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Belmont Club

The Big Green Machine

November 24th, 2009 - 9:25 am

Tim Flannery, chairman of the Copehagen Climate Council says the publication of documents taken from the British CRU suggesting some global warming data may have been manipulated only “reveals the depth to which climate skeptics will go to influence the course of events. … It does nothing to throw doubt on the climate science”.   It is the last act of desperation by heretics standing in the way of the big green doctrine. But the main response to suspcions that the whole thing has been cooked up has been to simply ignore criticism and focus on enacting new taxes and obtaining further pledges. Efforts to place the world under a Green Framework are well underway and nothing is going to stop it now.  Next stop: Copenhagen. The AFP reports:

the United States is to announce concrete targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions as pressure mounts on polluters to find a formula for success two weeks ahead of a crucial climate summit. …

An emissions target from the United States, the world’s number two polluter and wealthiest country, was essential for the success of the conference, according to United Nations climate chief Yvo de Boer.  “The key issue here at the moment is the United States. My sense is Obama will be in a position to come to Copenhagen with a target and a financial contribution,” he said in Brussels on Monday.

The sole roadblock may be the American voter. The global warmists privately fear that the US Congress will stand in the way of providing any real teeth to the whatever concessions the Obama delegation is prepared to make at the Danish capital. The Americas Society held a public discussion attended by a number of insiders to assess what would happen next. According to Rubén Kraiem of Covington & Burling the Green allies in the US Congress had best push through the needed measures before 2010 because the prospects of success after the elections are small.

According to Kraiem, the United States will not allow “what happened in Kyoto to happen again,” and the Obama administration will not commit itself to anything without domestic political consensus. Since the U.S. Congress won’t pass climate legislation before the Copenhagen conference, the only window it will have is early 2010, before the midterm elections in November. Politically, it will be “virtually impossible” to pass climate legislation in the United States close to or after the elections, said Kraiem. He is encouraged by the work of Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to craft legislation with bipartisan support, and he believes that the United States will eventually commit to an international legally binding agreement. But he cautioned that the U.S. commitment would be far short of global expectations. …

In closing, the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Annette Heuser reemphasized the short timeline the United States has to pass domestic cap and trade legislation. She also echoed the call for a concrete timetable for 2010 in order to avoid letting policymakers “off the hook.” (emphasis mine)

Keep up the pressure. Keep up the momentum. The Obama administration appeared to be doing just that by trying to get as close as it could to a “final treaty” in Copehhagen without action from Congress. According to the Politico:

“It would be a mistake to conclude that the international community’s failure to reach a final treaty in Copenhagen is due to a lack of domestic legislation in the United States,” said a senior White House official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity. …

Until now, the United States has resisted setting a specific goal for greenhouse gas reduction, arguing that the international negotiators cannot preempt Congress. And expectations for the talks have fallen over the past few months, a change some blame on the inability of Congress to commit to a concrete target. …

“I think we go into Copenhagen with a very, very strong hand,” said one of the officials. “We have done I think more than anyone could have expected us to do in a short time.”

The targets, said Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, will demonstrate U.S. leadership on the climate issue and encourage other nations to make firm commitments.

“The Obama administration will be able to say to the world we are no longer going to preach temperance from a bar stool. We are now ready to begin to make a commitment,” he told POLITICO. … But White House officials also acknowledged that the international negotiators would have a stronger position had Congress already passed a climate bill.

The Obama administration had hoped to have Cap and Trade in their pockets by now but unexpected resistance to health care reform delayed their advance. “We would have preferred that health care be done a long time ago, and we’d be having an energy debate today,” one official was quoted as saying.  But they may still get their chance to pass legislation before voters get a chance to elect a new Congress. Now is the time.  Joseph Romm of the Energy Collective says Obama is trying to undo years of climate inaction by the Bush Administration and needs to make hay while the sun shines.

Yes, the U.S. target is quite wimpy and inadequate compared to the other big players (see “Climate negotiating positions of top emitters“), but it is the best the American political system can do right now — given that conservatives led by the Bush administration blocked any action by the U.S. for a decade, including reneging on a 2000 campaign promise to cap utility CO2 emissions. We simply have a bigger hill (of our own making) to climb back down. … I take this White House announcement to be another clear message that, yes, they will be insisting on an economy-wide cap-and-trade bill in the Senate (see Carol Browner strongly backs economywide, bipartisan cap-and-trade bill: “Slicing and dicing isn’t going to work. It’s time to finally have comprehensive energy legislation in this country”).

In the world of Cap n’ Trade the “science” is already settled. Not a sound or rumor of the CRU hack has seeped into that hermetic tower. All that matters in high councils is how much — in taxes and contributions — the US will impose on itself.

Here’s a video showing dancing in Copenhagen this summer in preparation for the summit.

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