Another bad week for the climateers. Of course, you could write this headline every week for the last five years, but we want to keep Power Line readers up to date on the highlights of recent developments.
First up, keep in mind that this June, the world’s leaders will re-assemble in Rio for the 20th anniversary of the UN’s first Earth Summit, to reappraise what progress we’ve made since the Kyoto process was set in motion. The real agenda will be whether there’s any way to breath new life into the expiring corpse of the UN climate process at all. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush relented to the pressure to attend and sign onto the UN flimflam. It will be curious to see whether President Obama attends, and signs onto the sequel. I predict he will not. And after one day of mild kvetching, enviros will give him a hall pass on it.
By the way, I always like to point out that the 1992 Earth Summit enacted two major international efforts: the Framework Convention on Climate Change (better known as the “Kyoto process”), and the Framework Convention on Biodiversity. My own opinion is that while the enviros overestimate the biodiversity problem (as they do virtually every environmental problem), risks to biodiversity are in fact the most significant global environmental problem, much more than climate change. But fossil fuel use, the Original Sin for modern environmentalism, is not much implicated in the species extinction problem, so the UN biodiversity project, and the issue itself, gets much less attention.
I’m in the habit of asking environmental reporters, when they call me for comment on the Kyoto protocol and related climate meetings, how many stories they’ve ever written about the UN Framework Convention on Biodiversity. The answer is usually asymptotically close to zero. Some environmental reporters tell me they’re unfamiliar with it at all, at which point I reply that “You’re not an environmental reporter; you’re a climate reporter.” It’s a good way of not getting quoted in a story, which is fine with me.
Anyway, one thing to keep in mind as the global green establishment gathers in June to present the cognitively dissonant spectacle of simultaneous back-patting and doom-mongering is that almost no signatory to the Kyoto Protocol has lived up to the comparatively mild emissions reductions targets set out for this year way back in 1998. Those that claim to have done so have one big thing in common: they mostly cheated. Who says so? The Washington Post’s environmental writer Bradford Plumer. The underlying analysis on which this story has based is from my pals out at the Breakthrough Institute in Oakland. And it turns out that the nations that did the best in genuine reductions in carbon emissions intensity are France and Sweden, because they turned heavily to . . . nuclear power. Oops. That sure doesn’t fit the narrative.
Meanwhile, in other climate-related news, it appears many glaciers in Asia are like middle-aged middle-class American men: they’re gaining mass. And Richard Lindzen has posted a spirited rebuttal to the critique of his climate presentation that I mentioned here a while ago. And China, Tom Friedman’s solar power juggernaut, is having second thoughts, as are some environmentalists here in the U.S.
And just for dessert, The Telegraph‘s Christopher Booker delivers a thorough and much deserved beat down on Nature magazine for its relentless climate alarmism.