Inside the Beltway

COPING WITH COPENHAGEN

It’s a disaster. That’s the judgment call from William Yeatman, energy policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who is actually in Denmark bearing witness to the United Nations’ climate summit and assorted follies of global warming.

“The take-home lesson here is the U.N.’s gross incompetence. It invited 45,000 ‘observers’ to COP-15” - the technical name for the summit - “but the Bella Center event site only has space for 15,000. That means that thousands of people emitted huge amounts of carbon to travel to Copenhagen for nothing. If you believe that greenhouse gases cause the planet to warm, then this conference is an environmental disaster,” Mr. Yeatman tells Inside the Beltway.

“What I have seen thus far is the same diplomatic gridlock that has defined climate-change-mitigation negotiations for almost two decades. The International Energy Agency says that curing the climate of its supposed ills would cost $45 trillion, and there is simply no precedent for international burden-sharing of this magnitude, short of war,” Mr. Yeatman continues.

The event was doomed from the start, he says.

“History suggests that a climate deal is impossible, and events are bearing this out. Remember, Copenhagen was supposed to be a deadline for an international treaty, but world leaders conceded that an agreement would not result from COP-15 - in Singapore, a month before the conference began. COP-15 was an acknowledged failure before it even started. That’s why we’ve seen this unseemly diplomatic posturing - the boycotts, the walkouts, the demands untethered from reality,” Mr. Yeatman concludes.

CULTURAL MOMENTS

“My government went to COP-15, and all I got was this lousy economy.” - a T-shirt handed out at the Copenhagen conference by the National Center for Public Policy Research.

“While the fat cats in government can easily sign onto a feel-good environmental agreement, average people will be left to cope with the economic consequences,” observes David Ridenour, vice president of the nonprofit group.

Cultural Moment II: Little-known fact: COP-15 actually stands for “15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

Maybe they should have stopped at “Conference of the Parties.”

SNAKE OIL

Things are politically charged even among snakes.

The U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers is “suspicious” over the sudden, much publicized appearance of a 12-foot Burmese python near Tampa, Fla., just as “python ban” legislation goes for a full vote before the U.S. Senate. The group believes the snake was deliberately let loose by animal rights advocates to sway public opinion - and are offering a fat reward for information about the release, which they say is illegal.

And the legislation? Introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida Democrat, S. 373 would make it illegal for people to import or engage in the interstate trade of “nine dangerous snakes,” including Burmese pythons, anacondas and the boa constrictor. The bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, and is supported by the U.S. Humane Society.

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About the Author
Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

A graduate of Syracuse University, Jennifer Harper writes the daily Inside the Beltway column and provides additional coverage of breaking national news, plus long-term trends in politics, media issues, public opinion, popular culture, Hollywood foibles and “eureka” moments in health and science.

She has been a frequent broadcast commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Voice of America, Citadel Broadcasting, ...

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