Commentary: A climate shakedown in Copenhagen |

Commentary: A climate shakedown in Copenhagen

Guy W. Farmer

The United Nations just spent hundreds of millions of American tax dollars to put on an overhyped Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. And what did we get for our outsized investment? Not much.

First, let’s remember that the United States finances 23 percent of the total U.N. budget. At the Copenhagen summit our generous investment enabled so-called “developing” nations like China and India to lambaste the U.S. and Europe for destroying the planet as we know it, and to demand that we spend billions of our hard-earned tax dollars to atone for our sins. Fortunately, however, that’s not going to happen in the midst of an economic crisis with unemployment above 10 percent.

As the respected Wall Street Journal noted, the climate conference “was supposed to be the moment when the world came together to save us from an excess of carbon dioxide . . . (but) it’s coming down instead to cold, hard cash.”

So what else is new?

“There’s reason to celebrate the failure of (the) Copenhagen Climate Summit,” opined the conservative Orange County (Calif.) Register. “Prosperous nations weren’t willing to commit economic suicide while ostensibly subsidizing climate-change mitigation for less prosperous nations.”

And why should they?

The Journal called the chaotic conference “a shakedown” and said developing nations would most likely squander any additional foreign aid that came their way because of corruption, government-controlled economies and the absence of the rule of law. I personally observed how U.S. foreign aid was wasted during my 28-year diplomatic career. No matter how noble the purpose – i.e. saving the planet – corrupt governments steal the money whenever possible, and the idea of U.N. “controls” over such expenditures is laughable.

In a balanced assessment of the Copenhagen Summit, Reno blogger/columnist Ty Cobb Sr. concluded that the final agreement “fell far short of the hopes and expectations of many participants.” He credited President Obama’s personal intervention for producing a deal that establishes vague goals for the reduction of man-made greenhouse gasses and loose monitoring of such emissions.

“In the end Chinese opposition to intrusive monitoring and verification carried the day,” Cobb wrote.

This outcome is fine with me because although I believe that man-made greenhouse gasses probably do contribute to some degree of global warming (or climate change), more and better scientific data is needed before we adopt Al Gore’s apocalyptic, and self-serving, view of the future.

In my opinion, objective and qualified scientists should re-evaluate the global warming premise before we agree to worldwide emissions reduction standards or transfer billions of U.S. tax dollars to Third World polluters. Happy New Year!

• Guy W. Farmer, a semi-retired journalist and former U.S. diplomat, resides in Carson City.