The world's political leaders, not least President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, are in a state of severe, almost clinical, denial. While acknowledging that the outcome of the United Nations climate-change conference in Copenhagen fell short of their demand for a legally binding, enforceable and verifiable global agreement on emissions reductions by developed and developing countries alike, they insist that what has been achieved is a breakthrough and a decisive step forward. (via Nigel Lawson: Time for Plan B - WSJ.com).
The real issue
For the first time, in all the coverage that climate change has seen (dare I say, over-coverage), here is something that was 'honest', 'open', 'clear' and 'transparent'. In more informal surroundings I would have used the word brazen.
First - He, Nigel Lawson, starts of with clearly defining that the G8/OECD world wanted "a legally binding, enforceable and verifiable global agreement on emissions reductions by developed and developing countries alike". Awesome.
The same 25,000 people (25 countries x 1000 powerful people) who rule over the G8-/OECD wanted the poor to invite these 25,000 to have undue and illegitimate oversight over our 'poor' lives - in the name of climate change. While the rest of the world was pussyfooting around this issue, here we find Nigel Lawson 'outing' the real agenda. Good work, Nigel.
Second - He was honest to admit what his real peeve was. He thinks that the "only breakthrough was the political coup for China and India in concluding the anodyne communiqué with the United States behind closed doors, with Brazil and South Africa allowed in the room and Europe left to languish in the cold outside."
If he can feel bad about that, we can surely feel good about it. Since, this is the season for cheer and goodwill, let me confess ...
I do, at least.
They don't want us to compete
Third - He also very simply goes to the nub of the matter.
"The reason we use carbon-based energy is not the political power of the oil lobby or the coal industry. It is because it is far and away the cheapest source of energy at the present time and is likely to remain so, not forever, but for the foreseeable future."
And dear Nigel, we cannot allow access to India-China to get that benefit? Can we!
Creating fifth columnists
Fourth - He goes onto questioning the "2006 Stern Review, quite the shoddiest pseudo-scientific and pseudo-economic document any British Government has ever produced". And this was the same Sir Nicolas Stern, who the Indian Government wanted to /did consult. And he does quite simply capture the debate well when he says "any assessment of the impact of any future warming that may occur is inevitably highly conjectural, depending ... on the uncertainties of climate science ... (and) on the uncertainties of future technological development. So what we are talking about is risk".
We can do business with such people
Fifth - He also fires a warning shot at China and India with "The risk of a 1930s-style outbreak of protectionism—if the developed world were to abjure cheap energy and faced enhanced competition from China and other rapidly industrializing countries that declined to do so—is probably greater than any risk from warming."
Just tell us where and when!
He then goes onto draw
"the outlines of a credible plan B are clear. First and foremost, we must do what mankind has always done, and adapt to whatever changes in temperature may in the future arise.
This enables us to pocket the (many) benefits of any warming while reducing the costs ... Addressing these problems directly is many times more cost-effective than anything discussed at Copenhagen. And adaptation does not require a global agreement, although we may well need to help the very poorest countries (not China) to adapt ...
... it is not going to be easy to get our leaders to move to plan B. (as) calling a halt to the high-profile climate-change traveling circus risks causing a severe conference-deprivation trauma among the participants. If there has to be a small public investment in counseling, it would be money well spent.
The speed with which the Plan B has come out means that they (G8+OECD) have given up on Plan A, which is good news. Since, their strategy did not work, what Plan B means is that they will go one country after another. Tackle them individually.
The West + Japan may make one last attempt in Mexico. If unsuccessful, they may drop the entire climate change agenda.
Which is good news.