'Warming' wimpout

Mark Garten/UN

Generals attend a meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa on Dec. 7, 2011.

Article Highlights

  • “Climate assistance” has revived the old idea of requiring wealthy nations to indemnify poor nations

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  • UN groupies commit to provide $100 billion a year in climate aid for developing nations, but there’s no plan to cough up the money

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  • Dear GOP candidates, pledge that if you’re elected, America will stop participating in the UN climate circus.

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‘A prolonged and solemn farce,” Churchill’s description of 1930s disarmament talks, applies even more accurately to the annual round of UN climate talks, which just wrapped up their 17th year of world-saving negotiations in Durban, South Africa, with another 11th-hour “breakthrough” that amounts only to agreeing to meet again next year and repeat the farce.

"Let’s call climate diplomacy what it is: climate dipsomania." --Steven F. HaywardBasically, the accord says all nations will reach a legally binding treaty, similar to the Kyoto Protocol, to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, but not until 2015, to take effect in 2020. They’ve kicked the can so far down the road it’s already been cleared out from the recycling bin.

The chance of such an agreement being reached is zero, for the same reasons that a successor to Kyoto couldn’t be adopted in Copenhagen two years ago.

Meanwhile, the UN groupies committed to providing $100 billion a year in climate aid for developing nations, but there’s no mechanism for coughing up the money.

“Climate assistance” has revived the old idea of requiring wealthy nations to indemnify poor nations. This kind of unserious talk brings discredit to international climate diplomacy, but it’s popular with much of the UN’s constituency. It dates to the 1970s, when it was called the “New International Economic Order.”

The premise of the New International Economic Order, as explained at the time by West Germany’s Willy Brandt, was that there needed to be “a large-scale transfer of resources to developing countries.” This came to an abrupt end in the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan forcefully repudiated it at a UN summit.

Let’s call climate diplomacy what it is: climate dipsomania. And here’s a suggestion for any GOP candidate who wants to peel off some undecided primary voters: Pledge that if you’re elected, America will stop participating in the UN climate circus.

Steven F. Hayward is the F.K. Weyerhauser Fellow at AEI.

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About the Author

 

Steven F.
Hayward
  • Steven F. Hayward was previously the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at AEI. He is the author of the Almanac of Environmental Trends, and the author of many books on environmental topics. He has written biographies of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and of Winston Churchill, and the upcoming book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents. He contributed to AEI's Energy and Environment Outlook series. 

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