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Climate Change Policy - Heating Up, Melting Down

Politics / Climate Change Dec 14, 2012 - 08:29 AM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


In January 2011, the USA's space agency NASA, which has become one of the world's most outspoken advocates of global warming crisis, and the US oceanic and atmopheric agency NOAA, which says that its mission is "to enrich life through science", jointly announced that current temperature readings show that 2010 tied with 2005 as the hottest year in recorded human history. Their conclusion in 2011, and today is that greater global warming and "related climate change" is unarguable and certain from a scientific perspective.

Recent published research by these agencies, and by likeminded science and technology agencies from countries actively contributing to the 3 main Working Groups of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) go on to list a rising number of wipeout threats to Humanity. Their reports say that research on climate change supports predictions of sea level rises, torrential rains and flooding, water scarcity and drought, crop failures and famines, melting glaciers and retreating ice sheets, severe heatwaves and wildfires, stronger hurricanes, ever more extreme weather conditions, rapid extinction of species, spreading tropical diseases, and other looming catastrophes.

All UN Climate Change Conferences since 2009, in Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban and Doha, have  promoted the concept of climate change damage and loss. These conferences have always featured verbal agreements from the developed nations to provide hundreds of billions of dollars ($100 bn per year from 2020, possibly $60 bn per year for 2015-2020) in financial aid to certain developing countries to overcome claimed global climate change damage and dangers.

The developed nations will need to spend many more billions to limit their own greenhouse gas pollution. These gases (GHG) are the almost exclusive, politically-correct cause of global warming, and the equally correct, supposedly automatic climate change that is due to global warming - if of course there is real global warming.

The 2006 study and report by Lord Stern of the UK, periodically updated, contains scenarios for spending needs and risk/benefit from either spending or not spending to mitigate claimed global warming and its claimed automatic result of climate change. These spending needs extend to at least $600 - $1200 bn per year, depending on scenario. On the basis that small island states and low income developing countries require $100 bn per year of "mitigation spending", it can be assumed that all other countries require a total of around $500 - $1100 bn per year of mitigation spending. Davos Forum meetings since 2009 have given various near-trillion-dollar annual spending estimates and calls for corporate action - to spend the hoped for trickle down, or flood of government borrowed and taxed funding of the mitigation efforts.

 The simplest question is: Will all this effort and money, if it is ever mobilized and spent, be wasted? An already large number of books, studies and reports argue this is sadly the case. These books, studies and reports have only two basic conclusions. These totally depend on whether the writers or researchers believe, or don't believe in the idiot friendly, easy to parrot formula:  CO2=global warming=climate change. Those who do not believe in the formula are "surprisingly" absent from the media.

It is not curious, therefore, that only the writers and researchers who believe in Climate Apocalypse are given royal treatment in the media, from Google to the Guardian and similar local android tweet-sheets. For the Doom Merchants the conclusion is that nearly all the world's climate policy makers, experts and advisors have been making tragic mistakes. These ensure the failure of all climate change mitigation attempts. These failures are as wide-ranging as the US Congressional rejection of Obama's attempts in 2009 to create a European-style cap-and-trade, the banker and broker-friendly casino for speculating on intrinsically worthless CO2 emissions permits and an alphabet soup of derived "climate assets", to the failed economic incentive schemes provided by the Kyoto Protocol, including the corrupt but tiny scaled system of  Clean Development Mechanisms. These are all “too little, too late”.

Only strict legally enforced CO2 pollution controls across the board can prevent disaster.

The doomster argument goes on to say that presently inadequate emissions-reduction measures are failing the developing nations, and cannot bridge the gap between the highest priorities and aspirations of developed and developing nations - coded language meaning that sustainable development must replace "current type" development. The doomster conclusion is therefore simple: vast discharges of greenhouse gases permitted by weak legally unenforced emissions-reduction programs will create chaos in the next 2 to 3 decades by guaranteeing that GHG concentrations in the atmosphere will keep on increasing, with an automatic aggravation of related climate change. Disaster will of course ensue.

These are sometimes heard, but rarely, because they obligatorily cast doubt on the exact nature of the crisis - whether it is the Earth's temperature regimes at different times in different places, the real and observed change of climate, and its real causes, the mitigation and adaptation measures proposed or applied by governments, usually with no public consensus, and the fundamentally linked subjects of energy, energy transition and the economy, sustainable or not.

These doubts or "climate sceptic" arguments underline the real world and rampant corruption which has been part and parcel of the world's only mandatory cap and trade system, in Europe. Very recent proof of this concerns Deutsche Bank's carbon finance and trading operations.

Reuters report, 12 December 2012 - Deutsche Bank co-chief executive Juergen Fitschen was drawn into a widening tax evasion probe linked to carbon trading at Germany's biggest lender on Wednesday 12 December as police and tax inspectors raided its offices. Prosecutors said they were investigating 25 bank staff on suspicion of severe tax evasion, money laundering and obstruction of justice, and searched the headquarters and private residences in Berlin, Duesseldorf and Frankfu

After a near decade of tomfool "voluntary controls", and of course the corruption riddled climate asset creation and trading circus, a rising number of persons argue that emissions-reduction programs cannot limit the cumulative concentration of greenhouse gases. This means the needed shift is to "clean technology" in a replacement strategy that could support current lifestyles and expanding economic development with the minimal goal of not further damaging climate and the environment. The way to reduce GHG levels in the atmosphere is to replace large pollution sources as rapidly as feasible in as many industrial sectors and world regions as possible with clean technologies, processes, and methods.

At present, helping make claimed mitgation attempts a farce and a laughing stock, most political leaders and their expert advisors in the developed nations advocate well-intentioned but unrealistic and massively expensive emissions-reduction measures such as continental scale CCS (carbon capture and sequestration), and measures unable to simply reduce pollution and improve atmospheric conditions without harming economic prospects of emerging and developing countries. The North-South divide on climate change mitigation is now a chasm, proven at every UN conference on climate change.

World leaders have with total predictability aligned themselves to one side or the other of the North-South divide. During his presidential campaign of 2012, Barack Obama pledged that the United States would "take the lead" in cutting GHG emissions. He promised to impose strong annual targets that, as in Europe, are either set by or derived from the 1997 Kyoto Treaty and would set the US on a course to reduce emissions back to their 1990 levels by 2020. This emissions-reduction process would then continue, reducing GHG emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

For Obama, even in 2012, this would be possible (by miracle) with only a cap-and-trade emissions permit system with annually reduced GHG limits: European experience, with its own mandatory cap-and-trade system (ETS and the "20-20-20" policy) shows the heavily corrupt and confused ETS trading and speculative asset creation system is totally ineffective at achieving its claimed and stated goals, as set by the Kyoto Treaty and then the "20-20-20" policy since Dec 2008.

Condemned to sideshow status and constantly declining support by public opinion in the affected countries - the EU27, Australia and New Zealand, the US and a very few other OECD countries - current climate change mitigation has itself split away from cleantech and alternate energy development. These now have their own evolving and emerging status. Their role will certainly grow but their link with the strange and confused goals of "mitigating climate crisis" will certainly decline and fade.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2012 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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