Paul Jacob

So it is with snow. The flakes are like little whispers that “we’re not in control,” which is scary. But the message is reassuring, too, in signaling that the blowhards on television aren’t in control, either.

It’s often said that timing is everything. I note this East Coast snow storm coincides with the end of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

In Copenhagen, the governments of 193 nations met to dicker over how to control the planet’s weather. On the last day of the event, President Barack Obama proclaimed a “meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough” as the United States, China, Brazil, India and South Africa agreed to a deal whereby developed countries will list voluntary emissions targets and wealthier countries pledged monetary aid to assist poorer countries in dealing with global warming.

The Boston Globe reported that the accord was “not legally binding” and “falls short of even the most timid expectations of what would come out of the much-anticipated talks.” Obama himself admitted that this agreement “will not be sufficient” to micromanage the global thermostat or avoid the most serious effects of climate change.

The Obama-negotiated deal attempts to limit global warming through the end of the 21st century to no more than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times, while some climate scientists now predict the rise will be 3 to 7 degrees.

Will it work? Can governments around the world concentrate enough knowledge and direct enough sheer force — and, with it, muster up enough compliance — to manage the climate?

Folks in Washington and Copenhagen say “Yes.” Folks shoveling the snow on my block think Mother Nature is not so easily legislated.


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.