If countries were serious about climate change, they would ban these massive carbon footprint photo ops.UN’s climate circus lumbers on
The United Nations’ annual climate conferences, like the latest in Katowice, Poland — attended by thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats, scientists, special interest groups and media — are a circus and a fraud.
From the first climate summit in Rio in 1992, followed by 24 annual UN “Conferences of the Parties” (COPs) to date, beginning in Berlin in 1995, the script is always the same.Each year in November or December, thousands of the usual suspects, many on the public’s dime, fly in to that year’s favourite UN tourist destination — previous conference sites include Paris, Copenhagen, Buenos Aires, Bali, Cancun, Marrakech, Geneva, Lima, Milan, New Delhi and Montreal.
Once there, they collectively consume enough fossil fuel energy to choke a horse for the better part of two weeks.
While doing so, they piously lecture everyone else about wastefully consuming fossil fuel energy — which is what they’ve just done because apparently no one at the UN has heard of video-conferencing.
Then comes the annual parade of climate scientists warning we’re facing imminent catastrophe.
Followed by the mandatory flailing of the developed world for not shipping enough money to the developing world to fight climate change, while environmentalists of all ages mug for the cameras
In years where a UN climate accord is being negotiated or an important (albeit artificial) deadline has been reached, there are breathless media reports that the countries are far apart in negotiations, followed by a miraculous, eleventh-hour agreement — typically after the conference’s official close — that can “save the planet”, although much more needs to be done.
Then they all go home and start preparing for next year.
Next year’s COP 25 (in UN lingo), was supposed to be in Brazil, but since its new president isn’t a fan of the Paris accord, it’s been shifted to Chile with an assist from Costa Rica.
COP 26 will be in the UK or Italy. Both are bidding since it will be the most significant meeting since Paris in 2015, because 2020 is the deadline for countries to increase their (non-binding) commitments to cut emissions by 2030.
So why is it all a fraud?
Because the best way to assess the sincerity of politicians is not by what they say but by what they do.
And after a quarter-century of these annual UN circuses, global emissions last year reached a record high of 32.5 gigatonnes (32.5 billion tonnes), with another record expected for 2018.
Global emissions went up 1.4% last year after three years of stable emissions, dashing hopes emissions had peaked.
In fact, as Barry Saxifrage, who has analyzed the numbers going back to the 1992 Rio Summit, wrote in the National Observer last week, “despite decades of global promises and negotiations, CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels have not stabilized. Not only are emissions still rising, they are actually accelerating upwards.”Last year, two-thirds of the global increase came from Asia. In China, the world’s largest emitter, they jumped 1.7%.
Ironically, emissions in the U.S., where President Donald Trump announced he was pulling out of the Paris accord last year, were down 2.7%,
primarily by replacing coal-fired electricity with lower-emitting natural gas, and the growth of renewables.
Canada’s emissions dropped 1.4% in 2016, the last year for which Canadian figures are available.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted last week that through his national carbon tax/price and other initiatives, Canada is on track to meet the emission cuts he agreed to in the 2015 Paris accord, which used to be Stephen Harper’s targets.
No one who understands the numbers, including the UN, believes this, with the apparent exception of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who was in Katowice and whose public statements are increasingly divorced from reality.
Ditto claims by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer that his yet-to-be-unveiled climate plan will hit Canada’s Paris targets, without a national carbon tax/price.
If Canada was serious about that, Trudeau’s carbon price would already be five to 10 times higher than the $20 per tonne of emissions he’s set for 2019, rising to $50 per tonne in 2022.
But even if Canada miraculously hit its Paris target, which the UN says is already obsolete and insufficient, it would be insignificant because we account for only 1.6% of global emissions and globally emissions are rising.
What Trudeau’s national carbon price/tax really is, is a sin tax on energy — like paying for the papal indulgences of old.
It won’t fix anything, but it’s supposed to make us feel better about ourselves.
Until the next UN climate circus lands in Chile in Nov. 2019.https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnis ... lumbers-on