World leaders should not be surprised by the result of last week’s climate summit in Germany. They should be alarmed.
With the major problem of global warming still on the back burner, most of the leaders gathered for the United Nations conference, which was intended to lay the groundwork for future negotiations on climate change, threw away any pretense that they wanted to do anything effective about it.
Instead of any meaningful commitment from the world’s leaders to undertake necessary and substantial actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, which scientists say cause most of the global warming we see, they merely agreed that they should all do something, maybe or hopefully.
Nor were the well-meaning, well-funded, non-governmental organizations that helped to establish the conference impressed by the outcome. They were chiefly focused on how their clients, or “clients,” could further their political and financial goals by pointing out the glaring shortcomings in the agreement.
Ironically, one of the groups most reviled by the sponsors and supporters of the deal had very little to contribute in the way of practical solutions to save the planet. It was Greenpeace.
Greenpeace is notorious for staging and/or promoting actions that make people feel guilty because their emissions of greenhouse gases are part of the problem, thus making it easier for them to vote for politicians that want to raise taxes on carbon-based fuels and regulations that would make burning fossil fuels impossible.
Greenpeace is also notorious for boycotting and/or blocking oil and gas exploration and extraction activities that would yield oil and natural gas that can be used to make cheaper electricity, and to produce cheaper jet fuel, gasoline and diesel, which are very important things around the world.
Most of the leaders at the climate summit clearly recognized that any meaningful agreement that had the potential to reduce greenhouse gases would only result in decreased profits and jeopardize businesses and jobs in the energy-intensive manufacturing industry.
What does this mean? Well, well, it means that we will see no real action to halt global warming and what was billed as a worldwide effort to control the problem will fizzle out.
Now climate talks have been around for a long time.
The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement that was devised in 1997. It actually was signed in December of 1997 by President Bill Clinton, the Italian prime minister, a few United Nations representatives and a few presidents and prime ministers.
Its intent was to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by binding international agreements between countries in order to reduce the warming that has been occurring due to the increasing levels of greenhouse gases.
Its intent did not work. Twenty-three countries did not ratify it or accept it in anyway.
The United States did not ratify it and the rest of the developed countries that were committed to the protocol did not take advantage of it.
The final death of the Kyoto Protocol was celebrated on December 18, 2001, by President George W. Bush, the Russian president, the German chancellor, the French president, the British prime minister, and the European leaders of Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, and Austria.
The deadlock on greenhouse gas reductions resulted in the United States signing in 2008 the U.N. Climate Change Convention. That means that the United States would have signed, but not ratified, that agreement.
It also meant that the United States might have given serious consideration to a $15 to $40 billion per year cut in its own greenhouse gas emissions, and that it might have abided by the restrictions that China and India have required of them.
It was the vote of President George W. Bush in favor of the Kyoto Protocol that caused the United States, and its businesses, to turn against the negotiating process.
That vote of the Bush administration was seen, by most of the countries participating in the negotiations, as one of the main reasons why the Kyoto Protocol never took effect and the United States left.
So, on the weekend of the conference in Germany, the United States turned its back on the Kyoto Protocol.
The world will not experience a major reduction in greenhouse gases unless the United States, China, India, Japan, and most of the rest of the developing countries for that matter also agree to any reductions in greenhouse gases.
The world certainly will not experience reduction in global warming unless the United States, China, India, Japan, and most of the rest of the developing countries also agree to any reductions in greenhouse gases.
This situation is not good for America or the world. It is not good for the world.
Dr. Thomas N. Coryell is a non-resident senior