The U.N. Climate Conference has left behind a terrible stench. But it doesn’t come from the 400 jets that flew world leaders to that exercise in retributive multilateral egalitarianism last weekend. Carbon dioxide is an odorless gas, so even though do-gooding pols pumped thousands of tons of it into the atmosphere, the rank smell they left in their wake is not a physical one perceived by the olfactory senses.
The miasma rising into the sunny winter skies over Egypt’s luxe resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, and which is now spreading around the globe, is the noisome odor of willful unseriousness, humbug, and hypocrisy.
The conference decided that the world’s successful nations should pay hundreds of billions of dollars, maybe trillions, to unsuccessful ones to compensate for supposed harm done to them by industrialization. A portion of the outrage is that China, the world’s biggest polluter and second-largest economy, may be allowed to wriggle out of making payments because it is “developing” — aren’t we all? — and might even get some of the loot.
Even that is not the worst of it. What is most grating is the disingenuousness that made the deal possible and which is the lubricant of most such multilateral agreements, especially those purporting to deal with the nonemergency of climate change.
Prompted by their own pink ideology and thrilled by the lash of Greta Thunberg, our “leaders” adopt a posture of penitent readiness to be punished. They foster the sense of their own culpability because it nurtures the idea that industrial development is wrong and the enterprise of free people that is indispensable to it is deeply suspect. It is a deliberate if implicit repudiation of our proud and brilliant past allied to the broad leftist effort to denigrate Western, wealth, prowess, and unparalleled success.
The spectacle of rich nations negotiating with poorer ones over how much the former will give to the latter is like watching Washington politicians discussing white-collar union demands for better pay and conditions for civil servants. All the people involved in the talks are on the same side, the one that wants higher public spending. Taxpayers who provide the money are not, in truth, represented at the table at all.
R&I ~ MJM