If the world’s leaders who assembled in Copenhagen knew in advance, as everyone else did, that reaching an agreement to create a binding, enforceable treaty obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by defined targets by specific dates, the final outcome of this week’s grand event to save the planet was all the more a sham. But a litany of sober speeches and prospects of doom were not enough to bring the parties to agreement—except to keep talking.
Let’s face it, this is a wonderful outcome to what could have been a total train wreck. An enforceable treaty would, almost certainly, enacted sweeping wealth redistribution, onerous carbon taxes to pay for it, the mass migration of energy intensive business from countries on the hook to those on the lam. This was a climate crisis of epic proportions in the making.
In drama it was only upstaged by the circus going on in the US Congress surrounding health care reform, cap and trade, the need for more stimulus since the first two plans did not work, and the Omnibus Defense Spending Bill that looks more like the Omnibus Christmas Tree with all its promised earmarks seeking to buy votes for other lost causes.
But wait, maybe they are related. Did President Obama go to Copenhagen because he thought he had a better chance of getting something there than on Capitol Hill? The odds now look like he will fail in Congress like he failed in Copenhagen.
New Year’s Resolutions
It is good that we will have a few days break to ponder the significance of all this hot air and lost momentum while the spin-masters work their magic to explain down expectations. This will force many camps to revise their New Year’s Resolutions:
Al Gore: Step up sales of emissions credits as fast as you can while this gravy train still has legs. I need to make another $100 million before this thing collapses of its own weight.
True Believers: We’ve been screwed. These lying, cheating, back stabbing politicians will say anything but even when we had them in our grasp we could not close the deal. Damn! This was our best shot and we blew it.
True Deniers: We’ve been saved. Those liberal do-gooders would have sold us down the river. Thank goodness for China and a few other countries that still believe in capitalism.
Carbon Marketers: Holy Methane! Our business model just fizzled out. How will we sell these same rain forest preservation deals now when everyone agreed to cheat.
Coal Producers: Burn Baby Burn! We are back in business.
CEOs: WTF! Why did I just agree to invest billions to make my company look clean and green when these politicians can’t even agree to count what I’m doing. Now the Chinese are going to go like hell to take my market share and Obama is still going to raise my taxes!
Harry Reid: We’re roadkill!
Nancy Pelosi: We scored a great victory in getting all these nations to work together and the long term results will show President Obama’s leadership made a huge difference. He deserves all the credit for this.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce: How Sweet It Is!
The combination of events that is casting a foul mood over the COP15 party reads like the plot line of a soap opera. But the the actors are actual politicians working overtime to get themselves out of their sticky situation by reducing expectations for COP15 outcomes they can no longer deliver. All except for President Obama whose decision to go to Copenhagen has not wavered—much. He now plans to arrive near the end of the event since Congress failed to give him a cap and trade legislative victory to wave to the crowds as he motorcades past The Mermaid on the way to the adoring world chattering classes.
The CRU email-gate scandal is certainly a juicy plot twist in this soap opera even if it does have inconvenient timing but it seems to have scared off Al Gore (the perfect villain) from attending the event.
The ‘You’ve Got to be Kidding Me’ Effect
But let’s face it, what is really happening is that the combination of forces having the most impact is that the BRIC countries have hung together saying NO! We will not shoot ourselves in the foot for your Euro-American political correctness.
China and India have now offered up goals they are prepared to work toward—and if they do so it would not only be good for the planet and good for their own economy and populations. Americans are also looking at economic reality and have come to the conclusion they we do not want to shoot ourselves in the foot either by imposing huge costs on our economy just as we seek to recover from this Great Recession. These are the realities driving the reduced expectations for Copenhagen.
The CRU-email scandal can have a positive outcome if it takes some of the hot air out of the climate crisis advocates and forces a realistic and balanced look at the true climate science (whatever it is) and the economic impacts of cures that may actually be worse than the disease.
Too bad they canceled the soap opera The Guiding Light after 50 years on TV. This climate crisis stuff offers an entirely new set of plot lines and intrigue. Al Gore could even play himself!
There are plenty of good and sufficient reasons we should be good stewards of our planet and take actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Following our politicians off the cliff for the sake of political correctness or their own political aspirations is not one of them.
We believe in science and technology and have found the inconvenient truth is that real science is trial and error and not all the theories work out. Real science never tells us there is incontrovertible proof of anything because real scientists know better seeing science as a journey of continuous discovery not a mission to a predefined political objective. True science tells all, confesses all, seeks validation in peer review and competing research, admits error and shares the lessons from failure so others learn from its mistakes.
Now if we could only teach the scientific method to our politicians!