Doha: a last-gasp face-saver?


The UN Climate Conference in Doha was living up to expectations.  No agreement.  Indeed it’s a very strange conference.  The European parliament decided, for the first time, not to send any official delegation, since even the most passionate environmentalists amongst MEPs expected very little out of Doha.  And reportedly the IPCC itself was not invited.  Dr. Ravendra Pachauri, the IPCC Chairman who has made such a good living out of the climate scam, seemed a little rueful to have no invitation.

Approaching the scheduled close, there seemed to be no prospect of a deal.  Then, as usual, at the last moment, a rabbit prepared to jump out of the hat.  There was a move to get Western nations to commit to “compensation” for the “damage” which climate change might do to poor countries — especially to small island nations like the Maldives, who are past-masters at playing the post-colonial guilt card to squeeze funding out of richer countries.

This is potentially a disaster — a blank cheque payable to half the world against alleged damage that can neither be measured or properly defined, nor reliably attributed to human activity.  The Americans — are they the only sane people who attend these events? — are rightly resisting this tooth-and-nail, while the EU (speaking for Britain — look at the global clout that EU membership gives us) seems ready to capitulate.  No surprise there, then.

The alleged “damage” to poor countries is usually set out in terms of sea level rise.  After all, aren’t oceanic islands — and Bangladesh — sinking beneath the waves as man-made climate change drives sea levels higher?  No, actually, they’re not.

Let’s do a quick retrospective.  Sea level has risen hundreds of feet — yes, hundreds of feet — in the last twelve thousand years.  That represents the massive ice-melt that took place at the beginning of the current Interglacial.  This was the event that created the English Channel, and cut the UK off from France — with far-reaching geo-political consequences that are still being played out.  But the early sea level rise was very rapid, and has been slowing ever since.  Yes, sea level rise continues, but now at a rate somewhere between trivial and zero.

Despite recent warming (and the world has warmed slightly — around 0.7 degrees C in the last century, reflecting well-established, long-term natural climate cycles), current global ice mass is broadly constant, and ice melt contributes very little indeed to sea level rise.

There are of course many oceanic islands which are generally only a few feet above sea level.  It would have been remarkable if 12,000 years ago all these islands had been exactly the same height, and just high enough so that after massive sea level rises, they would all be just six feet above sea level in 2012.  What a coincidence!  Of course it didn’t happen like that.  As Charles Darwin worked out in the 19th century  coral builds up as sea level rises, so that coral atolls are always just a little above sea level.  Moreover they managed to cope with very rapid sea level rise 12,000 years ago, so they can certainly cope with today’s very slow rise.

The government of the Maldives can do all the stunts and under-water cabinet meetings it wants , but its proposition is a nonsense designed with one aim in mind — to extort money from the West before the climate scam is blown out of the water.

But hang on, you cry.  Aren’t rising sea levels drowning Bangladesh?  No.  I wrote about this last year. Bangladesh sits on the Eastern rim of the Indian tectonic plate, which is slowly subducting beneath the Burma plate.  So Bangladesh is dropping.  Clearly the relative sea level in Bangladesh is therefore rising, but it’s all about plate tectonics, not climate change.

The deal under discussion in Doha as I write proposes increasing the already eye-watering emissions reductions targets to which the EU, and the UK, are committed.  Jeremy Nicholson of the Energy Intensive Users’ Group  says the deal could add £7.5 billion to energy bills by 2020.  Peter Lilley MP describes the plan as “self-flagellation”.

This pointless madness has to stop.

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9 Responses to Doha: a last-gasp face-saver?

  1. Rich Tee says:

    When the rich countries are being told to pay money directly to poor countries as “compensation”, can anybody really still doubt that this is more about socialist wealth redistribution than it is about saving the planet?

    Watermelons. Green on the outside, red on the inside.

  2. Brilliant piece, but when are the Yeo’s of this world going to heed it?

  3. plazaeme says:

    Good to see a politician who knows what he is talking about.

  4. Mike Spilligan says:

    @ancientpopeyer: No one who’s making money out of myths is going to heed it.
    Regarding Bangladesh: I laughed wryly and forlornly when, just before the last GE, Greg Barker travelled there and interviewed two local ladies who confirmed that the climate was deteriorating. They obviously knew which side their bread was buttered, even if Barker doesn’t. There were so many things wrong with that, and I won’t attempt to list them – but he could have referred to a number of academic institutions like NCAR at Boulder, Colorado, from where he could have got many – and contrary – facts without leaving his desk.

  5. For all their lies about “extending Kyoto”, the simple fact is there will be no legally binding treaty to reduce CO2 on the 1st January 2013

  6. mikestallard says:

    Oh dear! When you write stuff like this, and when I see the Conservatives all in a queue to introduce the ridiculous idea of Gay Marriage (whatever next?) while neglecting our electricity bills and production, I get more and more drawn to UKIP which seems to be in touch with what ordinary people outside the Quad actually think.

    PS: 127 teachers have viewed the piece on Global Warming and we have, to date 42 downloads. This means that, already we have presented the case to probably about 200 pupils at various schools. Please pat your staff on the head!

  7. Scaredypants says:

    Does it mean that when we win the battle of the global warming argument, we can then set our sights on dismantling Agenda 21? I hope so

  8. I remember the US getting a tonne of stick from the greenies for not ratifying the Kyoto protocol, and thus being insufferable, selfish, callous bastards who would rather watch the world burn than get out of their gass-guzzling SUVs to walk 5m to get another Big Mac to eat.

    So now we know that, thanks to the combined use of renewable energy and shale gas, the US would have met it commitments, had it ratified the Kyoto protocol. Curiously, I don’t think I’ve seen anything in the press, or on the internet, by the people who were so quick to belittle and accuse the US of malice then, about how the US must be virtuous and kind, and saving the world with it’s reduction of GHGs.

    Obviously, the above is more than a little glib. But my point is this: We don’t need to be tied up in these long-winded, politically driven talks. We need to push ahead with sustainable, appropriate (especially with regard to the local environment), and affordable energy. Affordable energy is the basis for economic growth. Reducing GHG emissions and economic growth are totally compatible, if we push hard on technologies.

    I believe Solow had some points about this, but I’m no economist, so I’ll leave that argument to those who know more.

  9. Sorry, I should correct myself there. The US has only achieved 70% of the reductions it would have comitted to at Kyoto, not 100%. Still impressive

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