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Don't blame emails for Copenhagen's failure

posted 12/7/2009 11:02:36 AM |
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  StraddleMyNose

The Copenhagen summit on climate change beginning this week already seems doomed to failure, and voices on both sides of the global-warming debate are trying to pin the blame on Climategate. Republicans on Capitol Hill are trying to use Climategate to scuttle the Democrats' cap-and-trade legislation. Even the Saudis are getting in on the act, saying the scandal casts the entire case for global warming in doubt.

"Climategate" refers to the leaking of e-mails and documents from a leading British global-warming outfit, the Climatic Research Unit. The e-mails show, depending on your outlook, anything from sloppiness, pettiness and dishonesty to outright fraud among some of the world's leading climate scientists.

The e-mails don't show that the scientists don't believe global warming is real. Rather, they show that the scientists believe in global warming so much, they think they're justified in doing anything to fight it. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, you never ask questions when Gaia's on your side.

Climategate is a big deal, but we should be clear: It's not why cap-and-trade should be scuttled, and it's not why Copenhagen will produce nothing, save enormous expense-account submissions for cookie-pushing climate diplomats (and a massive amount of greenhouse gases; the U.N. estimates the 12-day "green" confab will produce 40,584 tons of CO{-2} equivalents, roughly equal to Morocco's carbon footprint in 2006).

Here is one simple, inconvenient truth: No developing country with significant and remotely accessible stocks of fossil fuels will agree to leave the stuff in the ground.

"Ten countries ruled by nasty people control 80 percent of the planet's oil reserves -- about 1 trillion barrels, currently worth about $40 trillion," writes energy expert Peter Huber in City Journal. "If $40 trillion worth of gold were located where most of the oil is, one could only scoff at any suggestion that we might somehow persuade the nasty people to leave the wealth buried. They can lift most of their oil at a cost well under $10 a barrel. They will drill. They will pump. And they will find buyers. Oil is all they've got."

And it's not just the nasty countries. Canada, the Dudley Do-Right of the international community, insists on exploiting its vast and dirty oil reserves in the so-called "tar sands" under Alberta. The intro to an article by British eco-scold George Monbiot declared: "Canada's image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling." If Canada, which has long been the U.N.'s Richie Cunningham, won't play ball, does anyone think the Chinese, Indians or Brazilians will?

Here's another inconvenient truth: The United States will not agree to Draconian carbon caps either, for the simple reason it would be political suicide for all but a handful of politicians. Unless you represent hyper-wealthy liberal enclaves or the ethanol moonshine industry, it makes no sense to vote for anything like cap-and-trade.

That's why the Kyoto Protocol never made it out of the crib in the United States.

It was often said that President George W. Bush "refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol." This is technically true -- because Bush couldn't sign Kyoto. It was already signed during the Clinton presidency. (Bush didn't sign the Treaty of Versailles either.) The important point is that Clinton immediately shoved it in his desk drawer because he knew it would never be ratified by the Senate. Indeed, the Senate voted 95-0 to not even consider ratifying it so long as developing countries like China were left out of the scheme. (See inconvenient truth No. 1.)

Overlooked by the mobs who decried Bush's "treason against the planet" (to borrow a phrase from columnist Paul Krugman) is the fact that Barack Obama has opted to stay out of the Kyoto system for the same reason. Making carbon fuels more expensive for us while not making them more expensive for China and Co. means that fossil-fuel users will move their businesses to the developing world even faster while costs and taxes for consumers will skyrocket.

While it's great fun -- and entirely worthwhile -- to make a stink about Climategate, it would be a shame if people believed that Copenhagen's inevitable failure hinged on this one scandal. Even if the CRU researchers were the model of scientific dispassion, these schemes are pointless. Indeed, even if global warming is the threat the alarmists claim it is, it makes no sense to waste trillions of dollars on "fixes" that will do little to fix the alleged problem.

It's time to start over, beginning with the science.

******************************
This article was written by Jonah Goldberg
Jonah Goldberg is editor at large of National Review Online.
The Columbus Dispatch

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Comments:

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sugarnspice005

Dec 7 @ 11:25AM  
I tend to not really take these reports to heart. Depending on what news network one is watching.....it's either the "end of the world", or, "just an attempt to make light of global warming".

If I really want to know, I'll look things up myself and not rely on the tactics of news channels or politicians.

I just feel there is way too much spin out there anymore to really believe in the way things are reported on the news anymore. I'd rather do my own reading and make my own decisions.

Wordsofwit

Dec 7 @ 11:30AM  
What often happens in these summits (the one a several years ago on banning land mines comes to mind) is that everyone has distinctive ideas on what they want other countries to change so as to do what they want done to incorporate their political agenda. But nobody is willing to make any changes to accommodate others. Consequently, like the League of Nations, such endeavors are pretty much doomed from the get go.

I am not going to spend much time on this as no one here has any say in the matter, but let me lift one piece out of puzzle box. Let's take China and the massive rise that nation has had in growing to be the new giant in the manufacturing sector with good to very good products at an unbeatable selling price. Much of this success is based upon keeping costs down. With an autocratic communist government they can completely disregard the environment and proceed like other nations did during the industrial revolution over 100 years ago.

Yet western multi-national corporations still farm out huge amounts manufacturing to them turning a blind eye while still talking out their ass about "going green". Consumers like you and I still buy their products marketed under the names of companies we know and trust.

Good blog and a well written op-ed by Mr. Goldberg. The National Review is a very respected conservative publication that makes its points with a logical informed perspective.
borty293

Dec 7 @ 11:59AM  
I think it boils down to individual responsibility. Each one of us has the power to clean up our own mess and put pressure on politicans to stop major polluters from thinking they can devistate the environement just because its profitable.
selectusername

Dec 7 @ 12:20PM  
National Review seems to express a great deal of common sense
viewpoints that the average shmuck sees yet somehow isn't reflected
in the mainstream media very often. I usually ignore the media for that
reason, just weary of having liberal smoke blown up my ass about their

idiotic ideas that are so far removed from reality for the common man.
somnium

Dec 7 @ 12:38PM  
Good blog Straddle!

The only thing that comes to mind regarding the 'Global Warming' dilemma are the research scientists! Whether their research is being done for either side of the political fence, the majority of the scientists, all have one common thread among them: GRANTS! Research scientists for the most part, need grants to fund their... guess what... research activities! Where do these grants come from? For the most part, from the institutions/corporations they work for and from Unky Sam! Am I going to believe the statistics presented by a group of scientists or by a spokesman for their group by the likes of Al Bore?? No!!! Does that mean I'm going to lean towards the right and believe the statistics from those scientists then? No!!

In my opinion, scientists are good at taking known physical aspects of our planet and using those statistics, to develop working products! For instance: the Germans were the first to split the atom- we (the USA) took that principle and developed the first atomic weapon- for good or bad and still debatable, when you consider that the power of the atom also produces electrical power too!

Also in my opinion, scientists are NOT good at predicting what can be expected, when it comes to the Earth Sciences! Some processes that our planet goes through, take 10s of 1000s and in most cases, 10s of 1,000,000s of years to complete its cycle! Yet these scientists can take a set of so-called facts taken over of period of a few 10s of years and predict catastrophic events to come within a few years???

Do you know that our planet at one time was covered in ice a mile thick from one pole to the other about 700,000,000 years ago, for 25,000,000 years, wiping out 90% of life on Earth before volcanic activity ended that cycle??? Do you know that we're not even to the middle between the last ice age and the next 'predicted' one (about 50,000 years between ice ages)??? Those are records I can believe in- 10s of years of 'dooms day' statistics, don't mean zip to me!

There is more to all of this so-called Global Warming alarmists static going on here, than meets the eye in my opinion- much more! It screams costing us billions if not more, while benefiting the few!

DarkKnightWalking

Dec 7 @ 1:46PM  
My professor in college held 4 Masters degrees all in environmental applications. He got very upset when asked about global warming and would more than emphasize what his views were. Which was that it was a total farce. During the course of the semester, he had us download a sim program of the earth, I believe it WAS SimEarth named, and had us double the amounts of CO2, etc concerning warming and then let it run for a virtual year. HUGE program, it took two weeks for even my fast PC to complete. End result: very little change, including the earths average temperature changing by ONE degree.

So...I don't know what to think. a gazillion say yes, a gazillion say no.
Thenewguy2957

Dec 8 @ 11:45AM  
So I can resume pouring my used motor oil into the wetlands out back?
drcocktail87

Dec 9 @ 6:26PM  
So I can resume pouring my used motor oil into the wetlands out back?

Well if you do the property you may own will end up being the wetlands rather then over looking it because of the erosion you're directly causing.

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Don't blame emails for Copenhagen's failure