Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let the Copenhagen wealth transfer begin

Source: National Post - Adrian MacNair

Part of the problem with the climate change issue is that it isn’t seen as an ongoing review of scientific models and theories about human impact on planetary warmth. It has taken on a political and religious tone which makes any attempt to peer review the consensus subject to ridicule. We know that dissidents of the consensus evidence were shunned and blacklisted according to the hacked [or leaked] Climatic Research Unit emails from the University of East Anglia. Those who have challenged the prevailing urgency of action have been mocked, ridiculed, and relegated to the status of apostates.

Canada received it’s first Fossil of the Day “award” Monday at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, for its “unwavering commitment to stand firm in its inaction”. Levying shame-inducing awards on people, organizations, and countries, has been the hallmark tactic of the climate zealots for years now. By designating such a prize, on an entire country no less, it has all of the intent of telling us that this isn’t a debate between adults. It’s between an adult, and a petulant child.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has attacked “flat-earth” climate change skeptics, and the “dangerous, deceitful” attempts to derail the Copenhagen summit. Calling people who challenge the consensus “climate saboteurs” who misuse data in order to mislead people, Mr. Brown said that abandoning the process in Copenhagen would lead to misery and catastrophe. Such fervent zealotry is enough to remind one of pseudo-religious fundamentalism.

Make no mistake. Copenhagen is mainly about a massive wealth transfer from industrialized and energy-producing nations like Canada, to developing nations who will agree to curtail emissions in exchange for having their economic growth offset with welfare from the first world. It would impose no obligations on developing countries, but would set up the clean development mechanism (CDM) by which developed countries could meet commitments by reducing emissions in developing countries, transferring capital in their direction in the process. A global cap and trade scheme.

And how do we know that a cap and trade scheme won’t do much more than transfer wealth between day traders? Because, as Lorrie Goldstein writes, that’s what it’s predecessor Kyoto was. The two major initiatives that emerged from Kyoto were the Emissions Trading Scheme, and mechanisms to generate carbon credits for industry. ETS did not, however, protect the environment or curtail carbon emissions. It merely drove up energy costs and made carbon traders rich. Lakshmi Mittal, Great Britain’s richest man, benefited from a £1-billion portfolio in carbon trading.

No, there are no good guys at Copenhagen, as Norman Spector writes in the Globe. Unlike the Kyoto protocol, and as demonstrated by Gordon Brown, this time every country seems to be on board with some global agreement on carbon. Even China is willing to get on board, provided the rest of us offset their lost development with credits to make them happy [and wealthy]. The worst part of it all is that this time around the summit appears to be largely politically driven; that is to say that politicians instead of scientists are pushing for an agreement in order to bring results to their electorate, who say they want some kind of global framework to deal with climate change.

Yes, Copenhagen 2009 is expected to produce results. And 1,200 limos, 140 private planes, and 5 electric cars strong, the successor to the Kyoto Protocol is well underway in deciding the fate for the rest of us.

National Post

Adrian MacNair is a Vancouver-based writer and blogger. Read more here.

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