New UNFCCC climate chief no worse than the oldRichard Treadgold | September 11, 2010
On 17 May, 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Mrs Christina Figueres as the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat based in Bonn, Germany. The appointment was endorsed by the Bureau of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She replaced Yvo de Boer, who resigned in February, 2010, declaring himself “appalled” by the failure of the international community to reach agreement at Copenhagen on “fighting climate change”.
The AP quotes Mrs Figueres as saying today in Beijing, China:
“Countries have felt a renewed urgency to address global warming given this year’s series of frequent and catastrophic disasters, including massive flooding in Pakistan, drought and fires in Russia, and mudslides and floods in China.”
Have they, indeed? First, how does she know this, or is she merely stating what she would like to hear? People I talk with confess no such feeling and acknowledge no man-made influence in floods and droughts. Forest fires are caused by lightning or arson and prolonged by lack of rain; they’re not caused by atmospheric warming of fractions of a degree, whether man-made or natural.
Second, what do these severe and tragic climatic events have to do with mankind’s emissions of CO2? It is not enough simply to claim a connection: in a scientific age one must provide evidence of a connection. So what is the evidence?
If there isn’t any evidence of a connection between humanity’s emissions and dangerous alterations to the climate, it follows that no action is required to reduce those emissions, nor need we suffer the huge expense of doing so.
The AP says further:
The goals for Cancun are less about reaching a binding treaty than moving forward on operational decisions on funding and technology transfer from industrialized nations to developing countries to deal with the effects of climate change, she said.
A key component would be implementing the transfer of billions of dollars from industrialized nations to developing nations to deal with the effects of mitigating and adapting to climate change. Rich nations had pledged to give $30 billion over three years, with an eventual goal of $100 billion by 2020.
Whew! That’s big money, by any reckoning — $10 billion per year. Note the wording: “implementing the transfer” of billions of dollars. If this is not about punishing the wealthy and giving to the poor simply to relieve their poverty, because of their poverty and because others are rich, you can dynamite my car. Other reasons for thinking so are that the failed Copenhagen treaty would have set up a world government to “enforce” mitigation actions, and organisations as diverse as the WWF and the World Bank Group talk about achieving “climate justice”.
An awkward focus on reason
Climate justice implies a crime has been committed and convicts us in the west of committing it. Since the justice will be achieved merely with a transfer of funds, it has nothing to do with “fighting” the climate. So climate change is just the latest excuse to punish those who earn excessive amounts of money and reward the idle governments of the poor.
Naturally, the governments of the poor support such schemes and begin to “report” signs that their living quarters are being destroyed by climate change: big business is an enemy, help us, help us!
Observe that first paragraph quoted above — “… less about reaching a binding treaty”. In other words, don’t be too concerned with dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on the science, it’s near enough — the evidence is piling up. Let’s talk about the money — and then give it to me.
So by the use of the term “operational decisions” the lovely Christina circumvents an awkward and unnecessary focus on “reason” and “evidence” and makes the paying of a king’s ransom sound already justified, agreed and under way. All that remains is to decide the bank account and raise a purchase order. Only…
We still want the evidence
Mrs Figueres refers to severe weather disasters in the hope that a sense of guilt will prevent us from asking awkward questions about the science for which she has no answer and get on with the job: our real purpose is shifting money to redress the “unnatural” balance between the wealthy and the poor — those who work and those who don’t. Not that I criticise the inhabitants of poor countries, only their lazy leaders: for what are they doing with the taxes they collect? Surely not improving the lot of their fellow citizens! Why our self-flagellating ruling classes don’t see the disconnect between third-world rulers and their citizens is a mystery.
It’s hard to argue with redistributing the wealth without appearing callous towards the poor. However if no scientific justification exists to “fight climate change”, it’s hard to believe it’s any reason to fight poverty. Because to hit one target, one doesn’t aim at another one.
So I call for reason to prevail; I call to know the evidence for a dangerous human intervention in the climate. As I’ve said before: there can’t really be any evidence, or we’d all know it by heart — because the activists would be ramming it down our throats.
The only reason they’re not ramming it down our throats is that there isn’t any evidence.
And if there’s no evidence then we should stop fighting phantoms.
And then we could fight some real problems.
Or what have I missed?