After spirited discussions from Nov. 28 to Dec. 11 (including two days of overtime that ended only in the wee hours), the United Nations Climate Change conference in Durban, South Africa, failed to achieve its two main goals: producing a new treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which limited greenhouse gas emissions and agreeing on a global tax scheme to finance a Green Climate Fund. Hallelujah! Sometimes we get good news from the U.N.
The Durban conference did create a new Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. This group is supposed to start writing a new treaty to put all countries under the same legal regime that will enforce commitments to limit greenhouse gases.
In trying to continue the limits specified in the Kyoto Protocol, the nations haven't figured out how to cope with China and India. When language was proposed to put every country under equally binding limits, the Chinese negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, waved his arms and yelled, "What qualifies you to say things like this?"
The Durban conferees were not able to approve a tax scheme to fill the coffers of the Green Climate Fund. However, they did create a 20-member Standing Committee consisting of an equal number of representatives from developed (i.e. rich) and developing (i.e. poor) countries, supposedly to eventually expedite a flow of billions of dollars into the Green Climate Fund.
Apparently, the delegates from 191 countries were not moved by the hysterical claim of the radical environmentalists that "We're all going to die in five years unless a legally binding framework to cut greenhouse gas emissions is accepted by the Durban conference."
The 1997 Kyoto Protocol had set legally binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions at 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. However, the U.S. never ratified Kyoto, Canada just withdrew from Kyoto and no country has met that goal because it would have devastated their economies.
The Durban busybodies tried to humiliate Canada for withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol by giving Canada the Fossil of the Day award. U.S. failure to ratify Kyoto is a good example of why the globalists on the Council on Foreign Relations hate the treaty clause in our Constitution more than any other clause.
Environmental extremists produced a visual aid to show the delegates how gas emissions can be reduced 25-40 percent below 1990 levels and national economics can be decarbonized by 2050. They displayed a Zulu Beehive Hut they claim is cool in the summer and warm in the winter because of its circular structure with a single door, no windows and plants covering the outside.
Zulu Beehives will be a hard sell for Americans; they have no running water or electricity. If Americans don't want the U.N. to cut our energy consumption, it would be a good idea to tell our Congressmen to stop paying dues to organizations that play these silly games.
The Durban delegates did resign themselves to replacing the term global warming with climate change, since there has been no warming since 1997. Three U.N. agencies issued reports claiming a global crisis; one claimed that all weather extremes are the result of climate change.
European Union climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard commended the delegates for "working to the very last minute to secure that we cash in what has been achieved and what should be achieved here." The "cash" she referred to is the $100 billion in annual taxes on international transactions that the U.N. hopes to extract from developed countries and redistribute to underdeveloped countries to help them cope with global warming.
Americans are waking up to the facts that today's temperature changes are no different from historic climate changes, that renewable-energy industries are unaffordable luxuries that can exist only with taxpayer subsidies and that the U.S. has a great abundance of affordable energy resources that Obama has put off-limits.
The U.N. delegates did agree to keep talking in the hope that they can make a trillion dollars a year fall out of the sky (i.e., the U.S.) into their Green Climate Fund. They will meet next year in June for Rio-plus-20, and then have another Climate Change meeting in Qatar in December, with the U.S. paying 22 percent of its $122,504,000 budget.
It's clear that the U.N. is a forum for the rest of the world to sound off about its resentment of America's economic success and high standard of living, and demand that we transfer our wealth to the poor countries so they can live higher on the hog. The rest of the world is unwilling to imitate our model of political freedom, property rights and free markets. Instead it wants to steal our wealth or at least punish us by reducing our energy use.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Phyllis Schlafly‘s column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.