Climate talks in Warsaw are wrapping up this week, and it’s looking like, once again, delegates will head back to their respective countries with nothing to show for their efforts. At this point, it’s hard not to conclude that this annual coming together is anything but a farce. The Financial Times echoes Via Meadia‘s criticism of this yearly ritual with a full-throated criticism of what has become a total waste of time and energy—trying to craft”a mutual impoverishment treaty” that will never work and never be enforced. The FT writes:
It is hardly surprising that progress has stalled. Such an agreement would in any case be unlikely to hold. Canada’s Kyoto commitments did not deter it from developing the lucrative Alberta oil sands, contributing to a rise in emissions that precipitated its withdrawal from the treaty.Instead of eliciting promises that no one knows how to fulfil, international efforts should focus on developing ways of satisfying human wants without wrecking the environment…To be sceptical of the UN talks is not to doubt the scientific consensus that climate change is real and threatening. But it cannot be solved with empty words. A new approach is needed to replace 20 years of futile talks.
The FT is also buying the VM remedy: research and looking for ways to reduce the human footprint even as the economy grows. Decoupling growth from carbon emissions is a far smarter goal than asceticism.The FT was in the past one of the strongest backers of the doomed global treaty approach. This reversal is an important sign that the Establishment consensus on this issue is cracking as its total impracticality becomes more obvious with each passing week. The Great and the Good went stark raving bonkers over this idea and it’s going to be embarrassing to climb down.But the green movement is so badly led and its emotionalism and irrationality provide such inadequate foundations for serious policy on a range of major issues, that the Establishment has no choice but to tip toe away. In time, even the NYT is going to have to run up the white flag on the global green movement.[Earth image courtesy of NASA]