• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Live at Copenhagen: Pitfalls for America

    The Heritage Foundation’s Steven Groves and Ben Lieberman are live at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference reporting from a conservative perspective. Follow their reports on The Foundry and at the Copenhagen Consequences Web site.

    There is plenty of anti-U.S. sentiment on display here in Copenhagen as we begin the crucial final week of the United Nations climate change conference. Representatives of developing nations brand Americans as energy hogs – enjoying a high standard of living while contributing disproportionately to the global warming damage that will affect everyone else. Thus, these nations argue for tougher U.S. emissions targets while retaining exemptions for themselves. The developing world is not alone in their criticisms – European and other developed nations also chastise America for not being a party to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the existing global warming treaty. The representatives of the 191 non-U.S. nations here may not be unanimous about very much but they all seem to agree on one thing – America needs to do a lot more.

    EPA administrator Lisa Jackson seemingly conceded some of these points in her December 9th speech here when she said that the Obama administration is “fighting to make up for lost time,” and that “this administration will not ignore the science any longer, nor will we avoid the responsibility we owe to our children and grandchildren.”

    Of course, it is typical for the U.S. to get badmouthed on the international stage and for the rest of the world to demand big sacrifices from America. It is also fairly harmless – unless American negotiators start believing these misleading claims and act accordingly.

    America was the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses during the 20th century, but emissions from China and other fast-developing nations have more than caught up and are growing many times faster than ours. Thus, the practical reality is that even if the U.S. were to agree to stringent new targets, continued exemptions for the developing world means that a treaty would do little to change the trajectory of future emissions. In other words, blaming America does not lead to sensible policy.

    Indeed, one of the key flaws to the Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. never ratified, was that it exempted China and other developing nations. European criticism of America for staying out of Kyoto is also unfair. For one thing, the Kyoto Protocol included provisions beneficial to European nations but detrimental to the U.S. For example, Kyoto uses 1990 as the baseline year for emissions reduction targets, even though the treaty was signed in 1997 and went into force in 2005. Some key European nations saw their emissions decline between 1990 and 1997 for reasons unrelated to global warming (Britain reduced coal use in favor of natural gas, West Germany absorbed East Germany and shut down much of its inefficient heavy industry). The use of the 1990 baseline does not help the U.S., and despite being nearly 20 years out of date, Europe still wants to stick with it. Kyoto also does not take into account population growth, thus developed nations with growing populations like the U.S. would have more difficulty meeting Kyoto-style emissions targets than European nations, many of which have stagnant populations.

    Even with these pro-European provisions, many Kyoto signatories have not reduced their emissions under the treaty. Indeed, the U.S. has done better reducing its emissions outside the Kyoto Protocol than many Kyoto insiders, and better than the European Union overall.
    The good news is that U.S. chief climate negotiator Todd Stern has been saying some of the right things about the need for meaningful developing world participation and that the Kyoto approach needs improvement. But we will have to see if the final agreement manages to avoid any disproportionate burdens on the American people.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to Live at Copenhagen: Pitfalls for America

    1. ONTIME, USA says:

      Copenhagen has been struck with reality, the one from other industrial countries who have far to much to lose and will not conform to this sham of CO2 or global warming, neither of these schemes hold water and the ability to furnish evidence is now openly tainted…Thanks to a hacker who may have come from Russia and has more integrity than all those conspiring scientist and politicians that would lead you to believe this world scam is a imperative of the first order to save mankind. It isn't, has never been and until there is real proof that climate and environment is contaminated by .0331% CO2 of earth's atmosphere, there is no point, little proof and miniscule logic in this scheme to bilk the population of billions of dollars….We need to fill our jails with these fools and charlatans.

    2. D.S.M., California says:

      Now we know what the United Nations is and who it represents.

    3. Gary Cody, The UNITE says:

      I am amazed that any rational person can even discuss the "global warming" issue with a straight face. Whether the earth is in a warming mode or is cooling (which has been the case for the past decade or so), one thing we know for sure: It has nothing to do with emissions created by humans. By giving the radical environmentalist a platform, we only lend much needed credibility to the hoax they are attempting to perpetrate on the world in general, and on the United States in particular.

      I would have a lot more respect for those who are pushing this agenda if they would just come out with the honest truth about what they are attempting to accomplish: A global government where there will be no national borders and where a few elitist will govern the vast majority of the population in a Master/Slave relationship.

      This is all about the transfer of POWER to a central Global government. It has nothing to do with the environment.

    4. Glenn Pusch,Taylorvi says:

      China and India generate over 2.6 billion tons of CO2 just by breathing out compared to 300 million tons from the U.S.breathing out. How much CO2 comes from the active volcanoes in the ring of fire area? How much comes from the active volcanoes under the ocean? Isn't the antartic melting due to the volcano under the ice sheet? My computer research indicates that there is a 200 year cycle in global temperature.

    5. E.H. Zierlein, Coeur says:

      The longer this is debated, obviously, the more scientists are disagreeing with the original computer model, and the fact that there is NO proof that carbon is a problem. Question: If everyone in Europe would stop breathing for one day, what would be the actual reduction? We have reduced carbons more than most of Europe ever since the Protocal was started in 97.

    6. jjw says:

      If CO2 were so harmful, why doesn't those who go to full movie theaters or dances that are overflowing with people who breath out CO2. In an hours time, everyone would be dead but three hours and we still have plenty of life, what is the EPA talking about. What a joke they are and they are supposed to be truthful. I don't think so.

    7. Gary, NJ says:

      Hoo Boy. So:

      WE'RE going to be penalized… (Billions)

      …for NOT causing something…

      …that DOESN'T exist…

      .. and that ISN'T happening.

      Riiight… Got it.

      I'd call that a scam and a fraud – in any order!

    8. Ardell Nagle, Rexbur says:

      While we pollute the air with our emissions so does China and they will not sign onto a contract that will affect their bottom line. The debate over how much we have caused is still out. From what I have seen especially in my part of the country is no Global warming, and also there is fact we suffered very few hurricanes during this season in the south. I am more apt to believe those scientist that say we go through cycles due to the sun.

      It disturbs me that third world countries wants us to support their poor. We will not be supporting their poor we will supporting their corrupt governments. We in the states has been sending money to them for years and have always given to those countries in need. You keep giving to them and they will continue to take, they will never to learn to survive on their own and learn how to fend for themselves. I would rather see voluteers show them to grow crops or do what ever is needed to help them to survive on their own.

    9. Pingback: Sarah Palin, a Media Star; Obama, Media Liability « VotingFemale Speaks!

    10. Steven Kennedy Dalla says:

      Please let the European and undeveloped nations know that we will cut back on our carbon so-called footprint as follows. Cut off all food aid and all other types of world aid we send monthly around the world. We spend billions on fuel to get it there and also to produce it; not counting the manpower whom has to breath. If we did that alone it would help their cause dramatically. Europe and other undeveloped nations can start standing on their own as we bring all our Great American Troops home to also help lower our carbon footprint worldwide. The troops breathing must be very harmfull to the enviroment becouse their hard work means more exhauling and thus producing more Co2. Oh no, GOD Forbid.

    11. Roger S., Ma. says:

      Members of the U.S. delegation ought to be reminded of a couple of things:

      1) They work for US, the U.S.Taxpayers, not the would-be Global Moguls! Our interests come first!

      2) Our interests coming first is in fact vital to the ability of any of those UN and pro-third world "hibbledy-dibbledies" abilities to solve any of their problems, since our productivity has actually been the driving force of progress in the world. There is no one in sight to take up the technologically productive slack if we become unable (or unwilling!) to keep firing our locomotive with 299 self-appointed and -anointed "brake-men" doing their thing on the Caboose! — Members of our delegation should not be allowed to waste even one single chance to impress this upon the other delegates! (They won't like hearing it, but what's the point in hiding the truth. PC is thought control! We've had enough of it.)

      3) This is a moral issue: The third world's problems are mostly not of our creation, nor our never-ending guilt-trip to be exploited by their leaders intent on financing their next junket or firefight with neighboring states. If they want prosperity, we have been and will continue to be the last country on earth to stand in the way of their creation of the kind of society which makes it possible: one of respect for human rights, including complete personal and economic liberty. –Anything we give them until these prerequisites become fact will be wasted. Basing the continuation of their present ways on our (forced) "charity" is as immoral to us as it is to their own citizens! We are no longer willing to submit to that kind of blackmail!

      4) If we are "energy hogs", as some of these potentates have stated, they need to be reminded that it is we who created that energy's usefulness; let alone having in many instances "found" it, while they spent centuries "sitting" on "wealth", which in many cases they didn't even know existed! For every erg or joule of it we expend, we create the ten-, hundred-, sometimes thousand-fold benefit to all who would partake than they have ever dared to dream! –Rather than increasing their demands on us, they might consider first benefiting from the "free" learning experience. What's useful to us could be the same for them, if they got their act together along the lines stated in 3). (That is, if improving the lives of their destitute millions is their actual intention!)

      5) Last, not least, it's time for them to stop apologizing for the U.S.A. (It would be undiplomatic, and not quite PC, to ask them to demand the world apologize to us; although much more in keeping with the facts than what they have so far been doing.)

    12. John Keese, Oklahoma says:

      We will continue to have "global warming" or as the politically correct now label climate change as long as the scientists and universities are getting our tax dollars to study the problem. Simple matter of greed.

    13. Bob R Geologist, Tuc says:

      In my 90 odd years, 70 in science, I have never seen a thoroughly confused situation like the present AGW affair. I consider it a 3 sided problem. The Greenies have made a religion out of it, crediting mythical powers to a tiny component in our atmosphere without which the earth would be unhabitable (no food for animals). Fortunately for most of us who enjoy eating, our climate specialists have been unable to prove a single bad thing about CO2. But it is the only crutch they have to cling to so with lies, hype, obfuscations,invective against skeptics and other futile behavior they use to keep their specious hypothesis alive. Then the politicians who can't see beyond the money they have invested in this grab for power, prove the old adage, the Gov't is not the solution, they are the problem. Scientists who know the truth stand around gathering black eyes.

    14. Frank Inderwiesen, says:

      Why don't we take the first step and ban Soft Drinks?

      Just think of all the Co2 that is released each day from those pop tops. Oh but I forgot, isn't Pepsi the signature drink of liberals. I am sure I saw Al Gore with a Pepsi in his hand. "Don’t do as I do, but do as I say". And while were at it isn't that French favorite, Champagne, just full of it to. Mother nature will do what she will do, and man won’t effect her whims enough to make a difference.

    15. Sam Deakins says:

      If Algore were to reduce his output of fecal gas for 1 day that would be equivalent to Copenhagen shutting down all power for at least 2 weeks.

    16. Mike Sierra Vista A says:

      Thanks to Ben for saying something.

      Most people are afraid to open their mouths.

      I would like to see someone address "Climate Debt", defined

      by the UN, and how long it has to be paid to the 185 countries who are eligible.

    17. Roger S., Ma. says:

      Mike, you can safely count on the climate "debt" being due forever, or at least until we're just as poor as they are –and will likely remain under these schemes/scams, take your pick. As for a definition, I don't quite know what it is currently, or if there actually is one, but here too you can safely count on it being adjusted in whatever way the "transparency nabobs" at the UN will find useful to their ends. One thing that did come out was that allegedly we have been incurring this "debt" to the global world since 1850, i.e. since roughly the beginning of the Industrial Revolution! If that screwy notion doesn't give you (or anyone) second thoughts about "providing for" that big glass box down there on the East River, I don't know what will!

      (I actually have some more choice expressions for these save-the-one-world-via-UN types, but am not using them for fear of being moderated out again! In any case, these would be purely "subjective"; on the other hand hardly more "subjective" than the climate-change "model" we're being asked to "try on".)

      Facts seem in short supply, these days, "true lies" available by the cartload on every Copenhagen street corner and in a lot of Washington and New York offices. Too bad for the Danes. They're nice people and have a nice country. Been there a few times. Just too bad! Also too bad for the New Yorkers, who could do better than having a global madmen' convention permanently lodged in their neighborhood. Imagine the productive uses that scarce real estate could supply if it were otherwise!

      I know that didn't really answer your fair question, and I'm sorry for using the opportunity for a little "diatribe" of my own, but that was to make the point: To the best of my knowledge, there isn't one. There just are no reliable facts about "climate change" and the means to "deal" with it, only a lot of "stake-holders" making assertions while asking for money, favors, or both!

      HF comes closest to facts, and these are economic impact facts which will transact as soon as any of these hair brained climate thingamajigs are actually practiced. They're "bank-breaker" type facts, economically devastating "capital killers". Stay tuned in case anything truly better and believable turns up: Most likely it will be reported first here at HF.

    18. raymond b says:

      I guess if you had lived on an island just swallowed up by the sea you may have a slightly less selfish perspective.

      Link here :

    19. Roger S., Ma. says:

      To raymond b: No, I would not. I would have moved, as I'm sure the inhabitants were given ample opportunity and means to do by the Indian government, while India is itself a prime "polluter", with so far little to show for it beyond the A-Bomb. Imagine the USA building the bomb while in the state of economic and industrial development of roughly 1830!

      (I know, I know: It was needed to keep Pakistan from using its. Actually, vice-a-versa. And both countries insisted on that murderous split at the end of the British Raj, which BTW for all its faults did more for the Indian subcontinent than centuries of Moguls before! In any case, to me that's proof of their true priorities. "We will eat dirt, but we will have The Bomb"!)

      So, is it our responsibility to make up for their mismanagement of priorities? After all, they could have purchased from us in the West well-developed technology to deal with these problems. We have been dealing with them increasingly successfully since the beginning Industrial Revolution. Just ask the people of the Netherlands!

      Near sea level land, inhabited or not, has been vanishing beneath the waves since almost forever. It's just that not until the advent of modern technology has anyone been able to notice. And not since the advent of the last century's global population explosion enabled by just this technology, has anyone cared or felt the need to care. After all, environmental changes causing continental, even global, population migrations are nothing new.

      What has any of that to do with our alleged carbon footprint? Sea levels must have been rising since the last Ice Age began to subside. –So, much as I feel sorry for the inhabitants of that island, none of this is even close to proof of Carbon caused global warming (now cooling for the last decade), which is Copenhagen's premise for extorting trillions from developed nations.

      Neither our sympathy nor our empathy can ever be considered an adequate basis for DEMANDS. Demands, to be justified, require PROOF. That has not been presented!

      Developing nations might do better to emphasize use of the accomplishments of modern science and technology, including social science, to regulate the settlement in endangered littoral areas, rather than ostentatious displays of armaments and aggressive military prowess they can ill afford. That is, they might, and could and presumably would, if welfare of their populations were truly their leaders' principal concern. So far, the evidence seems to show the opposite!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.