I arrived in Poznan yesterday, and here I am at the UN Climate Conference, “COP 14”. It’s a convention of true believers. I feel a bit like an atheist who’s showed up at a Methodist Revival Conference, or an infidel who’s accidentally found himself on the Hajj. There are around 10,000 folk here, including anti-nuclear campaigners and pro-Greek-rioters folk. But most of them are true-green climate alarmists from all quarters of the world. I dread to think of the av-gas they burned getting here, or the acres of forest sacrificed to the piles of literature. They could start to save the world by turning down the heating in the venue.
The Climate Alarmists’ Climate Alarmists: Last night I went to an event hosted by my good colleague Anders Wijkman, from Sweden, and his Foundation. “Provoking a political Tipping Point” was the theme in the Brovaria Hotel (where by the way they served very good local beer). They were demanding not an 80% cut in emissions by 2050 — which in any case would devastate our civilisation — but a 90% cut. I asked his scientist whether he knew the equation which covered the climate forcing effect of CO2 and shows that further increases will have a trivial effect. And whether he’d noticed that global temperatures have declined since 1998. (I just stopped by at the Hadley Centre Stand, where they confirmed that they were expecting 2008 to register a further cooling on 2007). He replied that a further small rise in temperature could lead to a vast feed-back effect as methane and other bad stuff would be released from the tundra. I don’t have the chance to ask him why this had never happened on previous occasions when global temperatures have been higher than today’s. And he simply denied the temperature data — I must take him to talk to the Hadley Centre!
This morning I attended a presentation from Australia’s Climate Change Minister (yes, they have one!), Penny Wong. Very civilised and informed. But wrong. They’re trying to wean themselves off coal, but are reluctant to go nuclear — although they’re a major source of uranium. I asked if she was familiar with the work of Prof. Bob Carter, a prominent Australian sceptic. She said she had heard of him — but was not really familiar with his work. It’s time she was. This afternoon I met with a delegation from California’s Environment Agency, full of enthusiasm for President-Elect Obama, and relishing the implementation of a cap and trade scheme based loosely on the EU’s ETS. They looked a little crest-fallen when I indicated what a disaster the EU’s ETS had been so far.
Any minute now it’s a presentation from the International Energy Agency (Have we reached peak oil? Or did it happen last week?). And still another couple of full days amongst the true believers to look forward to.
So what’s really going to happen in Poznan? For a start, the EU, which loves to posture as a world leader on climate, can’t even agree its own plans internally. What an embarrassment! Cutting through the jargon, the probable deal seems to be this. The Eastern accession countries of the EU will blackmail France, and Germany, and Britain, into transferring vast sums in exchange for their agreement. Then the developing countries will blackmail the developed countries of the West into transferring even vaster sums to secure their agreement. For us, it’s a double whammy — the huge damage that any “Son of Kyoto” would do in its own right, plus the costs of bribing other countries to join in (or at least to save our faces by pretending to join in).