November 2, 2008
by Dennis T. Avery
China has now destroyed Western hopes for a new global warming agreement, just weeks before global talks in Poland aimed at writing a successor for the Kyoto Protocol- which expires in 2012. China has attached a ransom not to its Polish meeting RSVP: They might go along with a new warming pact if the rich countries agree to hand over 1 percent of their GDP-about $300 billion per year-to finance the required non-fossil, higher-cost energy systems the West wants the developing countries to use.
Bad timing: The U.S. and Europe are trying to bail their financial systems out of Barney Frank’s Fanny Mae/Freddy Mac sub-prime mortgage adventure. “Climate change policies need a lot of money to be invested. However, developed countries have not made any substantive promises about how much they are going to spend on this,” said Gua Guangsheng, head of China’s Climate Change Office on Oct. 28. “And they did not fulfill some of the promises they made in the past very well either.”
China, India, Brazil, and Mexico had already demanded-in July- that the developed countries cut their own emissions by 80-95 percent by 2050. Very unlikely. The EU has loudly boasted of trying to set an 80-percent cut in its emissions, but that now looks impossible. Italy, Poland, Hungary, and Greece are part of a “blocking force” saying says they can’t afford to give up coal and oil during a financial crisis. Especially when the only alternative is imported Russian gas; Russia recently “invaded” Georgia, many think to stop Georgian efforts to build a gas pipeline that would have competed with Russia’s.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who helped create the Kyoto Protocol, now says that drastic cuts in CO2 emissions are “ill-advised climate policy.” She’s building 26 brown-coal power plants instead, and re-thinking the German promise to scuttle its nuclear power plants.
Don’t spend much of your “worry time” on a new climate treaty however. Global temperatures are doing their best to tell us that CO2 isn’t very important after all.
- Global thermometers stubbornly refused to rise after 1998, and have plummeted in the past two years by more than 0.5 degree C. The world is now colder than in 1940, when the Post-WWOII Industrial Revolution started spewing lots of man-made CO2 in the first place.
- On October 29, the U.S. beat or tied 115 low-temperature records for the date. Alaska, which was unusually warm last year, recorded 25 degrees below zero Fahrenheit that night-beating the previous low by 4 degrees F.
- London had snow in October for the first time in more than 70 years.
The 2007-08 temperature drop wasn’t predicted by the global climate models, but it had been predicted by the sunspots since 2000. Both the absent sunspots and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation now predict a 25-30-year global cooling. After that, the remaining enthusiasm for global warming agreements will presumably have vanished-without any big payoff to the Chinese government.
Meanwhile, India is about to rescue our Appalachian coal industry. India is already importing 50 million tons of coal per year, and sees our high-sulfur eastern coal as an under-priced energy resource. While New York and Philadelphia import low-sulfur coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, India wants to buy not just Appalachia’s coal but the mines that produce it. They note, “It’s a buyer’s market.”
DENNIS T. AVERY is a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC and is the Director for the Center for Global Food Issues. (www.cgfi.org) He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years, Readers may write him at PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 2442 or email to [email protected]