by Jacob Arfwedson
One of the less endearing features of government supporters is their general disdain for democracy when eventually popular vote goes against their designs. The legitimacy of consent suddenly becomes irrelevant and a downright nuisance. In Europe, we experienced this in the constitutional negotiations: first with the Maastricht Treaty, and more recently with the Lisbon Treaty: referenda were held twice in Denmark (1992) and not so long ago in Ireland. Voters finally got it “right”.
The same logic applies to Kyoto and in particular to the upcoming Copenhagen summit and the expected new treaty, i.e. a “deal”. It is then not surprising that advocates seem appalled that the US Constitution requires a vote by Congress to ratify it.
Considering that parts of the environmental lobby aim at gaining control of the energy supply in developed countries (with little or no concern for the developing world), it should not be surprising that people in Africa and Asia expect to have their say. If you are not at the table, you are likely to end up on the menu.
Back to the fact-sheet: China is a far greater emitter of CO2 than most developed countries, yet no substantial demands have been presented in terms of Kyoto. Perhaps because of the logic of the treaty (extremely complex, with very uncertain mechanisms for implementation and enforcement). Supporters are likely to tinker, perhaps by finally granting exceptions to countries like China and India, thus exposing the double standard involved. It is likely that Copenhagen ends, like other jamborees, with a carefully worded communiqué, on progress and goodwill all around.
Maybe germane to Al Gore’s discrepancy in words and deeds: if he’s so concerned about rising sea levels, how come he owns a condo on the San Francisco waterfront? And maybe he’ll agree to the invite by our friends at the CEI to debate the issue: do subscribe today to pay for whatever private jet takes him there.