David Rothbard

Editor's note: This piece was co-authored by Craig Rucker.

Waning interest and credibility forced organizers to replace climate change with sustainable development as “the world’s most urgent problem” during the UN’s June 2012 Rio+20 Conference. However, climate alarmism is again taking center stage this week at the COP-18 confab in Doha, Qatar.

The agenda remains the same: slash or end hydrocarbon use, transfer wealth, and control energy use, economic growth and lives. The strategies likewise remain unchanged: treaties, laws, regulations and higher taxes for hydrocarbon energy – with control placed in the hands of unelected, unaccountable elites who claim they are saving Planet Earth from ecological collapse.

Previous events in Bali, Copenhagen, Durban and Rio de Janeiro lavished billions of dollars on proposals and discussions that led mostly to promises of more meetings in five-star venues like Doha. With the Kyoto Protocol set to expire, Qatar’s atmosphere is rife with grim determination to forge new international agreements, in the face of hard realities that portend still more failure for global governance stalwarts.

The United States never ratified Kyoto, isn’t bound by its dictates, and has limited economic and political stature to play a lead role in forging a new agreement, regardless of what President Obama might want. Canada, Japan and New Zealand have rejected participation in a new treaty. The European Union is drowning in debt, struggling under soaring renewable energy costs that threaten families, jobs, companies and entire industries, and little inclined to shackle its economy further.

China, Brazil, India, Indonesia and other emerging markets are loathe to sign any treaty that would limit the fossil fuels they need to grow their economies and lift more millions out of poverty. They say industrialized nations must agree to further greenhouse gas reductions, before they will consider doing so, and insist that holding developing countries to developed nation standards would be inequitable.

Poor countries increasingly understand that CO2 emission restrictions will prevent them from developing and subject them to control by environmental activists and UN regulators. People in those countries are beginning to realize that massive wealth transfers from Formerly Rich Countries – for climate change mitigation, reparation and adaptation – are increasingly unlikely. If “Green Climate Fund” pledges ever do materialize, they will mostly end up in another unaccountable UN slush fund for bureaucrats, autocrats and kleptocrats, with only pennies trickling down to ordinary people.

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.