Paris – There are two climate conferences going on in Paris this month. One, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP21) attended by about 40,000 people, and the other, The Paris Climate Challenge 2015, attended by about 40 people.
The big conference is conveniently situated next to Europe’s largest private jetport, all the better to bring in the thousands of dignitaries from around the world. How else could they attend without flying in fossil-fuel-powered aircraft? There is no discussion of science at this conference as the science is considered to be settled. Catastrophic human-caused global warming and climate change will be upon us unless we can keep temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. The only way to do that is a drastic reduction in fossil fuel consumption with a goal of terminating it altogether as soon as possible. This would eliminate 85 percent of civilization’s energy supply in a world where more that a billion people still have no electricity.
But there is little chance such a draconian policy will prevail. It has already been made clear by US President Obama, that despite his predictions of “abandoned cities and submerged countries” that any “agreement” reached at COP21 will have no legally binding status and will therefore be a very expensive piece of window dressing.
But then there is the small matter of $100 billion per year that was pledged by the developed countries to the developing countries at the Copenhagen COP15 meeting in 2009. That is the real negotiating point in Paris, nothing to do with the science of global climate and everything to do with the transfer of wealth. There are a number of factions within the conference membership that are vying for these spoils.
There is the African Union (54 countries), headed by Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who has accused the West of being “miserly” towards the country he has systematically driven into economic despair. Then there is the Alliance of Small Island States (44 countries), led by the Maldives strongman Abdulla Yameen Gayoom, who overthrew the country’s democratically elected government in an armed coup in 2012. The country has since earned a record as one of the most corrupt on the planet.
And the big guns of the developing world, the Group of 77, which actually includes 130 countries including China and India, insists they should not be required to commit one cent to the $100 billion prize for signing a non-binding agreement that might make it appear as though something meaningful has been accomplished.
Meanwhile the Paris Climate Challenge meeting, in a small conference room near the Trinité–d’Estienne d’Orves Metro station in Paris, is focused almost entirely on the science of climate, with a couple of contributions by political pundits critical of current climate policy. These are an eclectic collection of experts who have spent the better part of their lives steeped in the study of all aspects of climate change; so-called “ocean acidification”, sea-level rise, extreme weather events, the long-term history of climate (millions of years), solar and other natural influences on climate, and the fact that the science is not settled and the debate is not over.
Among the observations reported by this small band of independent thinkers are:
- There is no observational evidence that carbon dioxide is driving the slight warming that has occurred over the past 300 years since the peak of the Little Ice Age around 1700. Our emissions of CO2 were not significant until about 1950 so it is not possible that we caused the end of the Little Ice Age and the 250 years of warming that took place prior to the last 65 years.
- There has been no significant warming of the Earth’s climate for nearly 20 years even though about one-third of all human-caused CO2 emissions have gone into the atmosphere since 1996. This is referred to as the “pause” in warming. The advocates of catastrophic warming did not predict this pause and it increasingly makes their opinion less credible.
- The contention that the oceans will become acidic and cause the extinction of the coral reefs and all other shellfish is a complete fabrication; apparently invented to cover the fact that warming of the atmosphere had stalled.
- There has been no appreciable sea-level rise in recent decades. Arbitrary “corrections” have been made to the satellite data to make it appear as though the sea is rising. It is true that in some northern regions the land is subsiding, giving the impression of a rise in sea level.
- The sun is the main driver of global climate. There is a much better fit between solar activity and climate than there is between CO2 and climate. This will be borne out if the climate becomes cooler as the sun goes into a period of minimum activity during the next 20 years.
- There has been no increase in extreme weather events including hurricanes, tornados, floods, droughts, heat waves, or cold snaps in recent years. Even the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agrees with this despite the hyperbole of climate alarmists.
Anthropologist Margaret Meade pointed out that, “a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Given the choice, which of the two climate meetings would you have attended?
A co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore is now Chair for Ecology, Energy, and Prosperity with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy