Negotiators rarely find themselves at a loss for words. So it should come as no surprise that United Nations diplomats agreed Sunday to keep chatting. They set for themselves a 2015 deadline for reaching a deal on a new climate treaty. As long as they keep talking and don't actually do anything, the world is spared the cost of a bargain that could reach into the trillions.
Representatives at the 17th annual U.N. global-warming summit in Durban, South Africa, worked overtime figuring out how they could replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, set to expire at the end of 2012. While the original treaty placed carbon-dioxide emissions restrictions on industrial nations, the new "Durban Framework" calls for the inclusion of developing nations as well when it takes effect in 2020.
European Union climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard commended representatives from 194 nations for "working to the very last minute to secure that we cash in what has been achieved and what should be achieved here." The "cash" she referred to is $100 billion in annual taxes developed nations would pay into a "Green Climate Fund," which then would be redistributed to underdeveloped countries to mitigate the impact of purported global warming. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said recently that the fund needs to collect $76 trillion over 40 years. Good luck selling that plan in today's teetering economy.
While the U.N. conclave spent two weeks persuading developed members to redistribute their wealth to the less prosperous, leaders of "rich" European countries were struggling to stave off a financial collapse of the eurozone. The United States isn't much better off, as Washington lawmakers remain at loggerheads over how to tackle the nation's $15 trillion debt.
If Durban conferees noticed the irony of plans to "cash in" from empty pockets, it was not apparent. Such folk occupy an alternate universe in which the belief that mankind is solely responsible for heating the planet is not to be questioned.
Meanwhile, back in America, the warmist arguments increasingly are facing challenge. Today's temperature changes are indistinguishable from historic climate cycles, and the public is beginning to notice that renewable-energy schemes are unaffordable luxuries. Beneath our feet lies a treasure trove of affordable energy resources that warmist adherents, who include President Obama, have placed off-limits.
The United States possesses 1.4 trillion barrels of recoverable oil, more than the oil the entire world has consumed during the past 150 years, according to an Institute for Energy Research report released last week. Add in an estimated 2.7 quadrillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas and 486.1 billion short tons of recoverable coal, and our energy reserves exceed those of any other nation on Earth.
The American economy will not prosper until we get government out of the way and let the private sector power our future using the most efficient sources available. For that to happen, the next administration must reject any redistributionist U.N. treaty designed to soak billions from U.S. taxpayers based on bogus climate claims.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.