Representatives of Russia and other Eastern bloc countries at the recent climate talks in Bonn made it clear that they aren’t one bit happy about efforts within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of Parties (COP) to cap their free Soviet-era carbon credit trading Green stamps previously gifted to them under the Kyoto Protocol. The original deal was that signatory nations that reduced carbon emissions by targeted amounts under their 1990 levels would be able to sell credits based upon tonnage improvements to countries that produced more than their allocations, thereby meeting quotas. In other words, a market was created to sell lots of hot air…something that the UN excels at.
The idea, at least as presented by the FCCC, was to save our planet from dreaded CO2-induced global warming. Incidentally, we might have credited that plan for great success were it not for the fact that while global temperatures have been flat now for about 17 years, those atmospheric CO2 levels have continued to rise.
Yeah, But Russia Expected That All Along
Originally, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on December 2, 2003, that his country would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol because the rationale supporting it was “scientifically flawed.” He argued that even 100% compliance with the agreement wouldn’t reverse climate change.
The Russian Academy of Sciences presented scientific arguments against signing in a statement issued on July 1, 2005, noting that the world’s temperatures do not follow CO2 levels. Instead, they observed a much closer correlation between world temperatures and solar activity. The Academy also determined that sea levels were not rising faster with warming; rather, they had been increasing steadily about 6 inches per century since the Little Ice Age ended in about 1850.
In addition, the Academy discounted one of the most significant danger claims about global warming – that tropical diseases would spread – noting that malaria is a disease that is encouraged by sunlit pools of water where mosquitoes can breed, not by climate warmth. They also pointed out the lack of correlation between global warming and extreme weather, which a British government scientific delegation had admitted it could find no evidence to support.
What ultimately caused Putin and the Russian duma to change their position and ratify the Protocol? It is widely speculated that Europeans were instrumental in getting Russia admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and thus categorized it as a developing country rather than a developed one in applying the Protocol regulations. This meant that Russia received an opportunity to sell to European countries billions of dollars’ worth of Soviet-era emission credits associated with former dirty industries that had been casualties of economic meltdown. This would also help Europe meet Kyoto’s first-phase requirements without actually cutting emissions or energy use.
Europe’s 1990 CO2 emissions of 4,245 million tons fell to 4,123 tons in 2002 due to reductions in burning coal in both Britain and East Germany. Yet Kyoto Protocol requirements stipulated further European Union cutbacks to 3,906 million before 2012. A December 2003 UN report predicted that the EU would miss that reduction target by even more than that amount, namely, by dropping an additional 311 million tons. Since Russia’s 1990 emissions were 2,405 million tons, and had fallen by 2001 to 1,614 million tons, they could sell up to 800 million tons of credits to the Europeans at an “auction” price. This would be cheaper for Europe than shutting down fossil-fired power plants or removing trucks from its vital transportation infrastructure by means of escalating already high diesel fuel taxes.
But Not Such a Great Deal for the U.S.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it wasn’t in the cards for the UN to offer the U.S. any breaks comparable to those accorded to the Europeans and Russians. First, unlike Europe and former Soviet countries that were treated as separate emission-credit-trading entities, the U.S. was treated as a single nation (allowing no credit exchanging between states to meet quotas). Second, the U.S. emissions in 1990 were not inflated to high target allowance levels as was the case in Germany, Britain, and Russia, making compliance much more difficult to achieve.
In response to these inequities and other issues, our Senate passed (95-0) a rare unanimous bipartisan Byrd-Hagel U.S. Senate Resolution (S Res 98) that made it clear that the United States would not be signatory to any agreement that “would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.” Then-President Clinton, no stranger to political pragmatism, got the message and never submitted a necessary U.S. Kyoto Protocol approval request for congressional ratification.
Heated Climate Negotiations Put On Ice
Reuters reported on June 6 that UN talks aimed at progress towards a new 2015 climate pact agreement have now been stalled by objections from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine regarding procedural violations purposefully intended to eliminate their free carbon food stamp lunch. The UNFCCC now wants to renege on a deal they made with Russia to get them into Kyoto in the first place.
Now that European carbon markets have recently collapsed with the price of carbon (hot air) hitting record lows, they are concerned that allowing Russia, Ukraine, Poland and other former Soviet bloc nations to retain the huge stockpile of carbon credits they picked up under Kyoto would further flood and depress the market.
Ironically, those credits were originally granted as a reward to former Eastern bloc nations for the Communism which depressed their economic development prior to 1990, essentially compensating them for the economic destruction wreaked by their own Communist regimes. Poland, which will host COP 19 in November, has approximately 500 metric tons of carbon credits it plans to continue to sell to other nations including Japan, Ireland and Spain to offset its emissions from heavy coal use.
Russia has since announced that it will not be part of a second Kyoto commitment period under these conditions, saying that it is committed to keeping the credits and selling them to other countries regardless of a claimed COP “consensus” that would terminate them. Russia is still smarting over a snub during two-week-long UN Climate talks in Doha, Qatar, last year when, during the final minutes, Vice Prime Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiya ended the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP-18) before the Russian delegation which wished to be recognized could speak. While Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate chief, claimed that a consensus had been reached, Oleg Shamanov, the chief negotiator for Russia’s delegation, called that an “absolutely obvious violation of this procedure.” Shamanov added, “This is a systemic issue. Unless we put our house back in order, we may not be able to guarantee that in 2015 we end up with something productive.”
Capitalizing on Wealth Transfer from Capitalism
Carbon credit cap-and-trade marketing is but one UN climate alarm-based profiteering scheme aimed at global wealth redistribution. Another important agenda item for the UNFCCC’s 2015 Paris treaty to address is a planned “loss and damage” mechanism to seek compensation from “Tier 1” developed nations by a lawyered-up group of small island governments, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), premised upon global warming hazards caused by industrialization. AOSIS leaders, including Tuvalu, Kirabati, St. Lucia, and the Maldives, claim that man-made global warming is causing super-hurricanes and rising sea levels.
And who is most to blame? Coincidentally, of course, those legions of lawyers have identified culprits with the deepest pockets…the U.S., Western Europe and Japan. Although China is now the world’s largest CO2 emitter, they got a pass. Still to be determined, is the problem of how such penalties should be assessed. For example, if a Category 4 hurricane hits an island, how can anyone know which portion of that hurricane was caused by each nation? Also, how much of it was caused by those coal plants and SUVs, versus at Mother Nature’s sole discretion?
The idea of penalizing the West for trumped-up past and future climate crimes is certainly not new. Prior to COP-15 (2009-Copenhagen), several Latin American nations, the Philippines and the African Union claimed that Western countries owed developing countries trillions of dollars.
U.S. and European delegation representatives attending the Copenhagen Climate Conference initially agreed to provide their “fair share,” pledging $10 billion in compensation per year from 2010 to 2012, The offer was rejected as an insult, discussions were temporarily interrupted as representatives of several undeveloped countries walked out of the meetings, and angry riots broke out in the streets over the injustice of such paltry penance.
Then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told the audience where to lay the blame for the world’s social, economic and climate problems:
“If the climate was a bank, [the West] would already have saved it.”
“The destructive model of capitalism is eradicating life.”
“Our revolution seeks to help all people…Socialism is the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room; that’s the way to save the planet;. Capitalism is the road to hell…Let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.”
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then came to the rescue, offering to up the ante with a $100 billion annual contribution from the United States and our more prosperous friends to the “poorest and most vulnerable [nations] among us” by 2020. She said that the money would come from “a variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance.” Where it would actually come from no one knew, including Hillary and her boss. (Any guesses?)
Time to End the Climate of Insanity
It’s way past time to recognize that UNFCCC’s cap-and-trade, loss and damage compensation and other global wealth redistribution agendas have little or nothing to do with actually preventing a climate crisis, much less offering any benefits. Despite rising atmospheric CO2 levels, global temperatures have not only been flat for going on two decades, but are predicted by leading scientists to cool over many future years or decades to come.
Russia entered into the Kyoto Protocol realizing prior to that time that there was no convincing scientific climate-related basis for doing so. More recent determinations by researchers at their prestigious Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg project that the global average yearly temperature will soon begin to decline into a very cold and protracted climate phase.
Pulkovo Observatory head Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov, one of the world’s leading solar scientists, member of the Russian Academy of Science, and director of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, believes that the deep freeze will last until the end of this century. He predicts that: “after the maximum of solar Cycle-24, from approximately 2014, we can expect the start of the next bicentennial cycle of deep cooling with a Little Ice Age in 2055 plus or minus 11 years” (the 19th to occur in the past 7,500 years).
Dr. Abdussamatov points out that over the last 1,000 years deep cold periods have occurred five times. Each is correlated with declines in solar irradiance much like we are experiencing now with no human influence. “A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions. The common view of man’s industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect.”
Russian scientists Vladimir Bashkin and Raulf Galiullin from the Institute of Fundamental Problems of Biology of the Russian Academy of Science agree that climatic changes are characterized by natural cycles which have nothing to do with activities of man. As Bashkin observes: “A global warming that so many are talking about is not so much a scientific problem, rather it is much more a marketing trick…We do not have global warming ahead of us. Rather, we have global cooling.”
Yes, and that marketing trick is one that the UNFCCC, including the Russians, has learned to play very well.
A version of this article first appeared in Forbes Online.