This article originally appeared in the National Journal’s Cancun Insider.
Cancun, Mexico–At last year’s COP-15 meeting in Copenhagen delegates were greeted with snow and frigid temperatures. This year Europe is already in the grip of an early freeze that closed London, Gatwick. The UN did well in choosing the more inviting Cancun as a venue to discuss global warming. This year’s conference is basking in temperatures already reaching 80 degrees on its third day. The sunshine that usually marks this beautiful resort getaway has been missing during the first few days of the conference. Perhaps symbolically, looming storm clouds and occasional rain have created a glum and sober setting. Of course we know that today’s weather does not predict the climate, but we can’t resist, having seen too many hot summer days proclaimed in the media as proof of warming.
Things have likewise not been very bright for proponents of a new climate treaty. A wide gulf persists between rich and poor nations which threatens to keep negotiations deadlocked.
At issue is how much money should be transferred from developed to developing nations to help them pay for new technologies purporting to reduce their carbon output. Figures ranging as high as $100 billion are bandied about, but most industrialized countries are more reluctant to throw that kind of cash around in the face of a persistent global economic recession. Japan indicated early in the conference that they are not on board for another Kyoto-like agreement when the present one expires in 2012. Their new stance sparked outrage from the rabidly-green Climate Action Network, which handed Japan its notorious “Fossil of the Day” award at the NGO center on day two.
There is little discussion in Cancun of the scientific uncertainty which continues to pummel the very foundations of the global warming theory. We’re not surprised. Former NASA scientist and climate expert Dr. Roy Spencer (now at the University of Alabama in Huntsville) will be arriving in a few days to challenge a host of IPCC and climate campaigner assertions about cloud feedback, computer modeling, natural variability and others. Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science advisor to Margaret Thatcher, will join Dr. Spencer in a press briefing next week and will highlight further inconsistencies in the received global warming wisdom. Both have large followings and carry media gravitas outside this conference, but it is uncertain how many open minds they will find within it.
On day three, CFACT staff members Josh Nadal and Ryan Sorba took time to chat with IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri. They challenged him, in an off-the-cuff manner, to see if he knew some rather basic information — whether rising carbon dioxide emissions over the past 15 years caused a corresponding increase in temperature during that time. There has been no such warming over the last 15 years according to IPCC researcher Phil Jones (of Climategate fame), but Pachauri doesn’t appear to recognize the fact. That’s the sort of thing we’d hope the man who heads the world’s purportedly leading climate change panel to know.