The Paris Climate Hoax: The World’s Worst Potluck Dinner

I don’t quite agree with John that man-made climate change is a hoax; I merely think it is vastly overestimated like every other environmental scare of the last 50 years, and that like all the others before it (the population bomb, resource scarcity, global cooling, the ozone layer, acid rain, the energy crisis, the Beepocalypse, Al Gore’s swelling waistline, etc., etc.), it is being used by the left for their real object, which is to seize more political power over people and resources. That’s the great thing about being a leftist—any problem will do in the service of accumulating more political power. It’s always the same answer.

That’s why the current Paris peace conference climate conference is so deliciously ironic: it is a complete hoax. On its own terms it will be a failure, even though you can count on it producing a treaty agreement that will be hailed as a planet-saving “breakthrough.”

I call as my first witness Brad Plumer, a standard-issue environmental reporter for Vox, who explained quite candidly yesterday what’s really going on in Paris:

This conference, known as COP21, is getting heavily hyped: We’re already seeing chatter about whether this is our last chance to “save the world” or keep us below 2°C of global warming.

But that’s … the wrong way to think about what’s going on in Paris. These climate talks, by themselves, won’t fix global warming. They can’t do that. They’re not designed to do that. The actual goal is much more modest: to add structure and momentum to efforts that are already underway, in legislatures and laboratories and cities and boardrooms around the world, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

That may sound like hair-splitting, but it’s a crucial distinction for understanding what these talks are all about. It’s why many onlookers think a deal is vitally important, and others say it’ll be a massive disappointment. Both things, in a way, are true.

The Paris talks will be very different from climate conferences of yore, when negotiators would try to craft binding global treaties that required nations to cut their emissions by set amounts, imposed from on high. See, for example, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. That was a grand plan to save the world. And it failed, spectacularly.

First of all, good for Plumer to admit candidly that Kyoto was a “spectacular failure.” The climatistas are loath to admit this. And I’ll resist saying “I told you so.” Oh the heck with that; I will too say “I told you so.”

Second, Plumer comes close to understanding Paris exactly the way I do. I’ve been calling the approach being followed in this climate summit as “potluck dinner” climate policy. Instead of seeking legally binding emissions reductions or ceilings that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the amount the climatistas say is necessary to avert thermageddon, Obama has embraced a strategy of asking every nation, in essence, “what dish can you bring to the climate potluck?” These “nationally-determined commitments,” as they are called, are simply going to be wrapped up together and called a “global agreement,” and hailed as the climate equivalent of the greatest potluck dinner in history!

There’s only one problem, from a culinary point of view: where’s the beef? No one is showing up with a main dish. It’s all tofu, gluten free, vegan, and high-fiber mash. A little more precisely, the commitments don’t add up to much in the way of real emissions reduction commitments. To switch metaphors, what we’ll get out of Paris is the climate policy equivalent of “30 Days to Thinner Thighs.” Which somehow never work, right?

Back at the time of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, someone in the climate community said that it was merely “the first” in a long series of similar agreements, that we’d need “20 Kyoto Protocols” to succeed it. But we’re not even getting Kyoto 2 out of Paris. This should be even more embarrassing that the old arms control treaties of the 1970s that merely limited the further buildup of nuclear weapons, which didn’t exactly make the world dramatically safer. To continue with Plumer:

These pledges are laughably inadequate to the task of preventing severe global warming. If you assume every country follows its pledge to the letter, global emissions will keep rising through 2030, and we’ll be setting ourselves up for around 3°C of global warming by century’s end.

And so lo and behold, you can begin to hear the climatistas starting to backtrack on the heretofore sacrosanct 2 degree target. Both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that more and more scientists in the climate community are saying the 2-degree target was arbitrary and perhaps not necessary after all. Here’s the Journal’s headline yesterday:

Scientists Dispute 2-Degree Model Guiding Climate Talks

Many scientists say the benchmark underpinning talks in Paris is an arbitrary threshold based on tenuous research

“Tenuous research”? Nah, couldn’t be. This is all settled science, a “consensus,” dontchaknow.

From the story:

The single most important benchmark underpinning this week’s talks in Paris on climate change—two degrees Celsius—has guided climate-treaty discussions for decades, but scientists are at odds on the relevance of that target.

Many researchers have argued that a rise in the planet’s average global air temperature of two degrees or more above preindustrial levels would usher in catastrophic climate change. But many others, while convinced the planet is warming, say two degrees is a somewhat arbitrary threshold based on tenuous research, and therefore an impractical spur to policy action.

“It emerged from a political agenda, not a scientific analysis,” said Mark Maslin, professor of climatology at University College London. “It’s not a sensible, rational target because the models give you a range of possibilities, not a single answer.”

Policy makers tend to assume the two-degree target expresses a solid scientific view, but it doesn’t. The exhaustive reports published by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are considered to be the most comprehensive analysis of the science of global warming. Yet the two-degree limit isn’t mentioned in a single IPCC report. (Emphasis added.)

That sound you hear is the climate campaign continuing its slow unraveling. But at least they’ll still have Paris, even if the potluck dinner is lousy eating.


Books to read from Power Line