PJ Media

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.

What follows are some key areas of the document containing what I believe are its most odious provisions. It is of course no substitute for a full reading.

On page 6 in preambular paragraphs (PP) 13-15, signatories are expected to acknowledge the following non-bracketed items:

(PP. 13) “Current and potential climate change impacts require a shift in the global investment patterns and that criteria for financing allocation shall clearly respond to the priorities identified by the international community, with climate change stabilization being one of these priorities.”

(PP. 14) “Current atmospheric concentrations are principally the result of historical emissions of greenhouse gases, the most significant share of which has originated in developed countries.”

(PP. 15) “Developed countries have a historical responsibility for their disproportionate contribution to the causes and consequences of climate change, reflecting their disproportionate historical use of a shared global carbon space since 1850 as well as their proposed continuing disproportionate use of the remaining global carbon space.”

Allow me to translate: Free market capitalism hasn’t worked to our satisfaction, so it must be stopped. It has brought the earth to the eve of destruction. Oh, and it’s the developed world’s fault, especially America’s. The date chosen in PP. 15 appears to betray a belief that the entire Industrial Age has been one big mistake.

Now let’s go to where the money is.

Paragraph 33 on page 39 of the negotiating text itself reads, “By 2020 the scale of financial flows to support adaptation in developing countries must be [at least USD 67 billion] [in the range of USD 70–140 billion] per year.” The bracketed amounts are the only alternatives. These duties would arrive after a proposed initial start of $50-86 billion.

Paragraph 41 on page 43 contemplates all manner of potential wealth transfers from the developed world to everyone else, including but not at all limited to the following: possible assessments of up to 0.7% of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), auctioning of emission allowances, levies on CO2 emissions, taxes on “carbon-intensive products and services,” levies on international transactions, and fines for noncompliance.

At the very bottom of page 145, there is mention of assessing “financial penalties, at a minimum of ten times the market price of carbon, for any emissions in excess of the level implied by the emissions reduction commitment.” America, meet your carbon straitjacket.

Finally, let’s get to how the UNFCCC becomes a governmental entity. Though it appears that it might be supplanted at crunch time by much more vague language, paragraph 38 on page 18 describes what the framers have in mind:

The scheme for the new institutional arrangement under the Convention will be based on three basic pillars: government; facilitative mechanism; and financial mechanism, and the basic organization of which will include the following:

(a) “The government will be ruled by the COP with the support of a new subsidiary body on adaptation, and of an Executive Board responsible for the management of the new funds and the related facilitative processes and bodies. The current Convention secretariat will operate as such, as appropriate.”

(b) “The Convention’s financial mechanism will include a multilateral climate change fund including five windows …” FYI: they are adaptation, compensation, technology, mitigation, and REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.)

(c) “The Convention’s facilitative mechanism will include … an international registry for the monitoring, reporting, and verification of compliance of emission reduction commitments, and the transfer of technical and financial resources from developed countries to developing countries.”

From all appearances, agreeing to the COP would mean signing away a significant portion of our national sovereignty in the name of solving a problem that even former climate change cheerleaders are starting to doubt, which may just have been totally scientifically debunked, and whose origins are based on raw data that is apparently no longer available — all for the sole purpose of transferring vast amounts of wealth that will be spent on projects accomplishing very little of economic value, thus threatening to impoverish the entire world.

If there’s an alternative way to interpret what I have described here and the totality of the COP itself, I want to know what it is.

Our president, possibly softened up by his achievement-free attainment of the Nobel Peace Prize, has signaled that hes ready to sign if everyone else is:

U.S. officials said Washington is behind the deal and pledged that President Obama will attend the talks himself if enough progress is made.

I believe it’s fair to characterize a U.S. president who signs the COP treaty as seriously betraying his country’s best interests, regardless of how it might be watered down in negotiations, because its underlying premises are all either very dubious or false. Even though the Senate must ratify any treaty a president signs under what’s left of our Constitution, some might still describe Obama’s choice by employing a word that starts with “T” and rhymes with “reason.”