While the poorer countries squabble with the richer ones at the Copenhagen global-warming jamboree, at least some of those in attendance have given a passing thought to how much the grand schemes being cooked up there will cost the rest of us. The New York Times reports that the International Energy Agency estimates that the tab for the goals set at the conference for energy infrastructure alone “will cost more than $10 trillion in additional investment from 2010 to 2030.”
If you think that’s a scary number, the Times’s advice is don’t worry about it. After all, while it is “a significant sum,” it’s only “a relatively small fraction of the world’s total economic output.” Which means that while the environmental alarmists are planning to place crippling handicaps on a global economy in the throes of a historic slowdown, it’s no problem because there will be at least some money left for the rest of us after Al Gore’s favorite “green” companies reap gigantic profits.
But the alternative isn’t pretty for those of us who are still reluctant to fork over the dough and trust those who say the Climategate e-mails are meaningless chatter, not an insightful look at the closed and corrupt world of climate science. Kevin Parker, the global head of Deutsche Bank Asset Management, who is in Copenhagen to track climate policy for the bank, has views about the issue that make Gore look like a conservative. According to Parker, those who worry about how to pay for all the Copenhagen plans aren’t looking “at the cost of inaction, which is the extinction of the human race. Period.”
So much for reasoned argument and analysis. Not even the most alarmist and far-fetched scenarios envisioned by Gore and company pose any such threat. But that’s the spirit of Copenhagen for you. As the global-warming crowd escalates demands for support of the various ploys they claim will help the situation, they are forced to keep raising the temperature of the fears they are stoking, no matter how unreasonable they might be.
But the bottom line here is that the plans being discussed represent a major drain on world capital as well as the pockets of taxpayers, while simultaneously enacting measures that will limit the ability of the economy to recover. Copenhagen’s ultimatum to the world is to stop thinking critically about the issue and just pay or die.
The Washington Post gave away the game regarding Copenhagen. Sure, the science underlying the climate-change hysteria is facing new skepticism. And sure, Obama can’t really bind the U.S. to much of anything, given that cap-and-trade legislation is stalled at home. But there’s real work to do nevertheless: a massive transfer of wealth from rich to poor countries. The Post‘s editors explain:
Now, however, negotiations center on how to transfer hundreds of billions in cash and technology from rich countries to developing ones. Developing nations insist that they need the aid to adapt to the worst effects of climate change, to curb deforestation and to get off carbon-intensive development paths. Though the amounts that developing countries demand are impossibly high, the International Energy Agency estimates that non-OECD countries will, in fact, require $197 billion of additional investment annually for carbon reduction by 2020.
One marvels at the use of the word require. Yes, they’re making demands on wealthy nations and won’t be denied, it seems. The president loves this sort of thing. At the UN in September, Obama gave voice to the “doubters are heretics” mentality and fanned the climate-crisis flames:
The danger posed by climate change cannot be denied. Our responsibility to meet it must not be deferred. If we continue down our current course, every member of this Assembly will see irreversible changes within their borders. Our efforts to end conflicts will be eclipsed by wars over refugees and resources. Development will be devastated by drought and famine. Land that human beings have lived on for millennia will disappear. Future generations will look back and wonder why we refused to act; why we failed to pass on — why we failed to pass on an environment that was worthy of our inheritance. [emphasis added]
And when it comes to transferring the wealth, Obama has the patter down. Not only must we set an example by hobbling our own economies (“those wealthy nations that did so much damage to the environment in the 20th century must accept our obligation to lead”) but we also need “to extend a hand to those with less, while reforming international institutions to give more nations a greater voice.” (Because, I suppose, those multilateral institutions like the UN do such a bang-up job we need to give the nondemocratic, non-capitalist, anti-American and anti-Israel nations even more leverage.)
So let’s not delude ourselves. The Obami’s share-the-wealth vision and indulgence of the “international community” (and the latter’s sense of entitlement) are far too important to let a little scientific fraud and some constitutional niceties get in the way. There’s real business to be done at Copenhagen.