Last week I had the privilege of addressing around two dozen academics, scientists, students, business- and other policy-interested people in Paris. They gathered as climate realists to discuss the upcoming Paris Conference of the Parties (“COP-21”).
Here’s the background: This winter’s 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change is the preeminent annual climate confab. This year, like most, it will occur in a desirous city: Paris. There, thousands of diplomats will jet from all over the world. They will live well for two weeks. On the second Friday, they will stay up all night negotiating an agreement that promises to do something much later on, after everyone who’s currently in office is safely writing memoirs and giving lectures. They will declare greenpeace in our time. And then they will jet home.
This year, President Obama’s obvious intention is “politically binding” the U.S. to an international commitment in an effort to lock-in his Article II regulatory regimes. If the President can base the U.S. contribution on his administration’s regulations, then he can argue that said regs are “bigger than EPA” (and therefore inviolable) because at Paris we promised EPA regulations to the world. In the event his successor considers withdrawing EPA’s “global warming” regulations, this thinking posits, he or she risks polarization a la what George W. Bush experienced after asserting that he would not pursue Kyoto (with insufficient delicacy; he failed to instead emphasize that this continued the Clinton-Gore position). The same putative threat implicitly would hang over Congress’s and even the courts’ heads.
This somewhat oversimplifies things but, in short, Paris matters for reasons other than being yet another obvious means—among power grabs—with which the current president seeks to ignore the Constitution.
None of this was the focus of our discussion. Instead, we discussed the basic, and most glaring, flaws in the climate campaign, how to improve public understanding, and why we have to.
Having the French step up to assert the rationalist viewpoint is very important — no doubt that country’s media will be the most engaged come December, and set much of the tone for their counterparts, all of whom need to hear these arguments. To date, however, opposition to harmful “climate” policy (sneer quotes since no one actually claims these policies will have a climate impact for the human cost inflicted) has not been organized in France.
So, there should be some allies on the ground among locals when the U.S. climate-rationality contingent descends—typically CEI, Heartland, ClimateDepot, some U.S. lawmakers and, this time, I perhaps the Heritage Foundation. I did of course warn them to prepare for personal, nasty attacks in this, their first foray against the global warming industry. It still will no doubt come as a shock.
However, as (true) liberals they are energized to reclaim the moral high ground on energy poverty, bizarrely asserted by the climate industry busy inflicting the horrific social costs.
This was an inspiring group of people stepping forth now, after seeing the gathering storm of what policymakers are doing to their publics: France recently passed a law requiring a dramatic reduction in its use of reliable nuclear energy…to be replaced with renewables (pause, wait for…tears). This in a country that has increased its coal use, what should have been a teachable moment: “alternative” energy is no such thing. Ask Germany and Japan, among others. They aren’t keeping their lights on with Flubber and pixie dust, despite having been (previously, if no longer) hailed by Obama as places where renewables were being proved.
It will nice to be among some friends in Paris this December, an island of rationality mind the COP-21 energy poverty madness.