EDITORIAL: Debt dumps on Durban

Economic woes threaten cash for climate change

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It’s time for the world’s leftists to come up with a new scheme for spreading the wealth around from the rich to the poor. They had been counting on their global-warming ploy, but it is falling apart, a victim of economic reality.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change opened yesterday in Durban, South Africa, amid pessimism over whether developed countries would follow through on a 2009 promise to pony up $30 billion by 2012 and $100 billion by 2020 so poorer countries could battle the purported threat of global warming.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which laid the legal foundation for changing the weather by limiting carbon-dioxide output, is expected to give up its last breath in 2012 unless a new agreement is struck. The United States never ratified the original Kyoto deal, and up-and-coming economic powerhouses such as China and India have refused to sign on to a new pact that would limit their own industrial capacity.

In Durban, the most optimistic outcome for the 12-day confab appears to be an extension of Kyoto carbon-dioxide limits until 2015 and a global financial pact by 2020. Supporters are hoping that by then the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change can restore the credibility of the global-warming credo with the publication of its next report in 2014. Public acceptance of the theory that human activity heats the planet has waned as a series of leaked emails have surfaced illuminating the shoddy science underlying the IPCC’s seminal 2007 climate study.

U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres admits that opinion is turning against a new deal. “Making an agreement is not easy,” she said before the conference’s opening. “What we’re looking at is not an international environment agreement - we’re looking at nothing other than the biggest industrial and energy revolution that has ever been seen.”

Revolutions are pricey, and the world’s finances have suffered more than its climate in the two years since rich nations promised cash for climate change. At the 2009 U.N. summit in Copenhagen, officials agreed to bankroll the fight against global warming, then fled before an approaching snowstorm. As 2011 wanes, it is questionable whether the term “rich” still applies to countries deeply in debt.

The European Union, an enthusiastic backer of climate-change policies, packs the financial punch of a pauper. Punitive taxes on conventional energy threaten the working class with “energy poverty,” whereby they can’t afford to keep warm in winter. In the United States, President Obama maintains his rigid commitment to an economic model in which government spending is supposed to stimulate business growth but never does. The U.S. economy suffers from his extremist energy policy, which keeps affordable sources off-limits while blowing billions on worthless windmills and solar panels. According to last week’s Gallup poll, 72 percent of the public believe the economy is getting worse.

The bureaucrats gathered in Durban are faced with the reality that their policies have helped make beggars of the rich while doing nothing for the poor. Their gambit has failed. Global warming is an unaffordable fantasy.

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