David Rothbard
This article was co-authored by Craig Rucker

As the UN wrapped up its recent climate conference in Bonn, Germany, talks organizer Christiana Figueres proclaimed that climate change is the “the most important negotiation the world has ever faced.” Faced with real problems – financial meltdowns, unemployment, war and genuine human suffering – the world no longer agrees.

It’s a good thing human productivity doesn’t threaten the global thermostat the way the UN would have us believe. If it were, we’d be cooked. Countries rich and poor are backing away from commitments they made years ago during rosier economic times, before the public became aware of Climategate, renewable energy costs and genuine debate.

The Kyoto Protocol, the only binding international agreement signed since the global warming scare began, expires after 2012. Canada, Russia and Japan have publicly declared they will not renew; China and the United States never signed it; and the US has made it plain it is not about to. And poor countries are becoming less enamored about signing on, as they realize hard economic times mean there will be little climate “mitigation” and “restitution” money coming their way from (formerly) rich countries.

Even die-hard warmists increasingly recognize that bureaucratic solutions hatched at these conferences are rife with waste, fraud and abuse. They may enrich a few, at the expense of everyone else, especially the poor. But they are powerless to control Earth’s climate.

In March, German investigators reported that 850 million Euros disappeared, when shady companies swarmed into carbon trading, emissions and energy businesses. Criminal enterprises raked in tens of millions, fended off regulators with delaying tactics, and then announced bankruptcy or vanished. An Italian sting operation resulted in arrests of wind farm developers who billed the country for subsidies, but never produced a kilowatt of electricity.

London’s liberal Guardian newspaper was aghast to learn that the World Bank’s Biocarbon Fund had arranged to pay European “entrepreneurs” $1 million to establish a system under which 60,000 Kenyans would restrict themselves to farming under rigidly controlled, inefficient, “sustainable” techniques. For that they will receive $1.4 million over 20 years.

That’s right, the beneficent World Bank will enrich more Europeans, so that 60,000 Kenyans can receive $23.83 apiece annually for 20 years of drudgery, poverty and misery: a princely $1.19 a year!

Even the European Union finally understands how little energy deprivation and bureaucratic dictates affect the climate. “It is not enough for the EU to simply sign up for another commitment period,” EU climate representative Jurgen Lefevere admitted. “We only represent 11% of global emissions.”

Burning fossil fuels contributes only a fraction of total annual atmospheric carbon dioxide buildup, and the EU contributes just 11% of that. The EU’s commitment to slashing CO2 emissions by 20% invites corruption, has no control over Chinese or Indian emissions, and has no effect on the climate.

The biggest divide evident in Bonn was between the USA and large emerging economies. Even Obama administration officials who are thoroughly committed to manmade global warming catastrophe claims finally recognize the fraud problem. In Bonn the US insisted that all countries subject their emission reduction claims to verification.

However, China will accept only an agreement that lacks verification – and thereby guarantees the right to cheat. Meanwhile, the Chinese are happy to be “the world’s leader” in manufacturing wind turbines – 95% which they gladly sell to guilt-ridden western countries, while they build a new coal-fired power plant every week.

China and other nations support the notion that prosperous countries owe the world restitution for the “sin” of engaging in the Industrial Revolution and becoming prosperous. We can only hope some nation’s representative will have the courage to remind China and its fellow climate travelers that the West never forced them to spend fifty years mired in Communism, bureaucracy and stagnation.

While it is encouraging that the global warming camp no longer has things entirely its own way, celebration would be premature. For all the gnashing of teeth and complaining about corporate influence we hear from global warming bureaucrats and campaigners, the truth is that today the warmists are the establishment.

Billions are being redistributed to researchers, developing nations, carbon speculators, alternative energy investors and other carbon profiteers – who would like to turn billions into trillions. Pity the poor carbon traders whose markets expire with Kyoto. Not all have their villa in the sun yet.

But rest assured, they will do whatever is necessary to get their villas. Big Warming will not surrender its hold on Western taxpayers without a fight.

The warmist camp plans to retake the initiative at the December UN conference in Durban, South Africa. It intends to turn back the clock to the time when the media would attribute any weather or nature event to global warming, without question or critical examination. Al Gore’s recent Rolling Stone diatribe essentially calls on the media to censure climate disaster skeptics and adopt a one-sided manmade warming narrative.

The New York Times may go along, but the huge and growing alternative media will not. This week’s Washington, DC Heartland Institute international conference of climate alarm skeptics dramatically reinforced the lack of evidence for manmade Armageddon, and the disastrous consequences for poor and industrialized nations alike of staying the current UN course.

Many believe the last-minute appearance by dozens of world leaders crippled the Copenhagen climate conference. But with the big names absent from Cancun and now Bonn, the UN wants them back.

Ms. Figueres capped the Bonn conference with a call for “high-level political attention.” If she succeeds, just imagine the mischief a gathering of Heads of State, foreign ministers, bureaucrats, researchers, green campaigners and carbon profiteers can do at an African beach resort.

Then imagine how nearly impossible it will be to repair the harm they inflict. Action must be taken now to avert such a result.


David Rothbard

David Rothbard is president of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, a Washington, DC-based policy group that works on issues of environment and development.