Copenhagen as a Trojan Horse
I have spent a good part of the past couple of days reading a number of documents prepared by various Ad Hoc Working Groups under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These documents attempt to lay out the outlines of an agreement to be reached in Copenhagen. If any agreement is reached in Copenhagen, it will be developed further next year by unelected and largely unknown technocrats. This process supposedly will lead to a treaty to replace Kyoto. If any agreement resembles what the various working groups have laid out, then global leaders will have unwittingly let the Trojan Horse into the room.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called this a “defining moment in history”, and indeed it is, but not for the reasons he believes.
Let me make a prediction and a suggestion before I proceed. Whatever comes out of Copenhagen, other than utter failure, will never be approved by the U.S. Congress. It’s DOA in the United States. And, Prime Minister Harper should head for the hills before he signs on to anything emanating from Copenhagen and the UNFCCC. He will be doing Canada a great favour.
Copenhagen and a new climate treaty have little to do with global warming, and much to do with control and power. If we take some of the arguments in these documents at face value, the degree of global warming depends on the cumulative quantity of carbon emissions over at least a 250 year period (“Acknowledging that current atmospheric concentrations are principally the result of historical emissions of greenhouse gases”). Thus, even if the developed countries agree to and succeed in reducing their emissions, the cumulative quantity will continue to increase. Making matters worse, the developing countries will not be legally bound to reduce their carbon emissions. This makes it even less likely that there might be any significant reduction in annual emissions.
Bureaucrats and NGOs have run amok. Only crazed bureaucrats and power hungry NGOs could conceive of a document that would create countless agencies, boards, sub-committees, expert panels and so on. The structure envisioned to run the massive income transfer planned from the rich to the poor countries (the oil producing countries might be included among these), and to enforce the agreement, cannot work! The structure looks like a massive job creation project for the UN and its multitude of hangers-on.
The proposed agreement holds the developed countries responsible for all carbon emissions and problems related to global warming, and indeed, for all the problems facing the developing countries. For these reasons, an agreement would require the developed countries to transfer between 0.5% and 1.0% of their GDP ($7 to $15 billion per year for Canada), or between $70 and $140 billion annually in total. The money would be distributed through a number of funds (multilateral adaptation fund, mitigation fund, climate technology fund, climate insurance fund, global fund, capacity building fund, technology risk facility, venture capital fund, REDD fund, special fund, etc.). These funds would be controlled by new organizations and would be run by the UN. There also are proposals for a carbon tax or a Tobin-type tax on all financial transactions to generate revenues for these funds.
I guess the Iraq oil-for-food program was just a warm up for what might become the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of the world. Maybe Bernie Madoff can be hired as an advisor.
The proposed agreement also would conflict with the GATT and the principle of non-discrimination, and would decimate IP protection for many new technologies that could mitigate the effects of carbon emissions. The developing countries are to be exempt from trade retaliation even though they do not have to reduce carbon emission. Setting this precedent would spell the end for the Doha Round. Technology is to be transferred either for free or at a very low cost to the developing countries. Imagine what China will do with the technology.
The Trojan Horse aspect would give something called the “Supreme Body” (I am not making this up) the ability to intervene to compel the developed countries “to allocate financing and investment to the priorities identified by the international community” and to take actions against “hyper-emissions intensive lifestyles involving the use of low fuel efficiency road vehicles, personal aircraft and watercraft…(and) high levels of energy and water consumption in living spaces”.
And the UN, true to its hypocritical nature, claims that “the right to development is a basic human right that is undeprivable” and “that economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing countries”. To which I say: Mugabe, Darfur, Iran, the Taliban, Cuba, China, etc.
If a fraction of the time and resources and the same level of commitment were devoted to actually doing something about human rights and freedoms, then perhaps the UN might deserve to be preserved.
The views expressed in this blog are personal and do not reflect the views of Global Brief or the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs.