Hillary Clinton has apparently spurred world leaders to come to an agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Was it the power of her personality? The moral suasion of her arguments? Her good looks?
More like her promise to help raise $100 billion a year to give to developing countries - in addition to the foreign aid we already are supplying - so that they can deal with the “effects” of climate change:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has promised the United States will help raise $100 billion annually by 2020 to assist poor countries in coping with climate change as long as America’s demands for a global warming pledge are met.
Clinton’s announcement, made during a packed news conference, represents a major breakthrough in the U.N.-led talks, which had all but ground to a halt last night. But Clinton emphasized that the money is only on the table so long as fast-growing nations like China and India accept binding commitments that are open to international inspection and verification. If other countries don’t bend, she warned, the poorest countries will suffer.
“In the absence of an operational agreement that meets the requirements that I outlined, there will not be that financial agreement, at least from the United States,” Clinton warned. And, she added: “Without that accord, there won’t be the kind of joint global action from all of the major economies we all want to see, and the effects in the developing world could be catastrophic.”
The pledged amount is less than what the European Union had laid out as necessary to help the poorest countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America prepare for climate disasters and develop low-fossil-fuel economies. Clinton said the funding would come from a mix of public and private financing, including revenue raised from the auctioning of emission allowances under a possible U.S. cap-and-trade system still under development on Capitol Hill.
There seems to be some confusion in the blogosphere over this figure of $100 billion. No, the US would not be paying all of it as many are reporting. But you can bet we’ll be paying a nice chunk of it, and that was music to the ears of the developing world.
President Obama arrived Friday morning and immediately went into a meeting with several dozen heads of state to try and save the conference by coming up with at least some kind of interim deal where the details could be worked out later:
A visibly angry Barack Obama threw down the gauntlet at China and other developing nations Friday, declaring that the time has come “not to talk but to act” on climate change.
Emerging from a multinational meeting boycotted by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Obama warned delegates that U.S. offers of funding for poor nations would remain on the table “if and only if” developing nations, including China, agreed to international monitoring of their greenhouse gas emissions.
“I have to be honest, as the world watches us. … I think our ability to take collective action is in doubt and it hangs in the balance,” Obama told the COP-15 plenary session as hope faded for anything more than a vague political in agreement.
“The time for talk is over, this is the bottom line: We can embrace this accord, take a substantial step forward. We can do that, and everyone who is in this room will be part of an historic endeavor, or we can choose delay,” he said.
He added, “The question is whether we will move forward together, or split apart. … We know the fault lines because we’ve been imprisoned by them for years.”
Back home, senators critical to getting a climate bill through Congress have stressed that developing nations must submit to international monitoring — particularly if they want the U.S. to pay hundreds of billions to help combat the destructive impact of climate change.
Rumors of a deal were greatly exaggerated. Evidently, everyone is hanging back until Obama commits the US to ruinous emissions targets. Obama is holding back until he gets China to walk the plank with him by agreeing to robust, on-site “verification” procedures. China won’t do it because, obviously, they want to cheat and don’t want anyone knowing it.
China will play the global warming game when they want everyone to believe they are being a good global citizen. But when it comes right down to it, any emissions targets would be ruinous to their coal-fired economy. Hence, they have not only been pushing for nebulous targets but for weak verification as well. And the US wants to deny China any of that climate change cash that great environmentalists and human righs champions like Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe are licking their chops over.
The kleptocrats of the world who have stolen hundreds of billions from their own people, as well as taxpayers in western countries as foreign aid has largely gone down a black hole of graft and corruption, are lining up for their cut of this bounty. And if you believe that much of this trillion dollar largess is going to be spent on efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, I have a bridge over the Chicago river I would like to sell you.
The world has gone mad and our president is in lock step with them as they approach the precipice. Even if you “believe” the science - and not all climate change advocates are frauds, or evangelists for warming, or commies wanting to take over the world - the reaction of the planet’s leaders to this problem is blown titanically out of proportion. It is the Precautionary Principle run wild.
Why believe those scientists who say we must act now to avoid catastrophe? Why is their work any more believable than those who say it’s already too late or those who say we have at least another century before we have to start worrying? There may be “consensus” that the world is warming and that man is at least party responsible. But there is nothing approaching scientific agreement on how much the earth will warm, how long it will take, and - most importantly - whether reducing emissions will help alleviate the problem at all.
When I see a problem that has even a 1 percent probability of occurring and is “irreversible” and potentially “catastrophic,” I buy insurance. That is what taking climate change seriously is all about.
If we prepare for climate change by building a clean-power economy, but climate change turns out to be a hoax, what would be the result? Well, during a transition period, we would have higher energy prices. But gradually we would be driving battery-powered electric cars and powering more and more of our homes and factories with wind, solar, nuclear and second-generation biofuels. We would be much less dependent on oil dictators who have drawn a bull’s-eye on our backs; our trade deficit would improve; the dollar would strengthen; and the air we breathe would be cleaner. In short, as a country, we would be stronger, more innovative and more energy independent.
But if we don’t prepare, and climate change turns out to be real, life on this planet could become a living hell. And that’s why I’m for doing the Cheney-thing on climate — preparing for 1 percent.
Friedman’s scenario is a dream. First of all, there is nothing “gradual” about this switch. The president wants to cut our emissions 20% by 2030 and have 10% of our power output based in “renewable” sources by 2020. Currently, renewables account for around 3% - and most of that is nuclear which, as we all realize, is a no no in the environmental movement.
As far as the Precautionary Principle is concerned, Rand Simberg applies the necessary realism in his response to Friedman’s desire to “buy insurance” against his 1% probability of warming:
Well, I do that, too. But I buy insurance that has a price commensurate with the expected value (i.e., the cost of the disaster times the probability that it will occur). For instance, I’ll pay a few hundred bucks for a million-dollar policy against the small chance that I’ll kick off tomorrow. Presumably, Friedman assumes that the proposed palliatives of cap’n’tax or carbon taxes meet that criterion, but he doesn’t do the calculations for us, because he can’t. Warm mongers like him propose to spend trillions of dollars now to prevent an unknown amount of cost later, in defiance of the basic economic principle of discounting the value of future expenditures.
There is a variation on this fallacy, in fact. It goes: There is a crisis; something must be done! What we propose to do is something. Therefore, it must be done!
This invalid argument is otherwise known as false choice, of course, because the alternative to the particular something being proposed is not nothing (even if one accepts the initial premise that there is a crisis about which something must be done) — it is a variety of other somethings, some of which may be the something that is actually key to solving the problem, even if their own is not necessarily.
So in the next decade, we are going to ostensibly replace coal fired generating plants with either a massive program to put solar panels on tens of millions of structures, or simply do without power. That would mean frequent brown outs and perhaps even blackouts - you know, kind of like they have in the third world. Those coal plants will simply become too expensive to run and the electricity generated would be too expensive to buy.
Subsidy loving liberals will step in to solve the problem. Hey! Let’s give money to folks so they can make the changeover to solar! Or help the poor folks pay their massively increased electric bills! Or both!
Secondly, the massive dislocations caused by the precipitous changeover to a “green” economy are ill understood. Certainly there are millions of jobs in the coal, oil and gas, utility, and other fossil fuel industries that would be lost for good because of these goals. And to say they would be “replaced” by green jobs is idiotic. Is anyone seriously trying to make the point that a 40 year old coal miner in West Virginia could simply show up at a solar panel manufacturing plant and get a job? Or a roughneck find employment on a wind turbine farm?
Get real. Friedman will find out what a “living hell” looks like if the kinds of draconian measures being advocated in Copenhagen actually become reality. And it’s hard not to believe that literally destroying the capitalist economies of the west so that we just don’t feel sympathy for third world countries but actually become just like them isn’t part of the plan as the reaction to Hugo Chavez in Copenhagen made clear:
President Chavez brought the house down.
When he said the process in Copenhagen was “not democratic, it is not inclusive, but isn’t that the reality of our world, the world is really and imperial dictatorship…down with imperial dictatorships” he got a rousing round of applause.
When he said there was a “silent and terrible ghost in the room” and that ghost was called capitalism, the applause was deafening.
But then he wound up to his grand conclusion – 20 minutes after his 5 minute speaking time was supposed to have ended and after quoting everyone from Karl Marx to Jesus Christ - “our revolution seeks to help all people…socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.” He won a standing ovation.
Note to Chavez; the most polluted places on this planet are in Russia and eastern Europe; nations where socialism reined supreme for decades and where profit was a dirty word. And Communist China is the second largest emitter of CO2 on earth.
This is not about the earth warming. It is not about temperature. It is not about saving the earth.
This is about control. And if you can’t see that after what has gone on in Copenhagen this week, then you deserve the absolute worst fate that these thugs and autocrats have in store for you.