Many who follow CFACT’s participation in the UN climate talks will recall that Russia blocked a crucial negotiating track at the UN’s subsidiary climate talks held in Bonn in June. The Russian move caused the most important part of the talks to collapse. No real business could be conducted. Read Climate talks Collapse!
In the topsy-turvy world of UN climate politics, Russia, joined by Ukraine, Belarus and other nations of the former Soviet Union have become the champions of democratic process.
On October 28th, Russia sent a strongly worded letter [Read it here] to the UNFCCC secretariat decrying the UN’s use of “consensus” rather than permitting nations to vote on matters as important as conference outcomes. “Decision-making in the UNFCCC process has suffered evident setbacks over the past few years with serious procedural and legal flaws being multiplied, transparency eroding, frequency of dubious proceedings acquiring alarming magnitude and conduct of business deviating” from UNFCCC rules, Russia said.
“Consensus” has become perhaps the most abused word in the global warming dictionary. Many are familiar with the oft-repeated propaganda talking point claiming some huge number (97% being the latest) of scientists as being on board with extreme global warming views. The global warming consensus talking point has long been debunked, yet keeps cropping up. We even heard it recently from the lips of the President of the United States.
The “consensus” the Russians are talking about is still worse. Top officials at the climate talks, finding due process and democracy to be tiresome wastes of time, have dispensed with formal voting and resorted to gaveling through back-room agreements even on final conference outcomes.
As COP 18 in Doha drew to a close, the presiding officer gaveled down the Russian delegation which was furiously seeking to be recognized. Representatives of other countries including India, Venezuela, Bolivia report being denied recognition, threatened or coerced at prior conferences.
E.U. Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard was not sympathetic to Russia’s case saying, “It would be irresponsible and reckless if we let the Warsaw COP get drowned in procedural issues. What we need to discuss is real action and real commitments. The rest – it’s not that it’s uninteresting but it should not be at the centre stage.” Commissioner Hedegaard appears ready to cede the sovereignty of nations and vast sums of money to the UN in the name of global warming with little regard for process and without voting.
Russia’s objections though noble in principle are actually motivated by national interest. As CFACT reported from Bonn, Russia is concerned with the “hot air” issue. Russia was not at all pleased when the UN COP pulled the plug in Doha on all the emissions credits Russia had acquired under the first Kyoto treaty and told Russia it couldn’t carry them forward. Russia, which has announced that it will not be part of a second commitment period for the Kyoto protocol and has signaled a reluctance to sign on in Paris, wants to keep its credits anyway. Russia would like to sell its old credits to the countries which do sign aboard and would be paid effectively for nothing but hot air.
Moreover, Russia accrued the carbon credits it is so set on retaining as a reward for its economy lagging behind the west’s during Russia’s long period of communism and it’s painful transition to the present. As CFACT observed in Bonn, the notion that Russia deserves compensation for inflicting communism on Eastern Europe is bizarre at best. If anything, Russia should be compensating Poland, the rest of the Warsaw block and a host of developing nations which had their prosperity stymied by communism for generations.
As COP 19 opens tomorrow morning, we will learn more about whether Russia was able to gain sufficient concessions in closed negotiations before the conference to placate it. Will Russia drop or table its objections? Russia was willing to shut down a subsidiary meeting in Bonn. Is Russia willing to do the same to a full-blown UN conference of the parties?
If Russia drops its objections, could the Warsaw outcome and ultimately the UN’s long sought climate treaty of Paris be adopted with world nations never being given the opportunity of actually voting?