walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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Published on: November 28, 2010
Dead Green Treaty Stinks Up The Room

What a difference a year makes.  Last year at this time, the Great Green Delusion — that the United Nations process could deliver a treaty that would stop global warming dead in its tracks — was the hottest idea in town.  Those who dissented were scorned and despised; the environmental movement and its army of press loyalists were the Great and the Good who knew how to solve the world’s problems.  120 country heads dropped whatever they were doing to catch a flight to Copenhagen: who could miss a historic moment like this?

Now, a year and two high-profile international negotiating fiascoes later, the next scheduled meeting in the UN process in Cancun, Mexico isn’t getting nearly the same kind of attention.  The New York Times will not even be sending a reporter for the full event; “What will there even be to cover in Cancun in terms of public policy or reader interest?” asks the chief climate reporter of the Washington Post.  The BBC sent 20 reporters to Copenhagen; only one will go to Cancun.

(Source: UNFCCC)

It is not just that the Cancun meeting isn’t expected to produce much.  The whole UN treaty process is increasingly being seen as a colossal and humiliating blunder.  Embarrassed environmentalists are finding it harder and harder to pretend that this particular parrot is only, as the Monty Python skit put it, ‘pining for the fjords.’  Worse, some of the smarter greens out there are realizing that the UN process is not going to disappear just because it is a dead end.

Most people have long stopped following the tortuous saga of the collapse of the UN process to fight climate change by adopting a treaty to be signed by all 192 members of the United Nations.  The treaty was intended to be the successor to the ineffective and expiring Kyoto Protocol, and was conceived of as a ‘grand bargain.’  The US Senate had in effect rejected Kyoto 95-0 because the Protocol limited US emissions without placing restrictions on the rapidly growing economies of the developing world.  Son of Kyoto (call it SOK for short) would get around this by placing limits of some kind on all the world’s countries.  The geniuses behind SOK framed the problem this way: how do we get the developing countries to sign on to carbon limits strict enough that the US Senate would ratify the next global treaty?

The answer was obvious: bribe them.  Put enough rich country taxpayer money on the table and even the most corrupt and shortsighted rentier regimes in the developing world will experience an extraordinary upsurge in green conviction.  The dream was that the developing countries properly and appropriately compensated would sign on to emission limits of their own, the US Senate would ratify and as Barack Obama explained it to us, the earth would begin to cool and the seas start to recede.

This was a fool’s errand from the beginning, but the decision to assign the complex and delicate SOK negotiation was to the United Nations under rules that require the unanimous consent of 190 plus countries before a treaty draft can be approved guaranteed failure.

Universal consent for a treaty of this kind makes no sense: it frankly doesn’t matter to the atmosphere or anyone else whether Vanuatu, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea or Cuba signs on or not.  And many of the other ‘negotiators’ in this process — I forbear to name any countries  — have such feeble and crooked governments that they are incapable of enforcing a climate treaty no matter how many inspiring documents they sign.  Yet under the UN rules, any one of these countries can veto the treaty and bring the whole process to a juddering halt.

The SOK negotiations quickly turned into a parody of diplomacy in which political reality disappeared from view.  Northern green activists lobbied to get strict carbon targets adopted.  Developing country diplomats focused on ‘appropriate compensation’.  Just how green did the North want the South to become, and just how much money was the North willing to pay to make this happen?  Negotiators played with rich country aid budgets like kids with Monopoly money, and issued vague and intoxicating pledges that, in an era of austerity, will never be honored.

In the hothouse fantasy land of UN negotiations, the path to compromise looked simple.  Soon enough, the numbers began to come clear: northern activists developed a formula for carbon restriction that they liked and the southern diplomats found a number that worked for them:  a $100 billion sweetener to start, ultimately rising to $100 billion a year to be paid by the advanced countries to the developing ones in order to compensate them for pain and suffering.

True, the inspiring solidarity of the developing world rapidly broke down in a squalid battle over how to parcel out the hundred billion, and developing countries were strangely resistant to proposals that international monitors verify their compliance with the treaty regime, but overall this was a beautiful and brilliant plan with only one flaw: pigs will fly and the Hudson River will flow with Perrier before the US Senate ratifies a treaty like this.

Let’s review the bidding for a moment.  Even John Kerry and Ted Kennedy voted against the Kyoto Protocol on the grounds that it was too tough on the US and too easy on China and India.  Kyoto would have restricted US carbon output but left China and India free to do what they liked.  This is the problem the new treaty was supposed to fix.

Our genius environmentalists came up with the idea that in order to make the treaty more palatable to US public opinion and therefore to the Senate, the US would assume an open-ended and eternal obligation to pay tens of billions of dollars a year to various developing world governments, however corrupt, incompetent, dictatorial and unfriendly these might be.  Iran, Cuba, and North Korea would get money just like Yemen, Syria and Sudan.  In exchange, these countries along with India and China would accept restrictions on their carbon output that are significantly less drastic than those to be imposed on the US.

Who could possibly object to a smart plan like this?  What US Senator wouldn’t love to defend a vote to force taxpayers to subsidize Iran while giving China permanent business advantages over the US?  Surely Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh would find nothing to attack here.  Getting two thirds of the Senate to ratify a no-brainer like this would be a cakewalk.

This is the fruit of the gigantic brains of the Great Gurus of Green.  This is the bright shining idea at the core of the UN process: that US opposition to Kyoto could be overcome by requiring the US to pay tens of billions of dollars in Green Danegeld to the third world every year.  And the people who thought of this had Big Degrees from Name Schools!  We know, because they keep telling us, that they are smarter than the rest of us and they understand complex systems better than we do.  These are the geniuses to whom we are to entrust ever greater control over ever larger swathes of the global economy because, after all, they see so clearly and so far.

Meanwhile, back in the actual world where voters live, cap-and-trade failed to find 60 Senate votes and went down in flames this year, and its unpopularity helped defeat Democrats in marginal seats.  How does attaching a thirty billion dollar a year foreign aid bill (roughly the US share of any $100 billion annual transfer from rich to poor countries) to a tax-raising carbon bill make it more popular?  What are the chances that a treaty like that will get a two thirds vote in the Senate when cap and trade couldn’t get 60?

The truth is increasingly hard to disguise:  Son of Kyoto is a fatally flawed, deeply dumb idea and every minute and every dime spent on it has been wasted right from the start.   Whether you believe in global warming or not, it is (or ought to be) blindingly obvious that nothing short of a coup d’etat or a lost war would get Son of Kyoto through the US Senate.  Any US Senate.  Ever.

The mainstream press has all along been the key point of failure.  The press consistently failed to subject SOK proponents to basic common-sense questioning; arguably this dereliction of duty is to blame for whatever additional climate change results from wasted years and lost credibility.  The view that environmental reporters have been captured by their subject and have become clueless cheerleaders rather than critical observers was widely shared by their colleagues, reports a must-read piece by Margot O’Neill, an Australian journalist and climate change proponent who spent a year studying environmental journalism in Britain.  The Climategate scandal of hacked email plus the ludicrous and unvetted IPCC claims about melting Himalayan glaciers led to a newsroom backlash against climate reporters who told O’Neill that their colleagues responded with “dirty looks, a “sense of betrayal”, accusations that climate reporters had “gone native,” and cries that “you told me the science was settled – and it isn’t!”   As one British print journalist summed it up, “Climate-gate was extremely damaging in many ways. It gave the impression that journalists had been duped. I think in the end it was mountains out of mole-hills but it looked really bad.”

These days, however, even the press is getting the message.  The Economist, the house organ of the global establishment (and easily the best-written and smartest weekly news magazine published in English) now concedes that the effort to stop global warming by treaty has run out of gas and that since the Earth is going to warm, we need to think about managing change rather than stopping it.  The Financial Times, the salmon-pink newspaper that most global financiers, investors and CEOs read every day, is also coming, regretfully, to the same conclusion.  FT columnist Phillip Stevens thinks that capitalism will have to save the planet as politicians have failed. Over at Politico, Darren Samuelsohn’s piece says that the UN climate talks are “in limbo“; the Columbia Journalism Review reports that articles on climate change have recently touched a four year low.  Two of three climate op-eds published in this Sunday’s New York Times assume the irrelevance of global CO2 carbon negotiations and propose alternative approaches to climate issues.

The public has lost interest, the press is embarrassed, the policy has failed.  There is then a widespread, even a near-universal agreement that the Cancun meeting will not raise the chances for action on the Son of Kyoto agenda.

None of this of course is enough to stop green lobbyists and diplomats from spewing pollution, carbonaceous and otherwise, into the earth’s bruised and weary atmosphere on yet another vain junket.  The reporters are staying away in droves, but the bureaucrats and the lobbyists are flocking to Cancun from all over the world.  Tons of CO2 will pour into the atmosphere, acres of forest will be denuded for tons of useless memos and unread reports that will be quickly discarded, mostly unread, by the delegates.  Carbon-emitting generators will burn night and day, pumping out the power to keep the conference rooms crisp and cool as the green grandees try to pretend that something meaningful is taking place and the brain-dead UN process grinds on.

(Ever wonder why more diplomatic gasfests aren’t scheduled for horrible or dull locations?  If delusional green treaty addicts must waste time, money and resources on worthless, no-hope diplomatic engagements, obviously they don’t intend to spend time in unpleasant surroundings.  And as for setting an example to the rest of us by canceling high-profile but pointless gatherings and substituting low carbon videoconferencing for Mexican beach weekends, don’t be absurd.  The Right to Junket is a pillar of the Universal Declaration of Bureaucratic Perks and it would be a serious thought crime to suggest that they all just stay home.)

As serious greens and other interested parties now struggle to figure out what to do about managing the growing impact of human activity on our battered and vulnerable planet, the rotting, bloated corpse of this UN process could stink up the room for years to come.  Like a dead whale on the beach, the SOK process isn’t going away anytime soon.  The developing world is never going to forget that hundred billion dollars, and all future discussions of cooperative environmental action will have to wrestle with inflated hopes raised by irresponsible declarations at Copenhagen and elsewhere.

The Ecologist, an authoritative environmental website, contains some deeply dispiriting ideas about what the Cancun debates will be all about.  Much of the business will revolve around money — specifically, around charges by developing countries that they aren’t getting enough money fast enough.  Only 13 percent of the promised money has actually been received; more, the developed countries seem to be systematically welshing on their solemn pledges to pay the Green Danegeld in new money rather than shuffling their existing aid budgets to relabel old money as ‘green’.  And then there is the problem of oversight.  The developing countries generally want the money paid through a UN body, for reasons which I am sure have nothing whatever to do with the UN’s demonstrated inability to monitor the use of money or fight corruption.  For reasons no doubt deeply rooted in imperialism and racism, developed countries prefer that any donations that they do in fact make be handled by relatively tightfisted organizations like the World Bank. But is the money being allocated properly among developing countries?  There are a great many who think it isn’t, and they have alternative formulas to propose.  By an odd coincidence, the countries proposing these new formulas would benefit substantially if they were adopted.

And other important questions are waiting to be ventilated at Cancun.  Is $100 billion really enough for the first tranche?  Wouldn’t $200 billion be a more appropriate figure?  The printers are churning out position papers on this topic; the delegates are ready to engage.

This kind of squabble can go on for years, providing comfortable employment and interesting travel opportunities for diplomats and bureaucrats until the last shrinking ice floe capsizes under the weight of the last polar bear and the last drop of moisture falls from the last patch of Himalayan ice.

The one positive outcome of this misbegotten process is the slow rise of smart environmental commentary as more and more reporters and commentators see the treaty farce for what it is.  Recent articles in the FT and the Economist are notable for their focus on approaches to environmental problems that don’t depend on top down, state-heavy interventions.  At the Globe and Mail in Canada, Margaret Wente makes some strong points, even if she does quote irresponsible hotheads like yours truly.  My old CFR colleague Michael Levi is making some important and interesting points on his lively, well informed blog.  Belatedly, the more intelligent environmentalists seem to be warming to a shift away from the effort to impose a top down, state driven and ham-fisted approach via an expensive and unratifiable treaty to a variety of smaller scale, more tightly focused ideas that depend more on local initiatives and the private sector.

Son of Kyoto (like the Kyoto Protocol itself) has never been anything but a huge diversion from the real conversations that need to take place.  It has polarized debate and wasted time, and its demise leaves the world no closer to practical approaches to greenhouse gasses than we were a decade ago.  An active and engaged reporter on the environmental beat would be putting together the full story of how this disaster took place, how much it cost, who the geniuses were who put it together — and attempting to estimate how much it all cost.

Our society desperately needs brave, imaginative, indefatigable journalists who are willing to follow important stories no matter who they threaten or offend.  Let’s hope they turn up.

show comments
  • Corlyss

    What’s stunning about the year since the Climategate scandal is that the subsequent revelations about how, well, really non-existent the scientific support for AGW is, the juggernaught of governmental policies supporting it and most of all the hugely profitable schemes known carbon trading go on unabated. No governments have stopped or even reduced their funding to sustain AGW and the scientists who spout it. Neither have any foundations. This is completely insane, given how monstrously expensive this is making energy for the rest of us. How can this unreasoned and unreasonable charade continue as if it had not been exposed a year ago?

  • S. Weasel

    I’d hurry, if I were you. We got two inches of snow in the sunny South of England this morning. In November. Another miserable cold Winter (or two) like the last one, and you won’t be able to peddle your goods anywhere on this island.

    And when you’ve lost Britain…

  • Celebrim

    What’s even more stunning is how much Copenhagen and what followed thereafter has vindicated the views of George W. Bush regarding how carbon emissions could best be addressed. That cowboy from Texas with his belief in unilateral policy decisions keeps seeming better and better all the time.

  • noahp

    What the world needs now is not ‘love sweet love’, but power dense electrical generating technology that will practically allow literally the powerless of the world access to that which we take for granted…send them modular Thorium based power plants! That kind of aid does not end in Swiss bank accounts!

  • Fen

    “Belatedly, the more intelligent environmentalists seem to be warming to a shift away from the effort to impose a top down, state driven- ”

    Its the Socialism, stupid.

    If enviros really want to “save” the planet, they need to ditch the socialists that are piggy-backing on the movement.

  • Ben

    As technology progresses (interesting how little “progressives” seem to be interested in tech progress), we’ll find ways to save ourselves without busting the budget or having politicians tell us how to live. Problems will be mitigated, and life will go on. The average person realized this long ago.

  • Willis

    What the world needs is more corn ethanol and more coal powered electric cars.

  • Lakelevel

    ClimateGate was not “mountains out of molehills”. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs, and Climategate showed the world that the computer models were complete bunk. If they won’t even make the code for these models public, there is every reason to be skeptical. Secondly the biggest climategate news not to be reported is that the models have been proven not to follow new ocean thermometer and satellite readings. If the models don’t match the real world and The High Priests of Climate Science won’t even let us see the models, why would anyone not be a skeptic?

  • Steven M.

    I want a warmer world, who wouldn’t? Longer growing seasons, less energy to heat homes, more comfortable lifestyles. Tell me what I need to do to encourage warming, and I’m all-over it.

  • Lorenz Gude

    Yes, the UN is a corrupt and failed institution; the US Senate is merely corrupt which has never been a serious impediment to its effectiveness. As an American I expect senators to get themselves hawg rich but I also expect them to be prudent with the national interest. That 95-0 vote against Kyoto is a excellent example of such prudence. Their involvement with the parastatals Fannie and Freddie (‘parastatal’ is a instructive term I picked up in Zimbabwe) resulted in precisely what we elect them to avoid – serious failure.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Global Warming is BS, we know this because the Enviro-Misanthropes and their greedy and power hungry fellow travelers, had to change the name to “Climate Change” to hide the FACT that there isn’t any global warming.
    I like Carbon Dioxide, it’s the foundation of the food chain, it’s what plants eat. Experiments growing plants in different levels of carbon dioxide indicate that plants are producing 15% more plant material than before as well as being more water tolerant, and this will continue to increase with increasing carbon dioxide levels.

  • Peter

    Excellent post, Mr. Mead.

    And did you notice that Ozone Al Gore now admits that EtOH is a bad idea for fuel. Gee, who would have guess?

  • M. Simon

    I could see Mexican Drug Gangs adding excitement to the meeting.

  • Mkelley
  • Andy Freeman

    > And did you notice that Ozone Al Gore now admits that EtOH is a bad idea for fuel. Gee, who would have guessed?

    Al Gore was for EtOH as long as he had political ambitions because of the Iowa caucuses.

    He’s invested in other things now, so naturally he’s advocating for them. He’s apologizing for his previous EtOH advocacy in hopes that the subsidies get redirected appropriately.

    It’s always about the money for Al.

  • JohnRDC

    Cancun is just another ten-day bacchanal for the “greenies.” They do it every year, and make sure the location is well-suited for drinking, promiscuous sex, etc. Courtesy of their governments’ and NGOs’ fat travel budgets

    Public policy? Well, maybe they’ll devote a few hours to hearing yet more meaningless papers read.

  • Donald Sensing

    Lifetime employment for its advocates and delegates has become the primary goal of the Cancum conference. Once upon a time (Copenhagen, in fact), they thought that they really could set a world government that was the old Soviet system writ large, but they’re not so starry eyed anymore. If they can’t have both power and perks, well, they’ll settle for the perks.

    I say let ‘em have them. It’s a small bribe to pay to keep them both ineffective and ineffectual.

  • Don Myers

    I think what struck me most about the article was the highlighting of how useless the UN process is. Is the UN succeeding at anything other than wasting resources? Maybe Mr Mead can explain why the UN is necessary for anything at all? Wouldnt “diplomacy” still go on?

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  • nb

    I usually admire WR Mead’s stuff, but this one was pretty disappointing because it fails to address the core economic argument at stake.

    Let’s assume the US wants to reduce global carbon emissions. The cheapest way to do this FROM A PURELY SELFISH US PERSPECTIVE is to pay China (or some other developing country) to make the carbon reductions over there. The reason is that China is currently much less energy efficient than the US. As a result, the economic cost (GDP loss) of reducing one ton of carbon emissions is much lower in China than it in the US, where we have already plucked a lot of the low hanging fruit in terms of energy efficiency, modern energy technology etc. Therefore it is in our interest to pay the Chinese a smaller amount for the GDP loss they will suffer than to suffer a bigger GDP loss ourselves.

    Of course you can argue that the corrupt buffoons in Congress would never buy this rational economic argument. And you’d be right… just like they would never accept a lot of other reforms that would make our country better off as a whole, e.g. by getting rid of ethanol subsidies, other ag subsidies and so many other forms of sleazy corporate welfare.

    I fear a lot of the excessive and quite unusual low quality ranting in this WR Mead article may reflect a guilty conscience that he has completely failed to address the substantive issue at hand.

    Poor show Mr Mead, poor show!

  • Steve S

    Fascinating article by Margot O’Neill that you linked to. At the end of the article we are treated to the revelation that in order to report on climate science, the reporters should have a grounding in science.

    Ya think?

  • Marty

    I was disappointed in this post–while the political analysis is good, as always, you skate by teh main point which is that the actual need for all this has never been demonstrated. One could read this piece and come away with the idea that something of proven importance had failed due to cumbersome UN procedures and related political miscalculations, whereas the truth is that the world has, hopefully, dodged a very destructive bullet.

  • Ben Cook

    The eunuchs in the assembly had to do something to earn their rent… errr pay.

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  • Mike Markey

    Well, Al Gore has made his 100 million or so soaking the global warming suckers on burning booze. The climate change industry has burned up about 10,000 gal of dino fuel getting to and having their little cocktail party in Cancun. I can just imagine whats going to come out of that. More grant money for the scientists, who are making more money from this scam than they ever could have imagined. More money to be sent to tin pot despots for “controling” emmissions in the 3rd world that will end up in Swiss bank accounts (paid for by the US and other well of democracy’s of course). China laughing its collective [rear end — ed] off at the fools and building a new coal fired power plant once a week. And more pompous [donkeys — ed] telling us were all going to die and scareing the hell out of our kids to keep this charade going for another generation. As they say in the commercial, Priceless.

  • Sal Minella

    What fools they are. A silent spring I’ve never heard. A population bomb that proved a dud. Oh, were are the killer bees? And the depleted trees? And some Peak oil, I use it in my car. The skies were blue…and they still are. As a child I hid beneath my desk waiting for the white-hot flash that never came and now I’m pining for that cleansing flame. What a bunch of overpopulated, denuded forest, mad cow, killer bee, recycled, depleted oil, polluted skies, insect void, millenium bug, nuclear winter, lead, mercury, rising sea, shrinking ice, etc. ad nauseum fools they are.

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  • PerryM

    Man made global warming is a hoax perpetuated on us by Liberal scientists, Liberal politicians, and Liberal media.

    They all lie because they are Liberals.

    Science can’t forecast the weather 48 hours in advance accurately and yet scientists claim to be able to forecast global warming for decades ahead.

    Science, sadly, has been so corrupted that the Nobel prize is handed to Obama for just showing up for work. (I know it was the peace prize but it came from the Liberal scientific community).

    So you scientist expect deep cuts for all your other liberal projects you work on – like the snail darter fish and the spotted owl – all from you Libs and all lies.

    A dark age of science is about to descend on you and you did it to yourselves.

    You in the Lamestream Media – your day of reckoning is already here………….

  • deadfoo7

    Marty, the author is still a AGW supporter. He hasn’t faced the fact that AGW is hookum, bushwaha, gagbage. Global climate cycles existed long before humans. Mars is in the throes of global warming also. So unless one postulates humans on Mars, one has to look elsewhere for a valid hypothesis. The sun springs to mind, it being an element both Mars and Earth have in common.
    The problem with the sun as the driver of climate change is that there is no point in trillions in wealth transfers since the sun doesn’t care what humans do. What self respecting Socialist advocates social policies that won’t transfer wealth to their pockets?
    A paper on solar driven climate change would not make the cut at any climate change conference. None of the Socialists are going to break their rice bowl.

  • arhooley

    Thanks for the expose of the treaty farce, Mr. Mead. But . . . what? You’re advocating other means of dealing with “global warming”? What say we pronounce the whole thing a hoax and move on to fact-based studies in meteorology?

  • So Cal Mike

    People miss the broader point and so does WRM.

    The Greenie grandees love the junkets and the Quijotian sense that they are saving the world but for the faithful green like the “smart” environmental editors WRM mentions, they aren’t going away or wising up.
    They are waiting for the time to strike when conditions are better. For them this isn’t about science. It’s about religion.
    Their religion and their god.
    They spent the last 15 years trying to cram it down our throats.
    They worship the environment and are quite intent on cramming their god down our throats when the time is right.
    For now they can content themselves with the fraud of keeping their obsolete job titles of “Environmental Editor” or “Science Editor” while their bishops and high priests run to Cancun to offer 100s of billions a year of other people’s money to combat pure Hobgoblinism.
    Environmental High Priest is more like it.

    At least WRM gets it as far as he does but I don’t think he quite gets just how invested media and officialdom are. The media are in love with the entire Quijotian Kabuki and Hobgoblinism that puts their jobs on autopilot and crams their god down out throats while politicians see it as an All Purpose Commerce Clause, i.e. a pretext to regulate everything.

  • Heywood Jablowme

    “…Ever wonder why more diplomatic gasfests aren’t scheduled for horrible or dull locations? If delusional green treaty addicts must waste time, money and resources on worthless, no-hope diplomatic engagements, obviously they don’t intend to spend time in unpleasant surroundings…”

    How about this as a suggestion for the new U.S. House of Representatives? Promise to make the next annual U.S. payment to the UN, if and only if they move the entire operation to Kazahkstan. Then demolish the UN building and redevelop the site as a boat marina.

  • Paul Gauge

    It seems that explaining the UN would be difficult for Prof. Mead since, although some light is dawning, he is still hoping for “intelligent”journalists to be created out of our media planet ex nihilo and bitterly clinging to the concept of “the growing impact of human activity on our battered and vulnerable planet.”

    He needs to go to The Full Dyson.

  • Typicalwhitewoman

    Bush is looking smarter and smarter, for having the good sense to NOT sign on to such [equine detritus — ed], as Kyoto.

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  • Georges Makhtouf

    This article missed the silver lining in the dark cloud: what about that lucky BBC reporter who, thanks to this IPCC conference, is spending a week in Cancun instead of snowy, frosty Britain?

  • seven degrees

    Thank you, GW Bush for your intelligence about the global warming hoax…we’d be a lot worse off had you not refused to buy into Kyoto…

  • The Dukeof the Demolition of the UN

    Walter Russell Mead is mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore!!!!!!

    I have a plan. Let’s we Americans focus on OUR ENERGY POLICIES.

    We can’t stop the Neo-Napoleons from slamming Patron shots with their UN co-conspirators but we can cut US taxpayer money out of their march to destroy the USA.

    If the Neo-Napoleons would set their focus on the lobbyists behind the “Food Safety Bill” then I would join those smelly hippies not matter how bad they smell.

  • wncchester

    “…muted hope that small steps could be made on a decades-long journey to reduce the planetary threat of rising global temperatures.”

    Either that’s silly on its face or some folks have been lying to us all along; I mean the whining of global warming is past worrying about or all the gloomy projections were a farce! ALbore said 6-8 years ago in his brilliant (and totally scientific) “Inconvienent” movie we only had some 4-5 years to correct things or we were dumbed, I mean doomed.

  • Jay Bryant

    I’ll support doing something about global warming, as opposed to merely tolerating, or perhaps even enjoying it, when someone can explain to me how it was that in the year 1000 there were grapes growing in Vinland, er, Labrador, and farmers were raising crops and stock in Greenland, while at the same time Venetian mariners pushed their ships away from the very same shores that remain in the same place (even some of the same buildings remain) and became a great power. Then came the little ice age and still the sea stayed where it was. Shouldn’t it have receded? Now we’ve been warming again for a century and a half and yet the gondolas still ply the canals, and the rocks are still bound to the coast in Maine, and the sun still shines on the Seychelles. Ah, the Seychelles! I think the greenies should schedule their 2050 meeting in that lovely spot — whose continued existence will utterly disprove their premise.

  • Sal Minella

    Didn’t like the post? Well here’s the poem:

    What Trembling Fools They Are

    A silent spring I’ve never heard,
    DDT didn’t kill my bird.
    The population bomb has proved a dud,
    Not so my favorites bud.
    Where’s the cloud of killer bees,
    The forest with depleted trees?
    Skies were blue – they still are,
    Peak oil – I use it in my car.
    Polar ice just won’t melt,
    It’s a lie that Al Gore dealt.
    My skivvies in disarray,
    As I’m fingered by the TSA.
    As a child beneath my desk,
    Escaping that Atomic death,
    A white-hot flash that never came,
    I’m pining for that cleansing flame.
    Fear of something real,
    Not panic-driven zeal,
    Wedged firmly in my craw.
    Oh, what trembling fools they are,
    Who sold my freedom for a law.

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  • Paul

    “How about this as a suggestion for the new U.S. House of Representatives? Promise to make the next annual U.S. payment to the UN, if and only if they move the entire operation to Kazahkstan. Then demolish the UN building and redevelop the site as a boat marina.”

    Could Borat be Secretary General?

  • Independent109

    Obama can afford to promise a cooler climate pattern with receding seas because it has already started inspite of what the MET and NOAA may say.

  • J:LK

    Great reading from WRM as usual. Also a few laffs from people like NB who don’t seem to have read the article and have less brainpower in their entire cranium than WRM in his pinky finger.

    One thing of note though: I sense (actually was overwhelmed by) the intense anger displayed in this article. It is as if this issue pushes every hot button WRM has.

    There are so many issues to be angered about …it seems like a new one per week pops up…you should try to modify your emotions so you don’t get overhwelmed by all the stupidity in the world, especially as demonstrated by this WH.

    Also noted (again)the beginnings of the recovery from “Bush Derangement Syndrome”. Back in 04-05 I used to offer bets, especially to my Euro friends that Dubya would be considered top third of the 20th Century in the “American Heritage” Historian’s poll within 10 years of leaving office. They used to look at me like I had 3 eyes and 4 ears.

    Now I think his rehab will be within 5 years thanks to being followed by the worst President of the 20th-21st century. Carter, Harding, Wilson and Nixon should be pleased as well.

  • MJ

    What has amazed me as this whole enviro-fiasco evolved from the antiwar (read that socialist) movement is how easily we tolerate fools and shysters like algore and these so-called diplomats from the UN. Serious question, what if the US simply refused to participate?

  • Hammerli

    The UN has never been an effective organization for negotiating ANYTHING. Maybe some help with disaster reilief ( not much ), but other than that, a palace in NYC for windbags to blow hot air, and a vacuum for any country’s currency stupid enough to send it the UN’s way.

  • Laura Freas

    I say if the bureaucrats want to waste their time in a meeting, I say let them on condition that they use an internet meeting program [like a or some such. That alone will save lots of money and carbon emissions. That should free up the private sector to spend their time and energy coming up with solutions as to how to slow down the climate change, if such change is even possible. Food for thought: I understand that the planet Mars is likewise going through a global planet climatic change. I supposed humans are likewise responsible for that, too?

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Is Global Warming “Pinning for the Fjords”?

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  • JLK

    I just noticed that Wikipedia has you pegged as a Dem that voted for Obama, seemingly thrusting that stumble to the top of your CV in the importance of your accomplishments

    Two questions
    1) Is it true? Or more Wikipediea [drivel –ed]?
    2) If so how can a intellect as powerful as yours be sucked in by vague and specious campagn slogans like “Hope and Change”. Is it an Ivy League solidarity thing?

    PS I must admit I voted for Carter and Perot!

    • Walter Russell Mead

      I long since stopped checking my Wikipedia entry as they don’t ever seem to do a very good job getting it right. However I did vote for Obama in 2008, less because I thought he had the answers than because I thought that the GOP was in no shape to govern — and that a McCain presidency with a Democratic congress would have been a disaster. I still think that was right, but one of the consolations of living in New York State is that in addition to getting to pay huge crushing taxes, it also doesn’t much matter how you vote in presidential elections.

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