United Nations Meeting, Poznań, Poland |
By Pat Carlson, Environmental Chairman, Eagle Forum, 817-819-8020
|Further Reading: United Nations|
|Dec. 26, 2008|
Conference of the Parties COP14
While most Americans were shopping and preparing for the Christmas holidays, 9,000 delegates, activists, and journalists from 189 countries were attending the largest United Nationís climate change conference of 2008 in Poznan, Poland. The conference of the parties (COP14) was the mid-way point of negotiations begun in Bali, Indonesia last year and concluding in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009 set to replace the Kyoto Protocol due to expire in 2012.
The Kyoto Protocol, signed by the US but not ratified, required participating industrialized nations, but not developing nations, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 and created a market to trade the new commodity of carbon. The new Copenhagen Protocol will be more of the same with a strong emphasis on transferring funds and technology to developing countries.
Developing countries collectively, once a quiet and almost intimidated voice at the conferences, now speak loudly and with authority demanding their "right" to be protected from the "burdens of shifting to a clean-energy economy." These demands are reinforced by Al Gore traveling the world declaring "the future of all civilization is hanging in the balance" because of America and by the former High Commissioner of Human Rights, Mary Robinson saying, "....climate change violates" the Declaration of Human Rights affirmation "that everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which [their] rights......can be realized."
The Copenhagen Protocol will be negotiated easily if there is movement by just two countries - the U.S. and China. The US has maintained since the Kyoto Protocol was created, it would not be part of any international treaty regulating greenhouse emissions that excluded the developing nations from the same. Reducing US emissions would devastate our economy and at the same time make no significant difference in worldwide emissions when China and Indiaís economies are unrestrained. China and India are now number 1 and number 3 as global emitters with the US being number 2. These two countries have no intention of committing to mandatory emission reductions, but instead want the US and other developing countries to pay for green-fitting their economies. China has called for the developed countries to contribute 0.7 percent of their GDP to developing countries in technology and money.
COP14 launched the Adaptation Fund to help this transfer process along. If an entity in a developed country decides to build a power plant that promotes "sustainable development" and reduces emissions thereby creating certified emissions reductions (CERís), it can apply for funds from the Adaptation Fund as a clean development mechanism (CDM). One CER is equal to one ton of CO2 emissions. The project will also be insured (under mitigation) incase the company becomes insolvent or if the project fails to deliver the agreed upon CERís. The project is funded with free money and is insured for any failure, what a deal!
As industries in developed countries are faced with emissions caps, they will have to decide which is more financially feasible - buying CERís from developing countries to offset their overages or to relocate their businesses in a developing country with no caps. Either option hurts the US economy and leaves the US taxpayer footing the bill for another countryís growth. Two percent of CER sales go into the Adaptation Fund with the U.N. estimating the fund will require $86 billion per year by 2015 and $130 billion per year by 2030.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the negotiations at Poznan the "New Green Deal" and an opportunity for overhauling the global financial system. A professional staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee speaking on behalf of Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, Mark Helmke said the Copenhagen Protocol would "completely re-orient the US economy" causing the most "basic re-ordering of the US economy" since the industrial revolution. Other staffers during the panel discussion hosted by the Environmental Defense Fund and Pew Charitable Trust, agreed that U.S. cap and trade legislation probably would not be passed before the Coperhagen conference in 2009. They do expect President-elect Obama to order the EPA to start regulating CO2 as a pollutant as instructed by the US Supreme Court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. EPA case.
Senator John Kerry, the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, said that passing cap and trade legislation is "....going to be one of the top priorities of the committee." President-elect Obama has stated to the world his administration would "engage vigorously" and "lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change."
He campaigned on reducing US carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 - a 30 percent higher reduction than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC suggested would be necessary to curb global warming. Conferees constantly quoted the new president-elect making it known they expect Obama to deliver on his promises. The Bush administration delegates were looked at as irrelevant.
Al Gore spoke the last day of the conference giving his only too familiar speech calling this a "moral and spiritual issue" affecting the "survival of human civilization." He also reiterated the socialistic theme of the whole conference, "the old divide between ....the developed and the undeveloped countries must become obsolete." The redistribution of wealth from rich to poor seems a little disingenuous coming from one who has grown rich from his doomsday message and as far as anyone can determine, hasnít given away any of his wealth. He closed by speaking for the American people reciting the Obama campaign slogan "yes we can."