Skip to comments.Environmentalists Gone Wild? 8 Observations From The Cancun Climate Conference
Posted on 12/13/2010 7:04:40 AM PST by IbJensen
Another United Nations Climate Change Conference has come and gone. This years Cancun Climate Conference didnt look to be a repeat of the disaster that was Copenhagen. For one thing, the UN chose the sunny, party beach capital of Mexico over the stately, old-world (and, oh yeah, cold) city of Copenhagen.
The attitude at the conference was different too. Where the delegates arrived at Copenhagen with dreams of sweeping change dreams which, for the most part, turned into shattered illusions they descended on Cancun with smaller expectations in mind. And yet, even with what seemed like less at stake, the UN delegations reached the end of the conference with no deal, which of course was a dire prospect going into the conference.
At stake was not just the success or failure of this conference, the 16th annual meeting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Many delegates and analysts warned that failure to reach some sort of accord, even a modest, face-saving deal that pushes the tough questions off into the future, could doom the entire process.
Its quite remarkable how predictable the radical environmentalists are. With their commitments to specious science, over-dramatic predictions of disaster, all-or-nothing demands, and outright socialism (or at the very least, anti-capitalism), it stands to reason that they would fail to achieve any sort of consensus. Yet we can watch with an attitude bordering on cynicism as they lament the fact that they werent able to change the world yet again this year.
One expert summarized the Cancun Climate Conference better than I ever could:
Cancun isnt about climate change, says Calvin Beisner, of the Cornwall Alliance for Stewardship of Creation, a national coalition of religious leaders, scientists and economists. Its about redistributing the worlds wealth and taking further steps toward global governance its aims are both unjust and dangerous.
Here are eight observations Ive made studying the goings-on in Cancun. Ive tried to write about them with the expected amount of snark, but I cant help but believe that all of us can shake our heads in disgust at the rhetoric, the actions, and the sheer audacity of the ecological radicals that gathered in Cancun this year. Here we go and well start this list off with the UNs lack of esteemed, credible spokesmen. At least, as long as you dont count dictators.
8. The UN Seems To Lack Esteemed, Credible Spokespersons Unless You Count Dictators.
If youre anything like me, you tend to think of the people who attend functions like the Cancun Climate Conference and other UN-related scientific gatherings as being the lab coat and Coke-bottle glasses types who pore over their computer models and rarely emerge into the outdoors that they claim is killing us all. There are actually a surprising number of diplomats, statesmen, and politicians who attend events like these. Some of them actually utter some fascinating things.
Take Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, for example. On multiple occasions, Figueres conjured up the name of Ixchel, the Mayan jaguar goddess. Im not sure, but I think that she may also be the goddess of terrible metaphors, and she smiled broadly on Figueres:
In my opening speech last Monday, I mentioned that we are in the land of the ancient Mayan goddess Ixchel, goddess of reason, creativity and weaving. Over the past week, I have found it encouraging to see that she has inspired you to use reason and creativity to weave together some of the elements of your response to climate change. Much good work has already come out of the draft decisions you have prepared under both the SBI and the SBSTA. You have also used creativity and reason to begin to fill in some of the holes in the tapestry of the KP and the LCA. But we all know that is not enough. [Emphasis mine]
This is what passes for inspiring rhetoric at the United Nations these days.
Another brilliant example is Socialist Bolivian President Evo Morales, who was named World Hero of Mother Earth by the UN General Assembly in 2009. Morales added a bit of fiery rhetoric to the stuffy proceedings:
Participants described the meetings as businesslike and largely free of the cant and bluster that has marred past sessions, although for fans of drama, the fiery Bolivian leader Evo Morales did not disappoint.
We talk about the effects and not the causes of the multiple crises we face: the climate crisis, the food crisis, the energy crisis, Mr. Morales said. The climate crisis is one of the crises of capitalism.
He warned of the dire outcome if delegates did not renew the Kyoto agreement, which binds rich nations to emissions targets and directs a flow of money to poorer nations to adapt to the effects of climate change.
If, from here, we send the Kyoto Protocol to the rubbish bin, we are responsible for ecocide and genocide, because we will be sending many people to their deaths, Mr. Morales said.
Tell us how you really feel about capitalism, President Morales! All this from the man who, earlier this year at another climate summit, blamed baldness and homosexuality on the presence of alleged hormones injected into chickens:
Bolivian President, Evo Morales, has surprised his audience by ensuring that the chickens of industrial production are responsible for deviations of men for homosexuality and baldness in Europe.
The chicken we eat is loaded with female hormones. Therefore, men who eat these chickens have deviations in their being as men, Morales told thousands of people at the opening of the Peoples of the World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.
He also added, to the consequences of this type of food, baldness, and prophesied: At fifty, everyone will be bald. According to the president, these data demonstrate that the West brings increasingly more and more poison.
The idea that hormones are added to poultry in commercial farms is considered a myth without foundation by specialists.
It seems theyll let anybody into these conventions these days, especially eccentric, anti-Western, anti-capitalist dictators. Mo Money, Mo Problems.
7. Mo Money, Mo Problems Isnt Only True In The World Of Hip-Hop.
The 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference couldnt be described as successful by too many means, but there was some progress made in the eyes of the attendees. One of Copenhagens legacies was the establishment of a fund to which developed nations would contribute yearly to the tune of $10 billion a year for ten years to help developing countries make strides toward a more ecologically friendly existence:
The accord calls for the establishment of the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund to support immediate action to help curb emissions and to help communities adapt to the effects of global warming.
An initial, fast-start fund worth $10 billion annually would operate from 2010 to 2012.
For long-term finance, developed countries agreed to support a goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.
(Of course some leaders said that wasnt enough. Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo declared that the long-term fund needed to be closer to $140 billion annually by 2020 to be truly effective. Give them an inch )
Naturally many of the developing nations refuse to keep an account of how theyre spending their share of the money theyve gladly taken, which has slowed down disbursement of the funds. One Indian official angrily placed the blame at the feet of the countries contributing to the fund:
The Guardian is reporting that the Indian environment minister rebuked rich countries here at the U.N. climate change conference for failing to keep their promises to deliver $30 billion in climate aid to poor country by 2012. As the Guardian reports:
[Minister Jairam Ramesh] said: The grand bargain at Copenhagen was President Obama telling the four heads of state: do you agree on transparency in return for money which can start flowing to vulnerable countries? The question is: has the money started flowing? And the answer is clearly no.
The minister diplomatically fails to mention that the poor countries are rejecting proposed systems to account for how they spend the aid. So, Mr. Minister, the question is: has the transparency been adopted? The answer is clearly no.
Then he has the nerve to threaten that no deals will be reached in Cancun unless the money is handed over. No deal in Cancun? A lot of citizens in rich countries will think that thats a great deal.
Yes, as weve seen time and time again, the poorer countries are more than happy to accept financial handouts, but they wont play by the rules of accountability with them. Its oddly comforting, yet at the same time disturbing, to see that principle at work in Cancun, too.
6. Delegates Suffered From A Case Of Diminished Expectations.
Even before the Cancun Climate Conference began, there was a sense among climate experts that the idealism of Copenhagen wouldnt be as strong in Cancun (perhaps because of the laid back party atmosphere?). One exchange on NPR between host Liane Hanson and correspondent Christopher Joyce reflected the backing off of the lofty goals that were present just a year before:
HANSEN: So, what happens at Cancun? Do they expect to pick up where Copenhagen left off?
JOYCE: They would like to. Now, everybodys keeping hopes very, very low. No promises, because Copenhagen was such a disaster, they cant afford another one because theyll lose all credibility in the U.N. process. So, it kind of breaks into two processes. One is that the Copenhagen countries, the big economies like the U.S. and India and China, that are not part of the Kyoto Protocol, theyll go on their own direction. Theyll cut deals with each other on how much theyll need to cut their emissions in order to meet their targets and try to slow global warning.
Indeed, in contrast to the high expectations at Copenhagen, a distinct feature of the Cancun Climate Conference was a lowering of expectations among the attendees.
Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow in the Climate Change Group at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, says people are hoping to use the meeting in Cancun, which began Monday, to regroup.
People are lowering expectations so that we get something out of it, Huq says. I think the approach we had last year in Copenhagen, where it was an all-or-nothing approach, blew up in our faces, and we got nothing out of it.
Instead of opting for sweeping declarations and what the environmental lobby would consider great strides, the UN delegates opted for smaller gains, including an honor system for carbon dioxide emissions:
As the New York Times explained earlier this week, under the deal countries would declare their emissions reductions targets and provide regular reports on how they were meeting them. . . . There would be no international monitors or inspectors, and no penalties for failing to reach stated goals. To those disposed to cheat, this is an open invitation.
Many representatives of wealthier nations also expressed their reluctance to sign a sweeping treaty akin to 1997s Kyoto Protocol:
A more realistic view came from the Japanese, who said they would not sign on to any successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire in 2012 Russia and Canada have also indicated that they would be reluctant to sign a Kyoto re-do unless its commitments extend to all states, rather than merely to the guilty rich nations bound by the original pact. With China now the worlds leading producer of greenhouse gases and Indias emissions rising rapidly, theyre right to be reluctant. But poorer countries are equally reluctant to sign agreements that would slow their economic development with environmental regulations.
Of course, this years lowered expectations let to no agreement at all of any kind. Does such a severe lowering of expectations (and results) among environmentalists mean hope for those of us who would like to see the end of eco-alarmism? Alas, Im inclined to think not, at least as long as much of the scientific community leans hard left, as long as the developing world is populated with anti-American leaders, and as long as the UN keeps its nose in things.
Another problem for the Cancun meeting nobody likes hypocrites.
5. The Conference Was Rife With Typical Environmentalist Hypocrisy.
As can be expected by the Leftist environmental busybodies, the delegates to the Cancun Climate Conference purport to tell all of us how to live our lives and demand that we live austere carbon-neutral lifestyles while they live it up in a luxury resort and burn up the kilowatts. The Telegraph tells the real story and calls their bluff:
More than 190 countries are meeting in the luxury resort for two weeks to discuss the best way to bring down global carbon emissions.
The total carbon footprint of the conference, according to the Mexican Government, is 25,000 tonnes. [Thats 24,605 tons, for the sake of comparison. CQ]
This is equivalent to 4,500 UK households for a year or the same amount of carbon as a poor African nation such as Somalia would pump out in two weeks.
The carbon footprint of the conference is five times as much as the last meeting in Copenhagen, even though less people are attending the conference.
Naturally, the Mexican government chalks up the increased carbon footprint to mathematics:
Herando Guerrero, the chief of staff for the Minister of the Environment, insisted the reason emissions are so much higher is because the Mexican Government are taking more comprehensive measurements.
He said the measurement this year includes all the flights taken by the delegates, energy use and even food.
The emissions at Copenhagen were estimated at below 5,000 tonnes [4,921 tons CQ]. In Cancun it will be 4 or 5 times that amount because we are considering everything. Emissions from every trip, all transport, food. We are taking the information to calculate the carbon footprint.
Fortunately, there are a brave few scientists and advocates in the ecological movement who are willing to take a stand and call the UN out for its excesses. From The Daily Caller, theres this:
As hundreds of officials travel in gas-guzzling jets and carbon-dioxide emitting cars to the conference site and stay in luxurious, high electricity-consuming resorts, the carbon footprint of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is ironic, to say the least.
The unbearable spectacle of it all is what prompted one climate scholar to stop attending the conferences all together. Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller he hasnt been to the annual U.N. climate change conference since it was held in Montreal in 2005.
The ritual teary-eyed Europeans declaring a never-ending series of historic agreements, which were no such thing, became too farcical to continue attending, said Horner. The enterprise is pompously and risibly dedicated in equal parts to wealth redistribution and self-perpetuation, as a platform for, and along the way, engaging in visceral anti-Americanism.
And again from The Telegraph:
Alejandra Serrano, an environmental lawyer in Cancun, said wider environmental issues should have been considered.
She pointed out that Cancun itself is an environmental disaster. The resort was built 30 years ago on a pristine mangrove island and has since grown uncontrollably.
The huge concrete hotels have destroyed the mangrove forests, meaning the beach has entirely eroded and sand has to be dredged in every two years. The lagoon is polluted and most of the island is now paved.
Of course, after her initial statement, Serrano goes on to say that the government should do more to curb development and restore the natural habitats of the Yucatan, proving that even the least hypocritical environmentalists are also non-hypocritical statists. Were all gonna die!
4. The World Was Subjected To The Requisite Alarmist Predictions.
I wrote about this at the end of November, but you can count on it: anytime two or more climate scientists get together, theres going to be some dire, sky-is-falling predictions. In this department, the Cancun Climate Conference did not disappoint.
From the outset, the cries at Cancun amounted to its too late! This defeatist notion that, because the developing world didnt drastically change its ways after Copenhagen last year, we could expect temperatures to rise anywhere from about 3 to about 7 degrees (2-4° Celsius) in the next 90 years. Other scientists disputed this notion, declaring instead that the increases in temperature would happen over 50 years.
A key feature of these papers is that they assume that even if global carbon emission curbs were to be agreed in the future, these would be insufficient to limit global temperature rises to 2C this century the maximum temperature rise agreed by politicians as acceptable. To have a realistic chance of doing that, the world would have to get carbon emissions to peak within 15 years and then follow this up with a massive decarbonisation of society, said Dr Chris Huntingford, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxfordshire.
Few experts believe this is a remotely practical proposition, particularly in the wake of the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks last December a point stressed by Bob Watson, former head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and now chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. As he put it: Two degrees is now a wishful dream.
(OH MY GOSH! Were all gonna die!)
According to these same scientists, a billion people will be left homeless as a result of such changes, due to rising sea levels. Entire nations such as the Maldives and Tuvalu (Ive seen at least eight articles that mention Tuvalu while researching for this post) would completely cease to exist. Another three billion would be without clean water.
If you think these numbers sound staggeringly hyperbolic, youre not alone. I dont know how seemingly reputable scientists can throw around these kinds of numbers like five-year-olds who think their dads make a bazillion gajillion dollars a year. But thats not all. Our weather systems will be in havoc as well thanks to our ungrateful treatment of Mother Earth:
Hungry polar bears gathering along the tundra, twice as many record-breaking temperatures and stronger hurricanes are among the latest signs of climate change, scientists say.
And we can expect more rain, more drought and fiercer storms in the future if the world continues on its fossil-fuel gobbling track, they told reporters on a conference call Wednesday to discuss the year in global warming.
They never fail to pull out their predictions of the ecopocalypse at gatherings like this. And somehow they continue to be taken seriously by some. Hey, how about destroying Western economies? Thatll help!
3. Kevin Anderson Offered An Oh, So Simple Solution To Global Warming.
After reading those last statistics, youre probably wondering what we can do to stop the environmental Armageddon that awaits us all. Dont you worry, one scientist has already figured it out for us.
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Professor Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (yep, you know of this organization from the Climategate scandal last year), has a simple solution mapped out for us: all developed nations must cease all economic growth for 20 years. But before you go planning that two-decade vacation, you better hold off. Anderson admits that its not quite that simple.
This would mean a drastic change in lifestyles for many people in countries like Britain as everyone will have to buy less carbon intensive goods and services such as long haul flights and fuel hungry cars.
Prof. Anderson admitted it would not be easy to persuade people to reduce their consumption of goods
Prof. Anderson insisted that halting growth in the rich world does not necessarily mean a recession or a worse lifestyle, it just means making adjustments in everyday life such as using public transport and wearing a sweater rather than turning on the heating.
I am not saying we have to go back to living in caves, he said. Our emissions were a lot less ten years ago and we got by ok then.
I know I just took the wind out of your sails, but dont worry. Anderson also knows exactly how to get us all on the same page: government rationing. Surprised? I didnt think so.
He said politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during the last time of crisis in the 1930s and 40s.
This could mean a limit on electricity so people are forced to turn the heating down, turn off the lights and replace old electrical goods like huge fridges with more efficient models. Food that has travelled from abroad may be limited and goods that require a lot of energy to manufacture.
The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face, he said.
Once again, we can read this crowd like a book. The folks in the climatological community, or at least their most vocal members, are rooted in such statist, anti-capitalist philosophy that they truly believe that the only way to stave off certain destruction is government intervention. Or if they dont actually believe it, theyre at least using it as a convenient excuse to shove their socialism through our throats. And the sad part is, the climate scientists werent the most insane people at the conference.
2. Protestors Made The Climate Scientists Seem Reasonable.
Climate-Change-Summit-Cacun-300x214It stands to reason that, alongside any event with a controversial subject matter and intense media scrutiny, an array of protesters will follow. The Cancun Climate Conference was no exception. In Cancun, legions of protesters and organizations crowded around the periphery of the resort and held their own rallies and conferences throughout the Yucatan. Each of these organizations seemed to have some sort of agenda to push in addition to, or in opposition to, what was going on inside the UN conference proper.
Several agrarian and indigenous peoples rights groups could be found, each one of them clamoring to speak to a member of the media and make some sort of statement. Many of them held a march and press conference, which degenerated into something somewhat more chaotic:
The diverse array of social movement organizations, representing Indigenous peoples, small farmers, youth, communities impacted by the climate change to call for mobilizations and actions worldwide for climate solutions based in traditional Indigenous knowledge, community-based practices, human rights and the rights of nature.
Simultaneously, the press conference hosted by Global Justice Ecology Project and organized by La Via Campesina, Indigenous Environmental Network and Friends of the Earth International turned into a spontaneous action as speakers expressed anger over the direction of the climate talks in Cancun. Following the press conference, activists from Youth 4 Climate Justice and Grassroots Global Justice led the protest out of the climate talks.
Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project opened the press conference by evoking the name of Lee Kyung Hae, the South Korean farmer and La Via Campesina member who took his life during mobilizations against the World Trade Organization here in 2003 wearing a sign saying The WTO Kills Farmers. Then we were fighting against the World Trade Organization, Petermann said. Today we have to fight the World Carbon Trade Organization.
Another lobby present in force in Cancun was the vegetarian/vegan lobby. As with most any other fringe group at the conference, it wasnt enough for the nations present to adopt draconian emission standards or devote princely sums of assets to green technologies. No, these groups wanted to put an end to all meat consumption. With slogans like Meat = Methane and Give Peas A Chance, these groups staged elaborate protests to prove their point. Take a look:
Other groups at a forum held alongside the conference lived communally to show solidarity for fellow vegans and vegetarians:
At Klimaforum, the links between diet and climate change are not only part of the agenda but also incorporated into the planning of the event. All meals are vegetarian, with an emphasis on organic produce. We each wash our reusable plates at the end of the meals.
We spent last night camping under a starry sky and were awoken at sunrise by birds in the trees surrounding the campsite. We just finished our desayuno [breakfast] of fresh fruit and granola and are getting ready for the days programs.
Needless to say, these folks make the environmental alarmists seem sane. Almost.
Nature had the last laugh. The Gore effect in full swing.
1. Nature Had The Last Laugh.
An empty beach in Cancun on a record cold day during the conference.
Ill close with the funniest and most ironic observation from Cancun. Its a phenomenon often called the Al Gore Effect, which the Urban Dictionary defines as (with examples):
The phenomenon that leads to unseasonably cold temperatures, driving rain, hail, or snow whenever Al Gore visits an area to discuss global warming. Hence, the Gore Effect.
- Australia, November 2006: Al Gore is visiting two weeks before summer begins. The Gore Effect strikes: Ski resort operators gazed at the snow in amazement. Parents took children out of school and headed for the mountains. Cricketers scurried amid bullets of hail as Melburnians traded lunchtime tales of the incredible cold. (The Age)
- New York, March 2004: Gore chose January 15, 2004, one of the coldest days in New York Citys history, to rail against the Bush administration and global warming skeptics Global warming, Gore told a startled audience, is causing record cold temperatures. (NY Environment News)
I prefer to think of it as Natures Last Laugh, or proof that God has a sense of humor. Remember the weather in Copenhagen during the 2009 conference? A blanket of four inches of snow, along with temperatures seven degrees lower than the previous record low. Well, it happened again, this time in otherwise sunny, comfortable Cancun.
As if ClimateGate wasnt bad enough, the climate politicos in Cancun are amidst record cold temperatures. The Gore Effect, of course, is the inconvenient coincidence that when Al Gore attends a conference to give a climate speech, cold spells and freak snow storms attend. He is not even there this time.
Unseasonably cold weather makes it hard to party in a pair of shorts and a tanktop.
Come on, Gaiahave a heart!
Renowned climatologist, infamous man-made global warming skeptic, and Rush Limbaugh buddy Dr. Roy Spencer attended the conference in Cancun and recorded his observations:
Todays my first full day in Cancun at COP-16, and as I emerged from my hotel room I was greeted by a brisk, dry, cool Canadian breeze.
It was 54 deg. F in Cancun this morning a record low for the date. (BTW, Cancun is nowhere near Canada).
Al Gore is not supposed to be here but it could be that the Gore Effect has announced his secret arrival. We will check into this.
I cant help but wonder when these people will learn just how theyre viewed as a laughingstock by so many of us, with their bumbling meetings, freak show following, and Chicken Little predictions. But their agenda is no laughing matter. In an era in which socialism and statism threaten to invade us from all sides, its up to those of us who believe in freedom of thought, freedom of opinion, and freedom from the tyranny of the ecological radicals to speak out and expose their ridiculousness.
It's all about communizing the world under the guise of a disgraced global warming theory.
When I see these clowns who don’t have real jobs going to these worthless conferences all I see are parasites who have never done one productive thing in their lives. The term “useless bread gobblers” refers not to the working poor, but to govt and NGO drones.
I would have placed Hypocrisy at #1 on the list.
Al Gore has gotten so fat, he could have flashed his man-boobs and released a video called Gore gone Wild.
Amen. These God-less, fat socialists are mostly agnostics. You’d think they’d sit up and take notice!
Here’s the temperatures (in Fahrenheit) for COP16 dates and the record lows. 1st number, Cancun conference, 2nd number, Record low
"Al Does Atlanta"?
He must be around here somewhere. It's mighty cold here (32F) with winds predicted to be around 35 mph today.
Maybe they should have scheduled the conference in Vancouver during the Olympics. Would have solved the lack of snow problem.
Change the word "Nature" to "God" and you have Psalm 29:
A psalm of David.
1 Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, "Glory!"
10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
11 The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.
Virtually the only coverage of this thing has been on whackjob blog sites and uber-liberal outlets like Pacifica and LinkTV. That about tells you all you need to know.
At least this time they chose someplace tropical, rather than a Scandinavian country to host their event. There were no embarrassing blizzards, this time