Next week’s news

Well actually, next December’s news.  Last night I was on a panel at Leicester Cathedral, chaired by Bishop Tom, responding to questions from some very worthy and concerned citizens on the subject of Climate Change.  One of the questions was, “What do you expect to be the outcome of the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December?”.
 
Last year I attended the previous UN Climate Conference in Gdansk, Poland, but this year I shall be in the Galapagos (paid for by me, not the tax-payer!) looking at the wild-life, so I shall miss Copenhagen.  But no matter: I know exactly what’s going to happen, and I can tell you now.  I had my card marked on this one in London last Wednesday, by no less a person than Professor Ross McKitrick, the hero of the “Hockey Stick” graph, who with Steve MacKintyre exposed the greatest scientific hoax since the Piltdown Man.
 
There will be little progress before the Conference.  The news will all be of a tense stand-off.  Tough eyeball-to-eyeball negotiation going all the way to the wire.  The headlines will read “Talks close to failure”.  “Deadlock in Copenhagen”.  Then at the eleventh hour, when everyone is run ragged, and the cleaners are at the door to prepare the venue for the next event, there will be a sudden burst of sweetness and light.  Smiles all round.  Rumpled statesmen, tired but joyful, will come to the podium to announce final agreement.  And the substance of their agreement?  They will agree that climate change is the greatest challenge facing mankind, that they would be failing future generations if they did not reach a solution, and that they will keep talking.  Look forward to the next UN Climate Conference in 2010.
 
The CO2 legacy issue:  One of the big stumbling blocks at Copenhagen will be the collective guilt of the Western economies for their historic emissions ever since the industrial revolution (which commenced, of course, in Britain — we are all guilty!).  There will be demands for multi-billion subventions from the rich Western economies to the developing world, to India and China, to support their climate mitigation efforts and to pay for green technology.
 
But let’s pause and think about that.  China is now reckoned to be the “worlds largest polluter”, or at least the largest CO2 emitter.  Many economists reckon that in fifteen years China will be the world’s largest economy.  China continues to grow while Western economies struggle with recession.  And China has a mind-boggling level of foreign exchange reserves, a huge cash mountain, based on decades of cheap exports.  Meantime the “rich Western economies” are struggling with the credit crunch, up to their ears in debt, and facing years of austerity while they balance the books.  And China expects us to transfer billions of pounds or dollars or euros to help them “green” their industry?  I don’t believe that British tax-payers will stand for it. 
 
We are where we are.  We need to look forward, not back.  No one is going to stump up for the historic guilt of our grandfathers — not even if we accepted it.  It’s time to say NO.  The green taxes we are paying in this country are bad enough, without paying green taxes for China too.

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