will soar as carbon dioxide emissions increase, temperatures, instead, have remained flat for nearly 13 years, even as CO2 emissions have skyrocketed. Clearly, the science is far from settled. The glaring difference between projected calamity and real-life is a growing embarrassment that is difficult for zealots to explain.

Perhaps more damaging to the global warming movement has been economic reality. Developing nations use global warming to wrench reparations from richer, more developed nations, ostensibly to compensate for climate damage done by industrial growth. Meanwhile, China and India, two of the largest and fastest growing economies on the planet, are exempt from greenhouse gas emission limits, ostensibly because they are developing, not developed nations. China, incidentally, passed the U.S. recently as the world’s leading greenhouse gas emitter.

Global warming, if it is happening, appears to be barely noticeable, not dangerous and probably beneficial to crops and humanity. But it has been an excuse for redistribution of wealth from nations with more to nations with less. Profiteers have gamed the system to produce more costly energy with so-called clean technologies that can’t compete in the market without hefty tax subsidies.

The upshot of the two-week Durban conference is that even those seeking to profit from others and to game the system appear to be acknowledging how frail their cause has become.

The language agreed to in Durban, says the Associated Press, “left some analysts warning that the wording left huge loopholes for countries to avoid tying their emissions to legal constraints, and noted that there was no mention of penalties.”

We suspect this feckless pact will be about as serious an enforcement tool as global warming is a threat.