• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Why Is the Obama Administration in Cancun?

    Climate Science Exposed

    Last year at this time, the United Nations was coming to grips with the fact that the Copenhagen climate change summit would not produce a legally binding climate pact to succeed the failed Kyoto Protocol. In retrospect, nearly everyone acknowledges that the Copenhagen conference failed utterly to achieve its objectives. A year later, nations are again huddled together at a U.N. conference—this time in sunny Cancun, Mexico, rather than blustery Denmark—to try to get the global warming treaty train back on the rails.

    In the lead up to the Copenhagen conference, I wrote an article questioning the central role played by the U.N. in setting the tone and direction for global warming negotiations because that organization had moved from a position of “neutral broker” to that of a clearly biased party. By consenting to negotiate a global warming agreement through the U.N., the U.S. placed its negotiators in a position of weakness. Nations with little direct stake in the outcome of negotiations as well as U.N. officials manipulated the process to focus on an ineffective, costly agreement that unduly burdened the U.S. and other developed countries without any real assurance that such sacrifices would address the issue of global warming.

    Although a non-binding “Copenhagen Accord” was brokered by the U.S. as the conference concluded, the Copenhagen conference failed to agree on text for a binding treaty.

    Unresolved issues continue to bedevil negotiations and observers are predicting that the Cancun conference will also fail. The entire experience has increasingly led to questions about the usefulness of these types of U.N. conferences. Walter Russell Mead observes:

    It is not just that the Cancun meeting isn’t expected to produce much. The whole UN treaty process is increasingly being seen as a colossal and humiliating blunder. …

    Universal consent for a treaty of this kind makes no sense: it frankly doesn’t matter to the atmosphere or anyone else whether Vanuatu, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea or Cuba signs on or not. And many of the other “negotiators” in this process—I forbear to name any countries—have such feeble and crooked governments that they are incapable of enforcing a climate treaty no matter how many inspiring documents they sign. Yet under the UN rules, any one of these countries can veto the treaty and bring the whole process to a juddering halt. …

    [N]egotiations quickly turned into a parody of diplomacy in which political reality disappeared from view. Northern green activists lobbied to get strict carbon targets adopted. Developing country diplomats focused on “appropriate compensation.” Just how green did the North want the South to become, and just how much money was the North willing to pay to make this happen? Negotiators played with rich country aid budgets like kids with Monopoly money, and issued vague and intoxicating pledges that, in an era of austerity, will never be honored. …

    Son of Kyoto (like the Kyoto Protocol itself) has never been anything but a huge diversion from the real conversations that need to take place.

    At the Council on Foreign Relations, Michael Levi half-heartedly defends U.S. participation in the Cancun conference: “The reality is that even those of us who don’t love the UN talks are stuck with them, and we need to make the best of a bad situation.” But he readily acknowledges that the U.N. process is more likely to divert attention from constructive action than galvanize support and consensus. Indeed, following the Copenhagen conference last year, Levi concluded:

    As the dust settles on this year’s talks and observers try to understand exactly what happened here, one thing is for certain: The U.N. process can no longer be the central focus of global efforts to confront climate change.

    The structural problem with these talks has long been clear: It’s hard to find anything that 193 countries agree on, and it’s downright impossible to negotiate when all those parties must have their say. But activists, diplomats, and many analysts have long insisted on the participation of every last U.N. member nation. …

    [T]he global nature of the talks helped the key players to broker a deal. But our success or failure in actually implementing that deal—and cutting greenhouse-gas emissions more broadly—will depend on the domestic policies of the key players. … These details cannot be worked out in a 193-country group, where the lowest common denominator prevails.

    Indeed, the need to placate all of these parties is why negotiations repeatedly turn on income transfers to developing countries. As one news report summarized, “Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”

    All of this raises the question of just why the U.S. is in Cancun. Levi fears that “a blowup in Cancun” will “likely to lead to a Kyoto-II-style arrangement where the United States is once again marginalized.” But is that really something to fear? When the U.S. rejected the Kyoto Protocol, it rendered the agreement irrelevant. Without U.S. buy-in, any effort is empty.

    The U.S. shouldn’t accept a raw deal just to avoid being marginalized. But a raw deal is the only one that a majority of the U.N. member states are prepared to offer in Cancun. Playing along only encourages the idea that the U.S. will eventually cave.

    Efforts to address climate change do not need to be hammered out at a U.N. conference. Indeed, by working with a few key players, the U.S. is far more likely to negotiate a more effective and less costly strategy to address climate change without the tangents that bog down U.N. negotiations.

    Instead of letting the U.N. funnel negotiations toward an unrealistic, grossly expensive agreement, the U.S. and other nations expected to shoulder the burden should work outside of the U.N. to hash out a realistic, effective strategy by which they are prepared to abide.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Why Is the Obama Administration in Cancun?

    1. Pingback: Why Is the Obama Administration in Cancun? | Big Propaganda

    2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Why Is the Obama Administration in Cancun? | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    3. Roger Baxter. Batavi says:

      The question you did not ask was why the summit was even held, given that:

      The world has entered a new cooling phase, and:

      The underlying (emphasis on lying) science behind global climate change has largely been disproven.

    4. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    5. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      Man made climate change has been proven as a farce, Period. Those that still

      subscribe to this attempt to redistribute the wealth of more prosperous nations

      have been either totally brain-washed by lies and distortions or they are part of the communist/socialist/progressive worldwide movement to destroy the United States. As George Soros put it, "the United States is the last obstacle to

      a total world order".

    6. Norma in Nebraska says:

      You want to know why the summit was held? “Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”

      This is all about one-world currency, one-world government, and centralized world control and governance. The President has been honing his skills here in America by taking over car companies, financial institutitons, taking over the internet with "net neutrality", health care, and an endless list we probably don't even know about. Of course, he would go to Cancun to let other world leaders know just how sucessful he is!

      And what does he get in return? Well, perhaps George Soros knows the answer because he is the "puppet master!" Look him up . . . it will make your blood run cold!

    7. Ron Nord, San Ramon, says:

      Mr. Scallan said it all, why is the United States getting involved in this scam. Do we have that many politicians who have secret agreements for wealth or in the case of AlGore not so secret. The Democrats have shown themselves to be incompetent in diplomacy with the third world or anyone else, they know how to give it away but not keep it. Don't trust the UN, don't trust Soros and don't trust the Democrats or what ever they really are.

    8. Alice Smythe, Califo says:
    9. Kevin C., College Pa says:

      WPO released a statement on Dec 3rd that 2000-2010 were warmest 10 years on record, and 2010 the 3rd warmest on record. This is not a cooling phase, as some seem to suggest in this section.


      The argument that global warming itself is not happening is the oldest trick in the book, and all reputable skeptics have stopped using it.

      And to other folks, please stop posting journalistic pieces on climate change. If you are going to post anything on the science, do it from scientific journals or academies of science.

    10. Chris says:

      More spending for no reason and with no results!! What else is new?? Americans are so tired of this nonsense, we call government! What is O's agenda anyway?? The only agenda I see is to eliminate America as e know it and provide us with Change we don't want. Like government dominance, over taxing, anti-American rhetoric!!

      We have to put a stop to all this craziness. If you agree, join with other Christian Americans who are committed to Change America Back. Go to: http://www.PatrioticChristiansToday.com and make your commitment too.

    11. Pooh, Dixie says:

      The Obama administration is in Cancun because:

      1) The Socialist International is not meeting elsewhere (Browner is free).

      2) The Democratic Socialists (Democratic Left)are not meeting either.

      DSA USA. “Toward An Economic Justice Agenda.” Political. Democratic Left, May 2008. http://www.dsausa.org/pdf/eja_may2008.pdf
      Page 11. "The challenge of climate change is an economic, scientific, and labor issue much more than a traditional environmental issue.

      "Therefore, we advocate that the labor movement take the lead in pushing Congress to enact a massive program of public investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, as proposed by the Apollo Alliance, which sees clean energy and more jobs as reinforcing each other. Fresh water and biodiversity are also renewable but finite resources being exploited unsustainably. The privatization of water, another essential public good, is a critical issue in much of the world and needs to be resisted and reversed.

      "In short, we need a global Marshall Plan for sustainable development to reverse the race to the bottom in wages, taxation, health, and environmental regulation. It can be funded by a global punitive “Tobin tax” on speculative transfers of funds and currency in and out of the financial and stock markets of developing nations.

    12. Dinah Garrison Fairb says:

      I agree we have some difficulty finding "the truth" about global warming or climate change. But the simplistic suggestion that we be sure to use scientific journals to source our information and opinions has its own problems. I seem to remember some scientists in England had some trouble with their own truth on this subject not so long ago. Not much we have tried to do through the UN has been a success for the US. Others have benefitted, but we come up short. We should have stayed home or gone with the idea of not letting everyone dump on us and just sit back and take it. Or worse yet, start the dumping ourselves as has been happening. Our government has its first responsibility to us.

    13. Pingback: In Search of Leadership | RedState

    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.