Planet saving green superheroes flew off to the climate carnival in Bali Monday last week boldly sensing a new sweltering wind at their backs. And, while recent events certainly served to bolster their optimism, the folly of both their cause and -- were they actually necessary -- proposed solutions, would ultimately dash their dreams of a global UN based Kingdom more red than green.
True, incoming Aussie Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had promised to ratify the Kyoto Protocol before his arrival at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). His predecessor, John Howard, declined to sign on to the international cap-and-trade scheme, joining the U.S as the only 2 developed nations not to do so. Rudd's capitulation was surely expected to put further pressure on the sole remaining holdout to do the same, or at least participate in the summit's objective of laying the groundwork for Kyoto's successor.
What's more, rumors were flying that a bi-partisan coalition of Congressmen might toughen the coercion by arriving at the meeting to announce a freshly Senate committee-passed Kyoto-friendly American cap-and-trade bill of their own. Such would be considered quite a boost to the conference as well, for, while it's George Bush the left reflexively blames, it was actually the Senate that unanimously rejected the previous accord back in 1997.
That Senate had the wisdom to recognize the plan's exclusion of developing nations as the ineffectual ploy and threat to the U.S economy it was then and remains now.
But as green-fevered thinkers saw it -- with the U.S now isolated among developed nations, surely we'd accept mandatory emissions targets foregoing previous demands that China and India adopt them as well. Besides, with left-leaning eco-maniacal Democrats controlling both Houses, how much longer would U.S insistence on a voluntary, market-based approach endure anyway?
Indeed, confidence was high that by the time U.N secretary general Ban Ki-moon arrived for anointment later in the week, his dream of a global green economy would be well on its way to reality.
The Onset of Offset Upsets
But offsetting the estimated 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide the 15,000 politicians, lobbyists, journalists, actors and other assorted Gore groupies from 190 nations and their private jets and SUV's will unleash on the resort island wouldn't be the only trouble in paradise.
In reality, planting 79 million CO2 hungry trees across Indonesia (which has been gutting its forests at a rate faster than any other country) while providing 200 mountain bikes and recycled paper to attendees are mere symbolic gestures which hardly mitigate all those carbon footprints in the Bali sand.
In fact, the entire "offset" concept underscores the futility of the entire UN agenda, which continues to push disproved cap-and-trade offset schemes. Mechanisms which have failed miserably in Europe, where Kyoto was ratified and adhered to -- yet CO2 levels continued to rise, while voluntary market-based reduction initiatives have succeeded in the Kyoto-rogue US, where levels have instead ebbed.
And yet, ignoring these failures, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) worked feverishly to get the Warner-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill out of committee in time to allow her to lead a Senate delegation to Bali this week with her new legislative victory firmly in hand.
On Wednesday, the Dem controlled Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works doggedly defeated each and every rational amendment offered to protect the economy while still meeting their arbitrary Carbon goals. Watching them work reminded me of just how many traits the majority in Congress share with the O.J jury -- each being too ignorant of science to possibly understand its application to law.
Despite overwhelming evidence presented that the bill would spark runaway consumer energy costs, it passed with virtually every Republican amendment denied. Even a statement from top 5 electricity producer Duke Energy that their need to purchase between 44 and 57 percent of emissions allowances in 2012 would force them to increase rates by between 13 and 53 percent failed to sway the determined Boxer.
The bill, which would cap emissions and somehow reduce them by 60 percent by 2050 through an allocation system where companies buy, sell and trade pollution credits, was on its way to the Senate floor. Hearing the news, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer literally cheered.
But the bill will face extended debate -- and a filibuster promised by committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla) -- in the full Senate. Besides, Harlan Watson, our senior climate negotiator at Bali dismissed any idea that policy might be impacted by the Boxer rebellion.
Indeed, the administration recognizes the UN's goal to exploit the research it first financed and then corrupted to effect a plan with no impact other than Third World favoring global wealth redistribution. So it's a safe bet that despite the American left's ignorant meddling, as with most sequels, particularly those to an abysmal original, Kyoto II is destined to be a flop.
Trouble in Green Paradise
Arriving on the resort Island of Bali last Monday, Australian delegates pledged their country's immediate action on Kyoto. And for their sins, they received a standing ovation. But green hopes faded quickly as the clock ticked. A great divide still existed between the developed nations of the Northern Hemisphere and those developing in the South. And, while not quite Union versus Confederate in contrast, their differences emerged equally insurmountable.
The north stood essentially unified in pressuring both China and India to jump aboard the mandatory cap wagon. After all, nearly 70% of China's electricity originates from coal-fired power plants, of which they are now building as many as 2 weekly. Add India's growing demands and any plan for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction without the involvement of both would be doomed to failure before it ever began.
Meanwhile, the south reiterated demands for continued cap exemption and insisted the north agree to share cutting-edge renewable-energy and future carbon sequestration technology at highly reduced costs. Of course, China's history of criminal disregard for copy and intellectual property rights (e.g. their shameless pirating of all media American) makes the latter highly unlikely.
Already disappointed greenies were handed another setback when a Japanese delegate's opening comments addressed a "market-based approach" to GHG reduction with no reference to mandatory targets:
"It is essential to move beyond the Kyoto Protocol to a new framework in which the entire world will meaningfully participate in actions leading to global reduction of emissions."
Naturally, representatives of both countries attested that Kyoto's host nation's sudden accord with the stance of the U.S was unrehearsed. Nonetheless, attending environmental-cases, recalling America's threats (and Canada's nascent hints) to reject any post-Kyoto agreement lacking emissions cap obligations for all large emitting nations, nearly fainted.
Then, on the very day Boxer's committee approved Warner-Lieberman, something happened 10,000 miles away that might just cement the fate of the conference -- Rudd backed away from his government's commitment to meet the proposed 2020 objectives. The PM tabled any discussions on mandatory targets until next year, when economist Ross Garnaut's report on the viability of emissions trading is due.
By Friday, revelers likely wished they could retract their standing O when Rudd's Trade Minister, Simon Crean, declared that any plan excluding strict caps for developing nations would be fruitless. Ouch.
All of this green dissent before even hearing from delegates of the red, white, and blue betrayed a conference in complete disarray. Not even this week's highly anticipated arrival of Green King Gore himself, his fist filled with silly internet petitions, is likely to breathe life into this corpse of a convention, or its likewise deceased post-Kyoto scam.
While Greenies Gab, Science Strides Forward
Without exception, everything discussed at UNFCC, indeed the very temporary greening of Bali itself, is predicated on the specious argument that GHG, and no other forces, might be driving global temperatures.
But the science on which the U.N's hysteria-engendered flock base their planet-saving plans is settled only in their minds and the reams of hyped reports from the IPCC, which they foolishly expect to dictate global climate policies.
Readers are all too aware of the endless tricks, deceptions, outright lies, and more tricks used to divert attention from any driver not Carbon (and, therefore, not industry) related. Those same readers are well aware that this author believes the factor most irresponsibly ignored by alarmists to be Solar, as I have opined many times, including here, here, and here. As it happens, last week also saw astronomer and Sun expert Dr David Whitehouse further the case for Solar forcing's majority influence. Whitehouse reported that it's been months since any sunspots have been observed:
"After a period of exceptionally high activity in the 20th century, our Sun has suddenly gone exceptionally quiet."
The significance of which might become quite evident quite quickly. You see, whenever presented with the obvious (and logical) correlations between solar activity and Terran climate in the past, Solar Deniers claimed that continued elevations in global temperatures after 1998 somehow disproved any direct connection. While insignificant in long-term analysis, Whitehouse nonetheless attributed this to the rapid increase between 1978 and 1998, after which average temps have held their high, but steady, level:
"Almost everyone agrees that throughout most of the last century the solar influence was significant. Studies show that by the end of the 20th century the Sun's activity may have been at its highest for more than 8,000 years."
He suggests we're actually in a period of solar activity low enough to not only counteract any GHG increases, but, as proposed by Russian Academy of Sciences members, actually cause temperatures to drop 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2020. Whitehouse dubs this new Solar season, which may even usher in another Little Ice Age, the Modern Solar Minimum. The good doctor also lists it with previously correlative periods the greenies completely ignore:
- Modern Solar Minimum
- Modern Climate Optimum
(1890-2000) - the world is getting warmer. Concentrations of greenhouse gas increase. Solar activity increases.
- Dalton Solar Minimum
(1790-1820) - global temperatures are lower than average.
- Maunder Solar Minimum
(1645-1715) - coincident with the 'Little Ice Age'.
- Spörer Solar Minimum
(1420-1530) - discovered by the analysis of radioactive carbon in tree rings that correlate with solar activity - colder weather. Greenland settlements abandoned.
- Wolf Solar Minimum
(1280-1340) - climate deterioration begins. Life gets harder in Greenland.
- Medieval Solar Maximum
(1075-1240) - coincides with Medieval Warm Period. Vikings from Norway and Iceland found settlements in Greenland and North America.
- Oort Solar Minimum
(1010-1050) - temperature on Earth is colder than average.
If current trends continue, 2007 will be the coolest year this century, perhaps the coolest since 1995.
Of course, should temperatures continue to drop off precipitously while CO2 levels continue to rise, those intent on wielding both political and economic power through junk-science know they will have missed their opportunity to do so.
The Death of the Red Masque
Its science is unmitigated junk. Its solutions are unworkable. Its corruption runs so deep as to be worthy of a Hague forum. But there's more.
One upshot of Bali thus far has been the demand by China and India that the U.N steward the transfer of low-carbon energy technology the Intellectual Property not of Western governments, but of their private enterprises. Its unity with this and a proposal for a "technology transfer fund" that industrialized nations would be forced to pay into for developing countries withdrawal to finance clean energy technology projects or purchase patents should end any doubt of the U.N's socialist objectives.
Yet they're apparently not red enough for some greens, as many less developed countries told the conference they were being deprived of benefits. That's right -- they complained that carbon offsetting pays companies to cut emissions, but undeveloped countries -- particularly in Africa -- have few emissions to start with and would not gain from such reductions.
Sound familiar? Like the Democrats who constantly complain that tax-cuts, while benefiting tax-payers, do nothing for those not earning enough to pay taxes?
And speaking of domestically grown lefties -- should they really wish to relate Kyoto to Warner-Lieberman, then they can neither deny nor escape the corollary of the faults of each. By setting utopian limits and assuming that technology will rise to meet them, both play a dangerous game with human posterity.
At home, utility companies would be forced to either invest heavily in uncertain R&D or move away from coal altogether, retooling their plants for alternate fuels such as natural gas. Neither solution bodes well for their customers, who would themselves be forced to make the choice between paying hugely higher rates for their heat and electricity (if they can) or suffering long seasons without them. How many of those responsible for the current Democrat majorities might then ponder their vote as they struggle to keep their families warm while battling soaring inflation?
Internationally, the trade warfare the UN plan would impose impedes global development while likely doing nothing to aid any but the corrupt leaders of the very poor nations the union is duplicitously scheming to uplift. And, as it needlessly degrades the economies of all prosperous nations involved, it would ultimately be just another socialist experiment gone horribly wrong - this time on a devastatingly global level.
And all in an effort to prevent an impending storm they likely know full well never actually threatened.
While Bali's pulse grows faint, the adolescent green dream of controlling climate through a new world order may smell funny - but it's not quite dead.
Given the extent of the madness, even armed with a sudden extended cooling such as that predicted by Whitehouse and others, it won't be an easy kill.
However -- it will be an essential one.
Marc Sheppard is a technology consultant, software engineer, writer, and political and systems analyst. He is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your feedback.