COP16 Final Report in Cancún, Mexico
by Pat Carlson, Environment Chairman
|Further Reading: United Nations / Global Warming|
|December 16, 2010|
COP16 came to a conclusion in the wee hours of Saturday morning as the summit president, Patricia Espinosa, banged her gavel declaring the text approved. The 190+ nations represented at the latest United Nations climate change conference held in Cancun, Mexico the first two weeks of December, all seemed in agreement even without the benefit of a vote.
Todd Stern, head U.S. negotiator, called the revitalized agreement "a significant step forward" and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC's executive director, Christiana Figueres said, "This is not the end, but it is a new beginning." The talks, deadlocked since COP15 held in Copenhagen in 2009, have been on two different tracks — those trying to extend the life of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) due to expire in 2012 and those trying to create a totally new agreement. Talks on the KP have been postponed until 2011 at COP17 primarily because Japan and Russia refused to sign on to a second commitment period. They see no reason to participate when the U.S. and China, are the second and first largest emitters, are not committed to KP reductions.
There is one significant difference between the old KP agreement and the new agreement. The KP set up an international cap and trade program where rich nations were voluntarily not to exceed a greenhouse gas (GHG) emission cap. If caps were exceeded, GHG emission credits were purchased from poor nations who had no caps. This was done through technology transfer or green projects. There was a pretense of buying something, but the new agreement simply transfers billions of dollars to poor countries as guilt money or reparations.
When the U.S. ratified the UNFCCC treaty in October of 1992, it admitted guilt for lifestyle excess and agreed to redistribution of its wealth. The treaty is based on the equity principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities" relating to the environment. This set the groundwork for poor countries to built a case against rich nations for historical debt of GHG emissions accumulated since the beginning of the industrial revolution.
The Cancun agreement creates a new Green Climate Fund of $100 billion to be transferred from rich to poor countries every year until 2020. This is additional to the $30 billion already committed to be given by 2012. The new fund will have a Transitional Committee with 40 members, 15 from rich countries and 25 from poor countries. This lopsided committee is commissioned to meet immediately and "shall" design the new Green Fund. Designing the new fund means looking for new sources of revenue including taxes on aviation and shipping. Shouldn't the contributors be designing the fund not the recipients?
The new agreement establishes a Technology Mechanism intended to help poor countries gain access to Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) or patents. Poor countries, especially China and India, want IPR's to be part of the public domain. The Technology Mechanism is to find ways to "accelerate action" including "the removal of obstacles" to the transfer of technology to developing nations.
Finally, the new agreement establishes "endogenous capacity building" in poor nations. This is UN code for new bureaucracies growing and perpetuating from within to disseminate monies in poor countries. It is just another way for the UN to funnel money to local bureaucrats and one more long reaching tentacle into local communities governing with no accountability.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts had a booth at the conference. I was told by Marie Gro Svenstrup, a young girl of about 18, that her organization was the "voice of all girls and young women." They claim a membership of 10 million from 145 countries. One-third she claimed were from the U.S. She told me "if you invest in a man, you invest in an individual but if you invest in a woman, you invest in a family." She added, as any good feminist would, "Women are the power of change."
The girl scouts now offer a Food Security and Climate Change Challenge Badge. Girls 8-18 years can work to earn the badge. The curriculum supports the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Three objectives of the MDG are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, promote gender equality and empower women, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development. All are to be accomplished worldwide by 2015. The Girl Scout organization should not be teaching UN values.
Just minutes away from the luxurious hotels where delegates to COP16 were staying, we visited a small home built with strips of wood from crate boxes and with no electricity or running water. The street was lined with large poles meant for delivery of electricity but there were no lines. The small home had tarp to keep out rain and the floor was the ground. The family consisted of husband, wife, and two children. The mother cooked over an open barrel with a mesh metal ironing board laid across the top for a grill. Despite this young mother having bare-essentials, her home was tidy and she home schooled her youngest child teaching phonics from an alphabet and vowel chart.
The average wage in Mexico is about $4 per day and 40% of the population live in poverty. The government can't deliver basic services to many homes but it just borrowed $1.2 billion to implement climate change policies. $400 million alone is intended to replace the incandescent light bulb. Mexico is already $190 billion in debt. This money, like all the money being given to the poor countries, will never get to poverty-stricken individuals. It will only go into the pockets of green business and corrupt governments.
God has a wonderful sense of humor and He always has the last word. Cancun experienced record low temperatures while the UN held a global warming conference. This also happened in Copenhagen in 2009. All the while, inside the conference experts told participants they were experiencing the hottest year on record. It's not about the weather. It's about redistribution of wealth and global governance.