Opinion: It’s Time to Drop the Hype and Get Real About Climate Change
By Lorrie Goldstein
This December, world leaders will gather in Denmark to draft a successor agreement to the Kyoto Accord.
This means you’ll be hearing increasing hysteria this fall — hard to imagine, I know — from all the usual “green” suspects about how we have only months left to save the planet from man-made global warming.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon warned last week we have just “four months” — until Copenhagen — “to secure the future of our planet” from runaway climate change, or face environmental Armageddon.
Leading up to Copenhagen, “environmental” journalists will breathlessly report the latest doomsday predictions and how the Earth’s only hope lies with a post-Kyoto accord, the UN and U. S. President Barack Obama.
In Canada, there will be predictable outrage about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s lack of concern, even though his commitment to lower greenhouse-gas emissions is essentially the same as Obama’s.
In any event, we’ll all be warned to prepare for the worst.
Then, assuming this Kyoto meeting resembles past ones, at the eleventh hour, there will suddenly be reports of renewed hope in Copenhagen, of tense, round-the-clock negotiations, of a new spirit of urgency as world leaders, spurred on by noble environmentalists, realize the enormity of what’s at stake.
Finally, after several extended (and artificial) deadlines, there will, miraculously, emerge a successor deal to Kyoto that, according to the hype, “may well save the planet,” as Canadian Green Party Leader Elizabeth May announced at the end of a similar, now-forgotten meeting in Montreal in 2005 chaired by Stephane Dion.
The thing to remember about all this is that it will be nonsense. A fantasy.
“Success” in Copenhagen won’t be defined by lowering greenhouse-gas emissions. It will be defined by whether the developed world — including Canada — bribes the developing world — led by China and India — with sufficient billions of our money, to purportedly reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions emissions, so that participants emerge declaring that a deal to “save the planet” has been reached.
But it won’t lower emissions. All it will do is make the world safer for hedge fund managers and energy companies as they rake in undeserved profits in the global “cap and trade” market about to be unleashed on us all.
Numbers tell the real story. Under Kyoto, a few dozen industrialized nations, including Canada, responsible for a mere fraction of global greenhouse-gas emissions, agreed to reduce them by an average 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. (Canada’s target was 6%.)
Meanwhile, the world’s two largest emitters — the U. S. and China, responsible for 40% of emissions (Canada emits 2%) — and the entire developing world, made no commitments. The U. S. never ratified Kyoto. The developing world wasn’t required to cut emissions.
So, where do we stand? The latest estimate from Germany, which monitors these things, is that global greenhouse-gas emissions last year were up 40% over 1990, rose every year for the past 10, and increased by almost 2% last year, despite the worldwide recession.
Simply put, being at 40% above 1990 levels in 2008 means reducing them to an average 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2012, even for the handful of nations supposed to do it, is impossible. And Kyoto is only about one-thirteenth of what supposedly needs to be done.
More ridiculous are proposed future cuts of up to 40% below 1990 by 2020, 80% by 2050.
Indeed, Obama, the alleged global green knight, is only promising to reduce U. S. greenhouse- gas emissions to 4% below 1990 levels by 2020.
If the doomsayers are right, we’ve failed to stop runaway global warming. We’re already dead.
But if, as seems increasingly likely, early research into global warming underestimated natural influences on climate, while overestimating man’s impact, we still have time to develop a rational program to address the real issue — weaning ourselves off finite fossil fuels and on to cleaner energy sources in a realistic time frame, given that renewable power is in its infancy.
Copyright 2009, KWG
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