I was unable to attend the recent climate lecture at Battle Mountain H.S., but I did read Nate Peterson’s (the Vail Daily’s editor) article on Friday when he reported on the event, and was struck by the lack of specificity regarding the topic. Not on Nate’s part, but rather I’m referring to the lack of pragmatic solutions on the part of Dr. Robert Davies, the climate expert who gave the lecture.
Judging from Nate’s comments, I would have hoped for something a bit pithier from this expert. But according to the article, Dr. Davies treated his audience to the usual bromides we’ve come to expect from these “experts,” i.e., “…we’re going to have to figure this out,” “Framing the problem has to be on a global scale,” and “When you don’t know where the edge is, you want to stop before you get there if the consequences are big.” Davies would have made Greta Thunberg proud.
But those who are serious about climate change know the Paris Climate Agreement is failing to reach its objectives, and the recently concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid (COP 25) ended with little concrete achievement. In fact, the most significant result of the conference was another watered-down communiqué reiterating the “urgent need” to reduce greenhouse gases. So vis-à-vis Dr. Davies’ lecture and the abysmal results of COP 25, what’s really going on?
Let’s start at the beginning. In 2015 the UN designed a protocol allowing the signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement to determine their own climate remediation goals and then promise to adhere to them. But without specific criteria regarding who, what, when and how, coupled with the lack of enforcement mechanisms, the Paris Climate Agreement has functioned as little more than a glorified, albeit noble honor system. And while honor systems may work for church potluck dinners and community food drives, they’re hardly effective funding mechanisms for new climate protocols costing billions.
Meanwhile, a question the climate activists either cannot or will not answer is, if we have only 8 to 10 more years until climate catastrophe, why didn’t the participants of COP 25, i.e., the signatories to the Paris Agreement act with a greater sense of urgency? I mean, we’re told this is about planetary survival right?
As the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words,” and the results of COP 25 clearly demonstrate that most world leaders pay little more than lip service to climate change, which shouldn’t be surprising considering the price tag of some proposed climate policies. While talk of saving the planet is noble, the reality is that expecting presidents and prime ministers to tell their populations the bulk of their nations’ annual budgets will be used to fight climate change goes beyond Pollyannaish.
Part of the problem is that climate activists have largely failed to recognize this is first an economic matter, and the most important factor in any economic equation is human nature. Considering that greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase since the Paris Agreement was signed three years ago, I think it’s safe to say the designers of the agreement should have first looked to create a series of benchmark incentives within the agreement’s protocols instead of simply proclaiming certain goals. As the saying goes, consequences matter more than intentions.
But perhaps the most avoidable reason for the failure of the Paris Agreement to meet its objectives is the historical unwillingness of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to entertain dissenting opinions about its causes along with its continued complicity in manipulating data that has made honest and reasoned discussion virtually impossible. With overstatement, distortion and predictions of doom that seem to change every month, the alarm begins to sound a lot like the little boy who cried wolf. And while only the participants know for certain, perhaps the real cause for the failure of COP 25 was the lack of factual, honest and realistic projections.
Three things about this matter should be absolutely clear. First, while well intentioned, the Paris Climate Agreement’s protocols were ill designed and included neither positive incentives nor intermediate benchmarks. Secondly, human nature being what it is, world leaders will always place economic concerns ahead of climate concerns, and lastly, the IPCC may have irreparably damaged its own cause by continuing to manipulate data to fit its agenda.
Space limits me from addressing this further, but for those genuinely interested, there’s an absolutely outstanding You Tube video recorded at the Cambridge Union that offers a very practical perspective on the matter. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBbvehbomrY&feature=youtu.be.)
Quote of the day: “Women spend more time wondering what men are thinking than men spend thinking.”—Unknown