As previously promised (or threatened), we’ll be all over the UN climate talks starting in Paris in a few weeks. Already it is possible to predict that the near-certain climate agreement will be a substantive farce, but will be hailed as a planet-saving breakthrough. It will follow the familiar script we’ve seen in every previous UN climate summit stretching all the way back to Kyoto: hard bargaining, deadlock, all-night talks, the conference going into sudden death “overtime,” and then a “breakthrough” codified in a meaningless communique with vague targets and timetables that really amounts to saying we’ll all keep meeting and talking and flying private jets from place to place to make ourselves feel good.
At least Kyoto supposedly produced a legally binding treaty; the Paris talks have dropped the pretense entirely. What we’re going to get is the climate diplomacy equivalent of the Kellogg-Briand Pact that outlawed aggressive war in 1928. It will be a “non-binding” agreement with no enforcement mechanism. This new climate agreement will be just as effective as the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
Much more on this to come as we draw near the opening rounds in a few weeks. But sufficient unto today is noting Tom Donlan’s fabulous column in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Here’s the best bit, which reinforces some old calculations of mine that the climatistas’ emissions targets are absurd:
Nobody going to Paris plans to propose emissions regulation of the type outlined in scenarios published by the U.N., calling for cutting carbon-dioxide emissions to less than one ton per person per year by 2075. The U.S. per capita emission is 17 tons; Europe’s, seven tons; and China’s, six tons.
It can be done. Dozens of countries emit less than one ton per capita. A sample: Yemen, Tajikistan, Bhutan, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea.
If our grandchildren live at that level, they will find it painful to remember Paris.
Nearly 20% of the world’s people have no electricity. They live in the Dark Ages. If their children are to raise themselves up to the Chinese level, they too will be burning lots more coal. Nuclear power plants are the only serious alternative to carbon-fired electricity, but nuclear power is anathema to most of the same people who want big reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions.
We will be able to know when activists and other politicians are serious about helping poor countries with clean energy when they start financing a new generation of nuclear power plants.
The White House held a conference in reviving nuclear power last week, but it didn’t get much press coverage. From the climatistas you hear silence, or continuing nonsense about how we can power the nation and the world with unicorn flop sweat and butterfly wing-beating. For the time being, it appears the U.S. is going to close down more nuclear reactors than it is building to replace them.