I am not a scientist, nor a statistician and have no idea what is what with regard to the data. Here's what I do know: It is better to put less junk into the atmosphere than to put more junk into the atmosphere.
The two-week conference was a follow-on to the failed climate change conference which was held in Copenhagen last December. That was the one at which, according to Arthur Max writing in the Huffington Post:
"brought 120 world leaders to the Danish capital in an abortive attempt to adopt an overarching accord governing emissions of made-made greenhouse gases blamed for global warming."
In spite of the presence of the new Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning President Barack Obama, the Copenhagen conference ended in failure. A big part of the problem was China's refusal to, according to the U.K. Telegram, "allow its progress on emissions targets to be verified by other countries," by refusing to "sign up to the 'transparency' required by America."
But, what's this? It seems that while President Obama and other western leaders were publicly wagging their collective fingers under China's nose, the U.S. had been trying to make a secret deal with China on climate change.
According to an article on the Fast Company website, cables leaked by Wikileak.com show that none other than Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) went China to tell the Chinese government with a wink and a nod that "Washington understood China's 'resistance to accepting mandatory targets at the United Nations Climate Conference' coming up in Copenhagen.
Writer David Zax reports that,
"A cable sent from the U.S. embassy in Beijing reported that Kerry outlined 'a new basis for major cooperation between the United States and China on climate change.'
"A secret alliance between the two countries had been suspected by many; the cables appear to verify it."
Ok. Foreign policy isn't pretty. Someone might want to ask Sen. Kerry about his role in all that, though.
Moving forward one year, this conference in Cancun attracted about 15,000 people. The U.K. Telegraph's environmental writer, Louise Gray, reported that "The carbon footprint of the conference was about 25,000 tons, the equivalent to 4,500 UK households for a year."
But, in an earlier dispatch, Ms. Gray calculated that her flight from the U.K. cost two tons and a two-week stay in a Cancun hotel another ton.
You know that I am missing the Arithmetic Gene, but even I know that if each of the 15,000 attendees produced three tons of carbon-stuff, then the total is not 25,000 tons, but 45,000 tons.
If we assume a passenger car produces about one ton of carbon for every 5,000 miles driven, then this conference was the equivalent of 255 million car miles.
What came out of the Cancun conference? Who knows? Here's what the UN (which sponsored the event) had to say about it on its website (I did not make this up):
The United Nations Climate Change Conference took place in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010. It encompassed the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP) and the sixth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), as well as the thirty-third sessions of both the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), and the fifteenth session of the AWG-KP and thirteenth session of the AWG-LCA.
And you thought the UN was just a big a waste of money.
The net result of the conference was that the wealthy countries said that it would be a swell idea to transfer trillions of dollars to poorer countries to, as the Wall Street Journal put it, "help poor countries develop on a greener path."
But, aside from the lofty thoughts,
"The diplomats postponed hashing out which rich countries would pay how much, and exactly what the poor countries would have to do to get the checks."
I got 37 miles per gallon in my Cash-for-Clunkers MullFord on Friday driving from Alexandria, VA to my mom's house in New Jersey and back. I suspect I did more for the cause of global warming than the 15,000 people who spent two weeks in Mexico.