Hopenhagen Goes Bust – by Rich Trzupek

Rich Trzupek is a veteran environmental consultant and senior advisor to the Heartland Institute. He is the author of the new book Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA is Ruining American Industry (Encounter Books).


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Despite President Obama’s desperate last-minute attempts to transform the UN’s climate change conference into “Hopenhagen,” even this administration’s talented pool of spin-doctors will find it difficult to convince global warming alarmists that the two-week event was anything other than what is now being called: an “abject failure.” Happily, any result that distresses the alarmists comes as a huge relief to anyone who values liberty and free markets.

While Denmark is also the home to the World Santa Claus Congress, which meets every year just outside of Copenhagen, the climate change conference offered up its own version of a Christmas gift: a promise of $30 billion in goodies to various third-world countries. It’s a sad commentary on world affairs when the redistribution of $30 billion in wealth from industrialized nations to tin-pot dictators can be called a “victory,” but in an age of government bailouts and $787 billion stimulus packages, the latest climate accord is an absolute bargain.

From start to finish, Copenhagen was an exercise in absurdity. There was Hugo Chavez denouncing the West for burning the oil upon which his repressive regime rests. There was Al Gore, probably morose because he was not called upon to rush overseas and save the planet, reciting something vaguely resembling poetry. And, at the end of the day, there was U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declaring that the final agreement “will have an immediate operational effect.”

In truth, the biggest effect that the Copenhagen conference will have on the environment resulted from operation of the hundreds of jets and limos required to shuttle diplomats to and fro over the course of two weeks in snowy Scandinavia. But as far as lowering global emissions of greenhouse gases goes, the final agreement could have been composed in four words: “wait until next year.”

That’s bad news for the first President in American history to make reversing the rise of oceanic tides into a campaign promise. The far-Left broke out posters of Obama with the legend “Climate Shame” emblazoned upon them by the end of the conference. That catch phrase will eventually turn into “Climate Blame” when the President realizes that he is not going to get greenhouse gas reductions through either legislation or regulation.

The Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill was a long shot, at best, in the Senate after it passed the House. In the wake of Climategate and Copenhagen, it’s effectively dead. Forty four Democrats voted against Waxman-Markey in the House. Most of these votes came from coal states, like Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania. There was overwhelming support for the bill from populous east and west coast states, enough to overcome opposition from Middle America and the south, but that formula won’t work in the Senate.

No doubt there will be half-hearted attempts to craft some sort of compromise, but the demands of climate change zealots don’t lend themselves to nuance. Either you cut the hamstrings of the American power industry and wreck the economy or you don’t. Voting for the former course of action does not read well on a politician’s resume. Now that Copenhagen has confirmed that China isn’t going to commit to any substantive action to lower their emissions, the Senate has all the excuse it needs to let Waxman-Markey fade into oblivion.

That leaves regulation through the Clean Air Act, the club that the President and USEPA Administrator Lisa Jackson have attempted to wield in order to bully the Senate into action on cap and trade. The problem here is that, in reality, developing greenhouse gas regulations is the last thing that Jackson wants to do. She and her staff – and probably the president himself – know that writing such rules will be a bureaucratic nightmare.

Still, they may try. The Supreme Court says they have to. So Jackson will kick the ponderous, tedious, seemingly endless rule-making process of the Clean Air Act into gear. Hearings will be held. Studies will begin. Comments will be filed, along with the endless paperwork that the bureaucratic process demands.

There is a certain delicious irony in all of this. The rulemaking process under the Clean Air Act is so ponderous, tedious and seemingly-endless because environmental groups have demanded that it be so. Their demands for full public participation, rights of appeal and complete accountability created this monstrously unwieldy mechanism, which will now make the quick action that Al Gore demands impossible.

The alarmists have been dealt a severe blow, and they know it. This comment from Kim Cobb, a global-warming proponent and Assistant Professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, belies the prevailing gloom among the alarmist crowd:

“Since the widespread distribution of stolen e-mails originating from the University of East Anglia, I have become increasingly distressed by the way that the internet and media machinery has digested their content. As a climate scientist, I have always been sensitive to the direction the wind is blowing on climate change, and it has become increasingly clear to me that more scientists need to add their voices to the debate.”

Read “add their voices” as “shout down anyone who disagrees with us” and you see the prevailing tactic of the alarmist crowd. In the wake of this latest non-action, we will see them become even more shrill. In so far as Copenhagen has proved a disappointment to the more extreme elements of the global environmental movement, however, the underwhelming conference can indeed be called a victory.

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  • dougetit

    You are correct… once you start hitting AGW crowd with FACTS, they resort to fits of “don't you know anything?” followed by the usual name calling. Some sites are blocking any anti AGW comments from posting. One even change the text of my post to a PRO AGW position. I've been on Climategate hard since the very start and have noticed the past couple days they are getting desperate. It is heartening to see that some seem to be awakening. Others are a lost cause at this point, others are realizing the've been had and give up once they realize they can't support thier claims, i.e. CRU has taken down thier datasets so they have no source to refference thier facts. They're melting away……

  • crassboersting

    Well stated, Mr. Trzupek. As a Danish taxpayer, I regret that this meeting was ever held (costing us in vicinity of $ 200 million). The only good things to say about it will be 1) that the invited criminals, Robert Mugabe & al., have left us again, and 2) that Copenhagen was not smashed by the international leftwing demonstrators descending upon us. God gave us an early winter this year, below-zero temperatures (Celsius scale) and quite a lot of snow.

    Thank God, everybody.

  • bushlikesdick12

    I doesn't appear to be a bust to me.

  • ApolloSpeaks

    FROM CLIMATEGATE TO COPENHAGEN: THE END OF THE GLOBAL WARMING MOVEMENT

    Man made global warming, the Left's new age principle of global unity, died in Copenhagen last week as the reality of clashing national interests relentlessly asserted itself. The international movement based on this principle was doomed from the start because (like Communism and Socialism) it is an infantile flight from reality into a utopian dream world based on false science, hysterical fears and audacious hopes for a new world order……..

    Google ApolloSpeaks (one word) to read the rest of this piece..

  • kbond

    Next up on the podium…heyfellas, WHERE IS AL GORE NOW?

    What a disgusting show of rhetoric and lies. Booobs on parade, every last one of them….

  • jdelaney3

    The failure of the cesspool of climate change activists and opportunists in Denmark was foreordained. It's called self-interest, and there's nothing wrong with that. That's what makes the world go round. In any event, the failure is cause for justifiable jubilation. One for the gipper. But, it's not over yet. With the blessings of SCOTUS, EPA can still do much to unilaterally damage our economy,and since the Progressives run the show I doubt Congress can stop the EPA tyranny until after the Nov 2010 elections. The good guys and the country are on life support until then. Hope the country can survive the delay.

  • USMCSniper

    Look out, our speak harshly but carry a small, or no stick prez was angry and on display in Copenhagen as Obama chalked up another allegedly rousing, world-changing speech that wasn't. Note, that is precisely how the WH allowed his appearance to be billed. I posted that he was only inviting failure back on Dec 4. Sure enough, China played Lucy to his Charlie Brown and moved the ball, causing Obama to land on his backside, empty-handed after a tactic that could become the defining theme of his term.

    What's Obambi going to do? Hold his breath, or just talk until he turns blue if he doesn't get his way? Maybe he'll threaten to give even more dramatic speeches that add up to the same old thing if they don't listen to him? He has the Chinese so afraid, they actually boycotted the meeting beforehand. You can bet that it was not out of weakness in their case.

  • anencephalic

    The fact that it is a global problem that needs a global solution is their intent. No matter the outcome, the U.N. is winning the battle.

  • wthiglic

    It's not “I doesn't” It's “It doesn't”. Did they teach you English grammer in public school. Remember that “likesdick12

  • USMCSniper

    That was a Freudian slip, by our intellectually challenged poster lickadick12. Although he likes to think he is a bust, he is acyyally to stupid to even suspect he is a bust!

  • http://vampon.blogspot.com/ GJTryon

    Instead of a treaty between nations, how about the Denmark deadwood drawing up a treaty between the scientists and us? We herewith and hereby and hereunto declare…
    Funding will continue only under the proviso that researchers observe internationally accepted boundaries between fact and fiction. Science by fiat will be outlawed and all incursions into the political domain will be regarded as acts of axiological aggression against educated people worldwide. Data must no longer be held hostage to theory. Brainwashing of journalists will be interdicted and current victims in the mainstream media will be be allowed to undergo dedoctrination. Critics will be treated in accordance with traditional canons of healthy skepticism. All CRU members must be tried as warm criminals and upon conviction serve a minumum two semesters sentence of Remedial Science 101 atop the nearest polar ice cap.

  • http://vampon.blogspot.com/ GJTryon

    Instead of a treaty between nations, how about the Denmark deadwood drawing up a treaty between the scientists and us? We herewith and hereby and hereunto declare…
    Funding will continue only under the proviso that researchers observe internationally accepted boundaries between fact and fiction. Science by fiat will be outlawed and all incursions into the political domain will be regarded as acts of axiological aggression against educated people worldwide. Data must no longer be held hostage to theory. Brainwashing of journalists will be interdicted and current victims in the mainstream media will be be allowed to undergo dedoctrination. Critics will be treated in accordance with traditional canons of healthy skepticism. All CRU members must be tried as warm criminals and upon conviction serve a minumum two semesters sentence of Remedial Science 101 atop the nearest polar ice cap.

  • Micko

    It seems to me that the Copenhagen conference was a resounding success. They set out to put an end to global warming, and the day after the conference finished most of the developed world had the heaviest snowfalls in 30 or 40 years, with numerous people dying of the cold. And that is in spite of all the hot air and greenhouse gasses produced by the conference itself and its auxiliary activities.

  • akreynin

    Can anyone believe this? It's snowing heavily on the East Coast and those morons at Copenhagen are talking about global warming! More like global freezing!

  • wingsnut95

    The Global Warming “emergency” is no such thing. It is only a ploy to get developed countries (i.e. the United States) to fork over billions of dollars to “underdeveloped” coutries as reparartions or past “environmental crimes”. Basically, its a power and money grab. Plain and simple.

  • bushlikesdick12

    Besides the fact chicken shit people spell check only, it is primarily an Ad Homien fallacy on your part.

    To simplify it for you and Snifer, you don't have an argument for such a simple statement and therefore you make a pathetic excuse for my sticky keyboard of an error.

    Maybe you can lick my “t” key clean for me so it won't stick any more. George W. would.

  • bushlikesdick12

    Challenged Poster?
    L.O.L.

    Still emotionally bruised over my dear john letter?

    btw — I never play spell checker but acyyally” doesn't mean anything. That spelling error is far worse than mine.”— but I know what you meant and that is ok because everyone is allowed to make a mistake.

    Even a basic training vet like you can”äctually“ shoot his drill sergeant in the butt and still get a ride back home to Kansas.

  • bushlikesdick12

    BTW —

    re: ”Did the teach you English grammar in publis school“

    That doesn't make sense: Maybe you forget to put a question mark or maybe you are just retarded and not quite sure why your mouth is moving.

    Also, it is grammar not grammer!!

    What does wthiglic mean?

    Let me guess:

    -W- hy -THI- nk when -G- eorge can -LIC- k ?

    WOW!! I just broke an encryption of an Republican drone!! cool!!

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  • cleppera

    The evidence seems clear that global warming is occuring. How else does one explain the satellite and direct observational records over the last ten years that document the shrinkage of the polar ice caps? Let us stop arguing that the evidence of global warming is lacking and concentrate on the real issue, which is whether or not CO2 emmissions have significantly contributed to it.

  • rollins

    Problem:we've promised 100 billoin a year to the third world.
    So Cophenhagen was a success from the third world's point of view (Mugabe, Sudan, Chavez)

  • Steven Brady

    Ad Homien?

    However, your original post was “I(t) doesn't appear to be a bust to me.” Would you care to elaborate?

  • allahwins

    Any place that allows Chavez, I'madingbatjob and Mugawbe to speak is a place I don't want to associated with. The U.N., The Climate Hoaxsters and all the rest of the America-bashers, including our President (ugh), are so far off the map you couldn't find them with the best GPS. These loons can't even run their own countries and they're going to run the environment? Please.

  • Steven Brady

    There's evidence, this is true, if you're willing to look at it:

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/ICE092009vs07.JPG

    And have you ever heard of Climategate?

  • johncarens

    Alright, we know that totalitarian control of the unwashed Hoi polloi is the end-game for the jet-setting eco-Marxist warm-mongers. Ho hum. Old headline. Nothing new here, folks.

    For those of us, though, that actually like, respect and love other human beings, we need to get our ducks in a row for the inevitability of when reasonable, conservative, liberty-loving Americans take back the reigns of power again in Washington. We must create and have in place as thoroughgoing an “action agenda” for preserving freedom as those who seek to impose this transnational tyranny on us already possess. For starters we need to:

    1) Create veto-proof majorities of conservative activists in Congress. Don't settle for RINO's. This will be six years of work, but we need to start now. (Once this is done, we can fix much of what has already lead to the farce of Dopenhagen.) Once we have these majorities, we need to be like Sherman on the march to sea, and take no prisoners to achieve our goals, which would then include…

    2) Remove by law the standing in court that environmental advocacy groups like the Sierra Club, Riverkeeper and the Environmental Defense Fund enjoy. Also by law, end class-action environmental lawsuits, and restore “local nuisance” statutes. Completely de-fund these types of environmental groups, and choke off their sources of federal funding, as well as their tax-exempt non-partisan status.

    3) Require that all agreements, be they treaties or treaties by any other name, with other nations or transnational organizations, be subject to advise and consent of the senate, and require that all such agreements be subject to a three-year comment period.

    4) Eliminate the EPA, and all of its statutory authority, and redound its powers as they may be to the states.

    5) Create two new federal court districts, and elevate only conservative jurists to their judgeships.

    6) Add two judgeships to the United States Supreme Court, and elevate only conservative jurists to these positions, as well. Remember, the number of judges on the Supreme Court is not set in the Constitution.

    7) Change the rules of the Supreme Court so that any of their rulings can be vetoed by a two-thirds majority in the senate.

    8) Amend the constitution so that members of the Supreme Court are subject to 12-year terms, rather than lifetime appointments.

    And, finally, remember: The Democrat Party up-ended the rules of the game this week. Their actions this week amounted to a statist coup de etat. The GOP and conservatives in particular must employ the same guerrilla tactics to fix this country that the liberal neo-Marxists have used to destroy it. The old rules no longer apply.

    If we remember this, Copenhagens of the future need not be feared. In fact, if the rest of the world knows that you don't mess with America's sovereignty, these international lead-balloons won't even be launched.

  • jason_gray

    everyone at Copenhagen and involved in the AWG myth/fraud has a dog in the race. in other words, everyone is saying what they are saying in order to ensure the funds keep coming in to their fiefdoms.