Each year at this time 10,000 to 20,000 people gather at some plush international site to discuss an impending climate apocalypse at some distant point in time. This year, the meeting COP-18 is being held in Doha, Qatar. It is ironic that so many people who want to suppress the use of fossil energy are meeting in a country made wealthy by oil.
For well over a decade, it has been absolutely clear that only a handful of nations would sign and attempt to honor the flawed Kyoto Treaty. Developing countries were exempt from its provisions but weren’t bashful about demanding that developed countries bribe them to participate. Developed countries for the most part gave lip service to the provisions and blamed the US for lack of progress. The EU nations made a good faith commitment and paid the price by doing serious damage to their economies. The pursuit of the green energy agenda drove up electrical power costs, drove up unemployment, and drove investments to friendlier environments.
While the UN and participating governments have wasted money on travel, meetings, and the care and feeding of a climate bureaucracy that promotes the climate orthodoxy, they have ignored the plight of 1.6 billion people who have no commercial energy, who suffer devastating poverty, have no potable water, and suffer disease and mortality rates that are almost beyond comprehension. This is the assault environmental and one that we know how to fix.
In 2000, under the auspices of the UN, almost 200 countries met to address the problems of the developing world. They set a 2015 goals to eradicate extreme poverty, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development. Some of these goals like environmental sustainability and global partnership are aspirational hard to measure; others like poverty and mortality aren’t.
A decade has now passed and the number of people who live with no access to commercial electricity or potable water and suffer high rates of mortality and disease remains almost unchanged. Some of this is the result of dictators who exploit their people and national resources for self-enrichment. But, a large part is due to UN and developed nation negligence. Foreign aid, trade incentives, World Bank loans etc. could be more closely tied to actions that move these developing countries toward the rule of law and creation of democratic institutions. They haven’t because it is harder than rhetoric about a climate apocalypse.
So, when the delegates at COP-18 give speeches and pronouncements about the human impacts of climate change while living the good life on the government dole and ignoring the plight of 1.6 billion people, they are being hypocrites.