By Ben Lieberman
The Heritage Foundation’s Steven Groves and Ben Lieberman are live at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference reporting from a conservative perspective. Follow their reports on The Foundry and at the Copenhagen Consequences Web site.
“Collapsing in chaos” is a phrase the media is using to describe the Copenhagen climate conference, and that certainly is the feeling among many here at the Bella Center. Little has gone right, and indeed many registered participants were never even let in. The Danish minister in charge has resigned. Now, those of us who managed to make it in may get turned away for the crucial last two days Thursday and Friday.
Substantively, it looks as though little has been accomplished towards binding emissions targets to replace the expiring provisions in the existing Kyoto Protocol. The reason is simple – reducing carbon dioxide emissions is prohibitively expensive. The citizens of none of the 192 nations represented here really want this done to them. Certainly not Americans, whose concern for global warming is plummeting while concern for the economy and jobs remains high. Not the Europeans whose words are rarely backed up by actions- many have not reduced their emissions under Kyoto yet are asking for tougher targets here. And not developing nations who insist on being exempted from any binding targets while demanding aid packages in the hundreds of billions annually, well above anything the developed world is willing to offer.
Other than side deals on programs to reduce deforestation and a few others, it looks like nothing will be decided by Friday other than to meet again in 2010 and keep trying. But things won’t get any easier by then.
Despite all the people turned away from this UN conference, it looks like one unwelcome intruder made it in – reality. Stringent energy rationing provisions in the name of fighting global warming are more trouble than they are worth. We will know for sure by Friday, but Copenhagen could spell the beginning of the end to the failed Kyoto approach.
Ben Lieberman, a specialist in energy and environmental issues contributes posts at The Heritage Foundation, where he is a Senior Policy Analyst at The Heritage Foundation’s Thomas A.Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.
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