Each year, the UN holds a major conference of about 200 nations to deal with the alleged threat from climate change. It has become the equivalent of the climate industry’s annual meeting. Attendance is in the thousands and not only includes UN officials and government representatives but special interests that make money off of the climate issues both directly and indirectly.
At each of these meetings, there is a great deal of discussion and drama about what will be decided and the urgency of bold action. The outcome is always characterized as a bold commitment to action but just not yet. This year’s meeting in Paris is shaping up to be much like the past 20+ meetings.
Last year, the 200 nations pledged to submit national plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. So far, less than one third have done so. The plan was for each country to submit their plan early so that they could be reviewed to determine if collectively they were enough to stave off disaster.
Although major developed economies like the US, the EU, and even China have submitted their plans, the fast growing developing economies have been missing in action. And, that is not necessarily a bad thing. It is clear that they realize that actions to reduce their emissions will have the same adverse effects on their economies as they have had on the EU. That is why almost 20 years after the Kyoto agreement there has been mostly talk and little action. The action that has taken place in the EU, for example, has resulted in slow economic growth, higher unemployment, and a flight of capital to better environments for investments.
In addition, one of the unintended consequences with commitment process under Kyoto has been the experience with emission reduction initiatives. It has been shown that they are subject to game playing by those who exploit them for self-enrichment. A recent report by the Stockholm Environmental Institute concluded that the joint implementation carbon offsetting scheme that produces credits for investing companies was “so open to abuse that three quarters of its allowances lacked environmental integrity.”
Developing countries understand even if the climate industry leadership doesn’t that there is a fundamental conflict between actions to promote robust economic growth and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That conflict reflects the fact that abundant and affordable energy is a primary determinant on how economies perform. Suppressing fossil fuel use to force a reduction in emissions will make energy more scarce and hence more expensive. Our economic history shows quite clearly that such actions hamper growth and cost jobs. Developing countries seek to grow and achieve standards of living comparable to the developed world. They can only do that using fossil fuels. They also can observe that the continued forecasts of dread always get pushed into the future.
While the annual meetings of the climate establishment are likely to continue there is growing evidence that the climate is not behaving as the models say it should have and the fact that CO2 is a nutrient that makes our lives better because of plant and crop growth.
This article appeared on the FuelFix weblog at http://fuelfix.com/blog/2015/08/28/climate-industrys-annual-meeting/