Monday 24 October 2016

All the hot air emitted by world leaders proves COP21 really just a global cop-out

Published 02/12/2015 | 02:30

'So – protecting the earth or saving the starving? The two, unfortunately, are mutually exclusive'
'So – protecting the earth or saving the starving? The two, unfortunately, are mutually exclusive'

When you consider that we now live in the Doomsday scenario where a Nato country has downed a Russian jet, it's only fitting that so many of the world's political players have gathered this week to discuss a perilous, pressing development.

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Then, when you consider the 130 people killed in Paris in multiple terrorist attacks, it's only fitting that they chose to meet in that city.

What is not fitting, surely, is that they gathered at a massive conference to talk about the weather, or, as it's better known, COP21.

World leaders from 150 countries, and Enda Kenny, gathered in the French capital to talk about climate change this week, and as happened at previous climate change conferences, it was a spurious exercise in self-aggrandisement and buzzwords that will achieve nothing more than making some people feel better about themselves.

And, as is now the tradition at any global gathering, it also allowed the usual rag-bag of extremists and violent anarchists to riot against the French police, desecrating a memorial to the recent terror victims in the process.

Forget, for a moment, the usual debates about whether climate change is man-made or not - it would be absurd to presume that we can constantly pollute the planet without serious ramifications.

Forget the fact that the glaciers are growing, not shrinking, as we were previously warned.

Forget even that global warming has stalled in the last decade, much to the baffled chagrin of the Chicken Littles who have been busy telling us the sky is falling.

These are mere trifling details which matter not a jot to the zealots and cranks who have been banging the climate-change drum for years but details, like facts, are simply inconvenient truths which must be dismissed as quickly as anyone making the points is demonised.

For all Obama's high-falutin' rhetoric about this being our last chance to save the planet and the sense of obviously fake urgency that characterised the speeches of the last few days, this is a remarkably safe conference which has achieved precisely nothing - but how could it?

The world's developing countries produce 80pc of carbon emissions and neither India nor China, the two greatest polluters, are going to do anything to endanger their massive economic and industrial growth - a fact proved by the news that they will face no consequences if they breach their already generous carbon allowances.

Instead, 14 days will be spent on hearing submissions from groups like the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network, which promises such delights as: "Powerful women from around the world sharing stories, struggles, solutions and action plans on climate justice mobilisation."

That's all very worthy, I'm sure. But as recent opinion polls show that the general public's patience with climate scaremongering is wavering, it appears that fewer people are unthinkingly swallowing the climate-change Kool Aid than previously.

There is the inevitable hypocrisy, of course, but that is to be expected - with an average round trip to Paris of 14,000km per delegate, the two-week shindig will produce 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and even the most ardent climate change activist would surely admit that there is something grimly amusing about all that hot air being used to discuss the problems caused by hot air.

But this conference is ultimately nothing more than a distraction; a way for governments to pretend that they are doing something when they are actually doing nothing.

People are perfectly entitled to think that climate change is a greater threat to world peace and security than global terrorism.

But they are wrong and deep down, they must realise that fact.

But it is a lot easier to gather so many countries together and then angrily shake your fist at a problem that has no obvious villain - apart from the nasty West, obviously - than it is to confront the clear and very present danger posed by terrorists and expansionist Islam.

It was quite striking to see the most disappointing US president in living memory display so much emotion and passion during his speech on this topic when he has proved to be so aloof and removed from virtually every other problem he faces, particularly ones where he might be forced to make a moral judgment.

The Obama who spoke the other day looked like a president on a mission - what a pity he has picked the wrong mission.

People are justifiably more concerned about their safety than they are about reducing emissions, yet anyone who dares to point that out is either denounced as a 'climate denier' (which some countries want to criminalise, the way Holocaust denial is already a crime in Germany) or a racist who is simply terrified of foreigners with dark skin.

This has been Obama's finest achievement - a monumental, global, three-card trick which allows him to spout the platitudes in which he so revels while parts of the world are literally burning.

In a largely secular West, the rigid dogmatism of climate change consensus is as close to an organised religion as we have and anyone who dares to question the official orthodoxy is denounced as a heretic.

Most people can accept that fluctuating climate patterns are, to one degree or another, man-made.

But that position also fails to take account of the fact that industrialisation is the route to prosperity for developing nations and more industrialisation means more pollution and carbon emissions.

So - protecting the earth or saving the starving? The two, unfortunately, are mutually exclusive.

In the meantime, Isil having been warned by Obama that COP21 would be 'a severe rebuke' to their activities, have presumably laid down their weapons and decapitation-swords to have a long, hard think about the damage they have done to Mother Earth.

Irish Independent

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