Boring – Go Surfing

UN Climate Change Conference, Bonn, Germany, June 2011 – An Update from Holger Thuss

 It doesn’t help that the view is awesome or that the food is great, and that you are surrounded by great historic monuments, if you attend a 2-week-mega-meeting, and nothing happens. That is just boring. And that is in fact what you see if you come to the conference hotel of the UNFCCC Climate Conference in Bonn these days: bored delegates, sipping coffee with a sour face, sleeping somewhere in the corner on one of these red silk sofas, or surfing in the Internet. Delegates are so busy looking at their computer screens, any uniformed visitor of the conference would think he witnesses some kind of game convention. And – I repeat myself – close to nothing has been achieved so far.

Today, at a meeting of the “Subsidiary Body for Implementation” – one of the many sub-groups of the UNFCCC – a lot of dissatisfaction has been expressed. Even the representative of the over-optimistic European Union expressed concerns. The EU expected a road-map or something similar to enable the upcoming COP/MOP – another big climate conference foreseen for Durban, South Africa, for December this year – to adopt another Kyoto-styled agreement. But she had to admit, that the one and only result of many and endless “informal meetings” since Monday was the adoption of the agenda. Yes, that’s correct. The only item adopted too far in four days is the agenda! Which is neither sustainable nor eco-efficient? Another concern, this time expressed by a delegate for the “G77 plus China” group from Argentina was funding. His wording was very diplomatic, but the bottom line was, richer countries should enable developing countries to send large delegations to UN-meetings. Because only this would secure their participation. And yes, including “Palestine”.

Another concern was how to secure the financial and technical means of governments of developing countries to participate even before the UN-meetings – which they can better prepare themselves. But that was not all: The delegate also emphasized the importance the “Special Climate Change Fund”, the “Adaptation Fund” and quite a few other “financial mechanisms” allegedly needed to stop climate from changing, and last but not least, of having even more climate conferences before the end of the year. In 2001, some of the “financial means” allocated to the UNFCCC were used to set up an Executive Board supervising CDM-projects (clean development mechanisms). The objective is industrialized countries financing projects in developing countries of which the UN believes they would help to prevent carbon emissions. In return, they get “emission reduction units” helping them to achieve their own carbon reduction goals. But how, one wonders, do they find out how much CO2 was saved? The magic word is “baseline scenario”. In other words, the prevented CO2 emissions are hypothetical emissions, based on the imagination of green NGOs. Nobody knows if a coal fired power plant was really prevented by a wind park, or if it was just an idea of a smart government to get some project money.

At a presentation of CDM projects the audience was informed of thousands of such CDM projects supervised by the UN in 71 countries that helped saving 620 mio tons of CO2 (which were not there before either, but which were in the making, somehow…). The only observer organization skeptical of the entire agenda of the UNFCCC present at the Bonn Climate Conference was once more CFACT. At a press conference hosted by CFACT on Wednesday in Bonn, German scientists Prof. Friedrich Karl Ewert and Dr. Horst Borchert presented their latest research on the true driving forces of climate change, the sun and solar radiation. This research was after all not based on computer models and “baseline scenarios”, but long term measurements and thorough evaluation of data. During the press conference as well the updated NIPCCC report compiled by Prof. Fred Singer (Univ of Virginia) was presented as well, confirming that human activities can’t be the reason for climate change and that there is no effect that can be traced to greenhouse gases, such as CO2. In other words, any of the 3000 or so delegates and of the journalists at the UN-meeting eventually had the chance to listen to serious science. Unfortunately, few did, while many others preferred to sip coffee in the lobby of the hotel or to surf around in the World Wide Web.

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About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.