There May Be No Coping with Copenhagen

In early October, President Obama, his wife, and his entourage flew into Copenhagen, Denmark, in hopes of helping their hometown of Chicago secure its 2016 Summer Olympics bid. That didn’t work out very well. Among other things, Chicagos elimination ultimately in favor of Rio de Janeiro sent the grand designs of Windy City mayor/dictator for life Richard Daley into a more serious tailspin than they were already.

In December, Obama may -- emphasis may -- make another visit to Copenhagen. If he does, watch out, as the stakes will be far greater than the well-being of a single city. What appears to hang in the balance is nothing less than the future of our country’s ability to determine its own destiny.

Denmark’s City of Spires is the site of the December 7-18 United Nations Climate Change Conference. The conference’s objective is “a global climate change agreement.”

What would the “COP” (“Conference of the Parties”) agreement entail? Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has said that it involves agreement on the answers to these four questions:

1. How much are the industrialized countries willing to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases?

2. How much are major developing countries such as China and India willing to do to limit the growth of their emissions?

3. How is the help needed by developing countries to engage in reducing their emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change going to be financed?

4. How is that money going to be managed?

“If Copenhagen can deliver on those four points I’d be happy,” says Yvo de Boer.

You bet Mr. de Boer would be happy, especially with items 3 and 4. So would the motley crew of the third world’s largely autocratic rulers who could mostly care less about what may or may not be happening to the earth’s climate.

That’s because if Mr. de Boer and the one-worlders of the environmental movement get their way in Copenhagen, the United Nations will finally have transformed itself from its original design -- as “an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and the achieving of world peace” -- into a de facto unelected government, complete with its own tax and spending authorities and its own powers of enforcement.

There’s a natural tendency to dismiss statements such as the one just made as overwrought hyperbole. I would suggest resisting that urge. First, I have been through the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action’s “revised negotiating text,” which is in essence a mock-up of the treaty containing many multi-bracketed items representing matters that remain to be ironed out. PJM has posted the 181-page PDF here so anyone interested can read it. What I am asserting is in there is indeed in there. Second, I am far from the only person expressing this concern.