Saturday, December 5

Copenhagen climate change treaty: The fix is in

Today's Washington Post reports:
President Obama will attend the high-level portion of international climate talks in Copenhagen on Dec. 18, the White House announced Friday, ratcheting up expectations that the United Nations-sponsored negotiations could produce a significant deal on global warming.


Obama's aides have said for weeks that he would attend the closing hours of the world meeting only if he thought his presence could help secure an accord.


Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in an interview from Copenhagen that Obama's decision to go suggests that "he'll be here at the end to help seal the deal."

Even conservative critics of the president such as Kenneth P. Green of the American Enterprise Institute said Obama's switch in timing "changes the game." He wrote in an e-mail: "It suggests that a 'deal' is already in the bag, and Obama's expecting that he'll get to bask in the glow of a new global agreement, flagrantly repudiating the position of the Bush administration in previous climate negotiations."
So. It looks as if Christopher Walter Monckton was right and John Bolton was wrong. Bolton played Devil's Advocate when Monckton appeared on Glenn Beck's TV show on October 30 to argue that the Copenhagen accord was based on junk science and that it was actually a framework for a transnational government. He cautioned that for those reasons, under no circumstances should President Barack Obama sign any treaty to emerge from the talks in Copenhagen.

In taking up argument with Monckton's assertions Bolton followed the talking points at Polifact, which had attempted a point-by-point refutation of Monckton's criticisms of the treaty. Polifact and Bolton observed that there was no treaty yet, just a vaguely worded and contradictory draft document which found so much disagreement among the 192 participating nations that the conference was unlikely to produce a finalized document for signing. Polifact noted:
“There isn’t sufficient time to get the whole thing done,” Yvo De Boer, the Dutch diplomat who oversees the negotiations, said in mid October, according to the New York Times. “But I hope it will go well beyond simply a declaration of principles. The form I would like it to take is the groundwork for a ratifiable agreement next year.”

What we learn from these two points is that the substance of the agreement remains distinctly up in the air, and that Obama is unlikely to be asked to sign anything at the conference beyond a nonbinding statement of interim steps or a promise to meet again -- if that.
Monckton, who had helped write and negotiate international treaties while he worked for Margaret Thatcher's government, told Bolton that's what treaty negotiators always say -- then they emerge at the 11th Hour "with their neckties around their ears and bags under their eyes" and announce that overnight they managed to hammer out an agreement.

If Alden Meyer and Kenneth Green have correctly interpreted Obama's surprise decision there won't be any need for an all-nighter in Copenhagen, except perhaps for show. If a treaty isn't actually ready for signing at the end of the conference the final draft could be ratified at a later meeting and signed then.

What if Obama is just being clever? Seeming to support the accord if it emerges at Copenhagen, then planning to stall the signing until next year or even later? This way he could use the treaty as a bargaining chip with members of Congress who're against both the treaty and his domestic agenda.

Either way, Obama's decision to attend the critical phase of negotiations in Copenhagen signals that he wants the United States held accountable for 'CO2 reparations' -- code words for the claim that first-world countries owe a huge debt to the third-world ones because of CO2 transgressions. From the Post report:
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama has determined that "there is progress being made towards a meaningful Copenhagen accord" now that both China and India have announced nationwide energy-efficiency targets in the last week.

India announced Thursday that it will lower its carbon emissions relative to the size of its economy by 20 percent by 2020, and China announced a week earlier that it would lower its emissions relative to its economy's size by up to 45 percent over the same period.


In the statement, Gibbs indicated that the United States would be willing to support a short-term financial package to help poorer nations curb their emissions and cope with climate change, an initiative that could cost the United States several billion dollars.

Gibbs said: "There appears to be an emerging consensus that a core element of the Copenhagen accord should be to mobilize $10 billion a year by 2012 to support adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, particularly the most vulnerable and least developed countries that could be destabilized by the impacts of climate change. The United States will pay its fair share of that amount and other countries will make substantial commitments as well."
If even the man tasked with overseeing the negotiations thinks there's not enough time by the Copenhagen meeting to finalize an accord -- ah, but he made the assertion before Climate-gate. It is truly amazing how quickly people can act when they're desperate.

And De Boer made his statement to the Times on October 20 -- ten days before Monckton made a big splash on the Glenn Beck TV show with a handy chart in tow, which showed at a glance what MIT meteorologist Richard S. Lindzen discovered.

It is Lindzen's research finding, not Climate-gate, that's the real death knell for the global warming - CO2 emissions arguments (although the finding and the revelations dovetail at key points). The finding was published in September but for weeks it languished even though it was in the public eye.

Why? Well, have you ever read Lindzen's attempts to communicate with the public? His recent article for The Wall Street Journal to explain the true import of Climate-gate and his finding is as clear as mud and as fun to read as watching paint dry.

But Monckton, who is a great showman, who has both the math and verbal parts of his brain working in synch and who has, as his critic George Monbiot so deftly put it, the benefit of a classics degree from Cambridge, is an ace at explaining Lindzen's findings in simple English.

Monckton ran through the drill during his appearance with Bolton on Beck's TV show and also a few days earlier on Beck's radio show:
[W]e now know for certain by [Lindzen's] measurement that the effect of CO2 and all greenhouse gases on temperature globally is less than 1/6th of what the UN says it is. ...

The amount of outgoing radiation escaping into space is supposed to reduce enormously as the temperature warms down here. That's the official theory because of all the greenhouse gases getting in the way. What is actually happening is that nearly all of it is getting out into space just as before. So the warming effect of CO2 over the whole of the next 100 years is going to be well below 2 Fahrenheit degrees, just negligible, it might even be 1 Fahrenheit degrees.

And now that that is known by measurement, all of the UN's report on which [the Copenhagen] treaty is based are out-of-date, and the Supreme Court's own judgment in Massachusetts V. EPA, where they said CO2 was a pollutant because it might cause warming, are now also out-of-date. Because the facts have changed, and it's now been a measured result. There's no argument with it. Nobody's dared to argue with [Lindzen's] paper.
Lindzen has been out there on his own trying to explain his research to the general public -- he was even on Beck's show prior to Monckton's appearance. But more than anyone Monckton is breaking down the research to the simplest elements without sacrificing its import. And he's not only been talking to Glenn's audience. Reportedly he's also educating several members of Congress.

In short, advocates of the CO2-global warming theory are now racing to throw together a treaty before everyone on the planet realizes that Al Gore is talking trash.

As to whether Monckton is right about the global governance aspect of the treaty's language, and whether it would represent a threat to U.S. sovereignty -- I don't know. And I also don't know whether even a Constitutional attorney knows for certain. It's a very complicated issue and one that's never been fully tested in the USA. But Polifact and Bolton thought he was reading too much into the draft treaty language, and that the USA has built-in safeguards against being run by an international treaty.

Monckton had a comeback for both arguments, which of course doesn't mean he's right. RBO has the complete video set of Beck's October 30 show if you want to follow his answers.

But if my memory serves it was during his appearance on Beck's TV show that Monckton laid out the rationale behind the push for CO2 reparations. He said that the perennial problem for the United Nations has been that they're dependent on national governments for money to support their operations -- money that always comes with strings attached. He said what they really want is a source of revenue that's independent of the control of sovereign nations, and until that happens they can't move forward with plans for a global governance structure.

That's where the push for CO2 reparations comes in: it will provide the UN with the revenue to set up oversight panels for the redistribution of first-world wealth -- panels that will serve as the basic framework for a transnational governing body.

If Monckton nailed it you may trust that the UN, and others who most strongly support a transnational government, are determined to go ahead with a global warming treaty, even if it's based on a discredited theory about the impact of man-made CO2 on the climate.

From that angle the issue of the treaty's impact on a nation's sovereignty is jumping the gun. I think Monckton indicated that if the treaty is signed it'll be just the first phase in establishing a transnational government -- but a key phase, in that it'll establish a revenue stream for setting up the bureaucracy which, down the road, can impose real punishments on nations that don't adhere to laws created by the United Nations.

What's next? Now we wait and see what happens in Copenhagen. The circus gets underway December 7 and runs through the 18th. The Guardian has charitably provided a glossary of the organizations/government entities that will be participating in the conference. So you might as well familiarize yourself with the alphabet soup because the acronyms will be bandied about during news coverage of the conference.

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