- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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.

Mr. Nelson introduced the bill in February after federal park officials became concerned about the number of pet snakes abandoned in the Everglades. But the reptile folks think there’s some slithering going on.

“Over the years, there have been many suspected manufactured releases of animals at crucial turning points in reptile-related legislation,” says Michael Cole, a reptile handler in Tampa who cited a 2008 incident in North Carolina’s Onslow County.

A pair of cobras were released in the county, he says, reportedly by the Animal Protection Institute to draw attention to the woes of exotic animals.

“Florida reptile professionals, the reptile industry and the U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers have offered a reward of $18,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved with the illegal release of this Burmese python,” Mr. Cole said.

JOE = JOB

“Boot him out of office. Strip his chairmanship. Fire his wife. Accuse him of murder. What will liberals suggest next in their campaign against Sen. Joe Lieberman?” asks Hudson Institute fellow Tevi Troy of the Connecticut independent who opposes the public option in “Obamacare, ” along with the “Medicare buy-in” for those age 55 and up designed to appease restive moderates.

“I’m not sure why Lieberman in particular inspires such hatred on the left. Sen. Ben Nelson is at least as obstructionist to the Democrats, and not just on the abortion issue,” Mr. Troy continues, calling the Nebraska Democrat more conservative than Mr. Lieberman on many issues on the domestic front.

“Lieberman’s lifetime score from the American Conservative Union is 15.96, while Nelson scores 47.26,” Mr. Troy says. “Yet no one to my knowledge has accused Nelson of murder or gone after members of his family. What is it about Lieberman that makes liberals want to turn Joe into Job?”

Boils and locusts may be in the offing, he adds.

POLL DU JOUR

38 percent of Americans overall say there is a “strong connection” between human behavior and climate change.

71 percent of Democrats and 9 percent of Republicans agree.

44 percent of Americans overall say the U.S. government should act to reduce energy use, even at the cost of “significant” lifestyle changes among citizens.

75 percent of Democrats agree, 74 percent of Republicans disagree.

37 percent of Americans overall are “not at all concerned” about global warming.

7 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Republicans agree.

Source: A Zogby International poll of 3,072 adults conducted Dec. 8-10.

Warmed-over observations, hot tips, cold facts to jharper@ washingtontimes.com.

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