Whatever happened to global warming?

Hardly more than two weeks after the United Nations Climate Conference known as COP15 global warming has virtually disappeared from the world’s front pages. First was Climategate, then the inconvenient truth of Siberian winds bringing record breaking cold to Beijing (not to mention Miami, of all places) and virtually everywhere else and poof (!) AGW is gone, more than likely for a long time to come. It’s almost as if it never happened, all those drowning polar bears and glaciers receding forever and a day. Now, only crickets.


Not that the Gideon Rachman has the gotten news. Considering what he wrote in a Financial Times article today he must be the last person in the world (other than Al Gore) to believe anthropogenic global warming is settled science:

But the assumption that the world’s democracies will naturally stick together is proving unfounded. The latest example came during the Copenhagen climate summit. On the last day of the talks, the Americans tried to fix up one-to-one meetings between Mr Obama and the leaders of South Africa, Brazil and India – but failed each time. The Indians even said that their prime minister, Manmohan Singh, had already left for the airport.So Mr Obama must have felt something of a chump when he arrived for a last-minute meeting with Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, only to find him already deep in negotiations with the leaders of none other than Brazil, South Africa and India. Symbolically, the leaders had to squeeze up to make space for the American president around the table.

There was more than symbolism at work. In Copenhagen, Brazil, South Africa and India decided that their status as developing nations was more important than their status as democracies. Like the Chinese, they argued that it is fundamentally unjust to cap the greenhouse gas emissions of poor countries at a lower level than the emissions of the US or the European Union; all the more so since the industrialised west is responsible for the great bulk of the carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere.

Wait a minute. Stop right there. Could it be that Singh, Wen Jiabao, etc., just knew the whole thing was nonsense? I don’t know whether Mr. Rachman was in Copenhagen, but I was. I didn’t speak to Singh or Wen or anybody quite that august, but I did speak to a number of third world delegates and it was commonplace among them to admit the AGW was hooey, therefore acknowledging the obvious – that they were there for the money. In fact, I was stunned at how easily they admitted it.


But speaking of the money and the strange saga that allowed it to become conventional wisdom that the CO2 we all know and love from photosynthesis was a treacherous greenhouse gas about to turn us all into baked potatoes, PJM and PJTV promise not to let this subject go. In the coming weeks and days, we’re going to be following that money – and there’s a lot of it to follow indeed. We’re going to name names too. That should be fun – even if we don’t get our money back (less likely, alas).


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