Monday, December 21, 2009

The Copenhagen Climate Follies

Mercifully, the Copenhagen Climate Follies have finally concluded.

After two years of painstaking negotiations, the
Copenhagen Summit - billed as the last, best chance for
the world's governments to finally get a Grip On Global Warming -
ended in farce, with plenty of grandstanding and finger-pointing
to go around.

Just by getting a look at the scene you could tell what was coming.

Those world leaders who didn't arrive by Government VIP
aircraft did so on the private jets of some of the world's
most powerful corporations, from there to be shuttled to
and fro by limousine, carefully kept away from the press
and the public.

But, "the public" was also in Copenhagen in force -
protesting the almost complete lack of progress by
the world's governments since the Kyoto Accords
of 1998.

But, as we've learned from The Global Financial Crisis,
the globe's elites are not going to get involved - unless
there's money to be made.

And, judging from the schemes floated at the summit,
there are plenty of ways for the Global Elite to continue
to plunder the rest of us.

Schemes like "Cap and Trade" and "Carbon Futures".
No doubt the Squid and the other investment banks will
be all over that. And "Carbon Taxes?' Just what the doctor
ordered for the recession-stricken populations of Europe and
the U.S. And of course, there are always plenty of "subsidies"
to be talked about - on the order of $100 Billion per year
by 2020 to poorer countries, to help them cope with
environmental degradation and the development of
alternate energy sources.

And how did this epic conference end? No Treaty, no
Binding Accord, but rather a three-page statement of
"glittering generalities", by which we will kick the can
down the road for another few years, and hope things
don't get too bad in the meantime.

Well, what about it? Just this - Global Warming is a Fact, and
in my opinion whether it is Entirely Anthropogenic or not
is immaterial.

Because the truth is, we live in a relatively narrow optimal
climate and temperature envelope. If we were to hold
Mean Global Temperature Increase to 2 degrees Celsius
over the next twenty years, we might have a chance on
stabilizing things, and even reversing the long-term trend.

But, we've got to be careful here - any secular long-term
cooling trend of 2 degrees C. or more, and we're headed
toward a Little Ice Age in as few as two hundred years.

The bottom line is this - human existence depends upon
maintaining long-term mean global temperatures of
between 28 and30 C. Any higher or lower than that,
and you've got problems.

And how did the Climate Follies address the issue?
By alternately ignoring it and protesting it. The
"Emerging Markets" nations, seeing their low-wage,
low-regulation advantage over the advanced countries
about to be regulated away, stonewalled.

China, which accounts for an astounding 44% of coal-derived
greenhouse gas emissions, said it will continue to build
coal-fired power plants, as it "studies" the issue. India
also deferred action. Brazil, which has contributed hugely
to the problem though decades of deforestation, will tackle
the problem - if it gets subsidies from the rich nations to
do so.

So what are we in the U.S. to do? I would say that until
the U.N. Climate Conference can get better organized,
maybe we should just do what we are already doing -
moving gradually away from petroleum-based motor
fuels, getting away from coal for power generation, and
moving toward natural gas, renewables and (yes)
nuclear power for the long term.

Even de-industrialization and offshoring have helped -
by dismantling our industrial base and shipping it
to China India, Korea and Mexico, we've made our
industrial pollution problem someone else's.

Remember, it's better to be unemployed, poverty-stricken
and environmentally pure than otherwise.

Who says mass unemployment can't benefit somebody?

Look for our "elites" to be telling us that around
election time, when we ask about re-industrialization
and "onshoring" jobs back to the United States.

"Can't be Done" - they'll say. "Global Warming" and all that.

Really? Well, I suppose we'll just have to make things a
little warmer for you.

What's the "Carbon Footprint" of Pitchforks and Torches?

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