Climate change is something we hear about in the news incessantly. It is touted by the scientific community and the liberal media alike as the greatest problem facing our generation. It is used as justification for a wide array of new policies, many of which either controvert the functioning of the free market or restrict what citizens and businesses can do where taxes are concerned.
For instance, the Kyoto Protocols were signed by President Clinton but never ratified by Congress on the grounds that they directly hinder the U.S. economy. One could reasonably argue that although we can’t eliminate all impediments to economic growth, our lawmakers certainly shouldn’t be in the business of formally agreeing to such hindrances.
Nonetheless, in most cases, these warnings about what was once termed “global warming”—and has now been repackaged by the all-inclusive “climate change”—are taken as gospel without much critical thought.
The important idea here isn’t to deny that the climate is indeed changing, or even that human beings are making some contribution to this change; it’s recasting the whole environmental development as less of a bogeyman than proponents of climate change policies would have us believe.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, has voiced exactly this position: “The climate has been changing forever and it will always change and man will always contribute to it. It’s not a crisis.”
Donald Trump, the unabashed business mogul who is also running for the GOP presidential nomination, has gone even further, declaring that President Obama has “made fools of all of us” by encouraging everyone to place so much emphasis on the climate change agenda. He would probably agree that it is merely that: an agenda.
Climate Change Agenda
All of this brings us to the U.N. Paris climate summit, known as COP21, that is being hailed (by Obama) as essentially humanity’s “last chance” as solving this issue. (Note the apocalyptic rhetoric.) Over 150 leaders and diplomats from around the world are in attendance. Quaintly, the slogan of the summit is, “Never Have the Stakes Been So High.”
Regardless of the real cause or implications of climate change, what’s certain is that the COP21 in Paris will accomplish nothing. Not even what it sets out to accomplish. It is one enormous political quagmire that Obama and his international allies have insisted upon for the sake of appearances and considerations about “legacy.”
For starters, the only way the developed nations like the U.S., Japan, and Western Europe (i.e. the big polluters) could bring their developing counterparts (namely, China and India) to the negotiating table for an international accord was to entice them with billions of dollars worth of clean-energy technologies, and to make the emissions-cutting targets for each nation a self-imposed limit. In other words, the amount by which each country is supposed to limit its emissions is voluntarily determined by the countries themselves. So, in the cases of rapidly industrializing nations like India, the “cuts” are really non-existent.
Moreover, the enforcement of a potential United Nations treaty that may come out of the Paris talks will have no teeth. The only provision for how non-compliant countries ought to be punished is that the international community will pooh-pooh them. That is, they will get a verbal licking and will be condemned in the surely widely-read annals of environmental policy trade journals. But they get to keep the billions of dollars in “climate change aid.”
So, essentially, nothing at all will be done.
Does this square with the doomsday rhetoric of the president and his cohorts? If our planet were really in such imminent peril, what does this non-binding, “set your own goals” parade of expensive supranational planning actually do to address that? The truth is that is doesn’t. It merely seeks to aggrandize the moral and ethical stature of those involved in the summit—“See what do-gooders we are?”
Yes—greedy, tax-hungry do-gooders, indeed.