Wednesday, December 05, 2007

10,000 Jet Into Bali To Confer On Climate Change Pact

Today is the start of a UN conference in Bali, Indonesia to hammer out a pact on global warming. It appears that the UN could not have picked a better location to host. Bali is one of the most inaccessible cities in the world from Europe and the US, and the 10,000 attendees have to fly into the country, expending serious amounts of the gases that the very same attendees claim are causing global warming.

Whatever happened to teleconferencing to limit the impact on the environment? I guess when you get to fly off to the exotic city of Bali, such concerns about the environment take a back seat to the fun in the sun. It shows the unseriousness about the very issue that these attendees claim is so dire that the failure to act will mean catastrophic changes to the world's climate. Jetting off to exotic locales to confer on the problem shows that the so-called environmentalists are more concerned with their airline miles than they are with reducing emissions.

Indonesia is claiming that it is planting millions of trees to offset the conference. Well, by that logic, if every nation simply plants more trees, we'd all be able to continue at the current pace of emissions, while providing the offsets needed for such emissions. However, such a plan would mean no money/tax on nations that emit, and therein lies the problem. The UN and climate change proponents are looking at a way of taxing countries and emitters, and they want to have their hands in the cookie jar.

It's entertaining to watch the spinning going on at Bali by the UN officials, but this conference will not accomplish anything:
''Public expectations for Bali to provide answers are big,'' de Boer exhorted the delegates. ''The eyes of the world are now upon you. There is a huge responsibility for Bali to deliver.'' But Bali won’t deliver an agreement to cut the carbon emissions that are the top reason for global warming. It won’t deliver commitments from the world’s top three sources of carbon emissions - including host country Indonesia - to accept emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. Despite the millions spent on airfares, hotel rooms, taxis, and resort meals, it won’t deliver a dime to poor or rich countries to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Indonesia’s Environment Minister and president of the conference Rachmat Witoelar said: ''Climate change is unequivocal and accelerating,'' seemingly sounding the clarion call for bold action. Except that we’re talking about the UN here. ''Countries now have to agree on the agenda for the negotiations,'' Witoelar continued. ''This will cover the key areas for the new climate change deal and what the organizational and procedural arrangements are to get to this result.'' Wake me when CNN news personality Anderson Cooper floats by on the next melting ice cap.

''If you’re hearing messages about what it’s not, that’s because we and Indonesia have tried to keep realistic about what will emerge from the conference,'' UNFCCC conference spokesman John Hay explained. ''Politically, if there’s agreement for negotiations to be carried out to reach an agreement on a successor to Kyoto, then Bali is a success. Anything less is unacceptable.'' Hay added, ''It’s true that the Indonesian presidency for the conference and the UN are keen on managing expectations.'' Simpler, perhaps, than managing meaningful results.

Despite UN IPCC scientists’ calls for urgent action, there’s a palpable lack of urgency. Some officials here use the term ''road map'' to describe what’s likely to emerge from the Bali meeting. But in fact, the map is already drawn. After Bali 2007 comes Poland 2008, then Denmark 2009. By then, perhaps there will be a successor regime in place of Kyoto after 2012. But with three years of wiggle room, don’t be surprised if the route to agreement runs through additional resorts.
Kyoto doesn't limit China or India's emissions, even as China now exceeds US emissions, and is expected to grow even more over the years so that any reductions by the US or EU will be swallowed up by the increase in Chinese emissions.

Of course, there's also the problem with the science on which this conference is based. If you want to reduce pollution for the sake of cleaner air, that's one thing, but claiming that you have to reduce pollution because the climate will change if we don't is unadulterated folly. There is one sure thing about the earth's climate. It is always in a state of change. The earth has alternated between ice age and periods of warming. There are long-term cycles and shorter term cycles, both of which can span millenia.

Well, Texas environmentalists haven't gotten the memo about sustainable and renewable energy sources like wind power. They're busy litigating a wind power project to death in Texas claiming that the wind turbines will kill migratory birds and that the permitting process didn't have the proper environmental reviews.

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