After a marathon after-hours session, the UN climate summit has reached consensus. Details are beginning to emerge.

“Consensus,” there’s that word again — one of the most abused terms in the global-warming lexicon.

Russia blocked the last UNFCCC subsidiary meeting in Bonn over the UN’s using consensus decision making in place of actual voting. Although Russia sent a strongly worded letter to the Secretariat in October, things have been moving along on uncounted voice votes and rulings of the chair as a matter of course. It will be interesting to see what Russia received this time around in exchange for not pressing its objections. Could it have been billions in carbon credits?

The public face of the climate talks in Warsaw was drama, conflict, and greed.

Yeb Sano of the Philippines kicked off the drama by announcing a hunger strike over the tragic Haiyan/Yolanda typhoon. Although the storm was a natural disaster, and not the result of global warming, the typhoon remained the rallying cry for global-warming redistribution for the remainder of the conference.

(In case you were wondering, yesterday Sano announced that he is eating again and will work his way up from vegetable soup to full meals within three days.)

China kicked off the conflict by leading a walkout of 132 poor nations, after developing nations balked at immediately adopting and funding a “loss and damage” mechanism which would essentially accept legal liability and compensate poor nations for natural disasters.

Warming-left pressure groups staged a walkout of their own. As many as 800 representatives of radical NGOs walked out, demanding immediate funding for global-warming redistribution and in protest of business representatives exercising the same rights of participation that they enjoy.

David Rothbard addressing warsaw climate rally

CFACT President David Rothbard rallies over 50,000 Poles against the UN global warming treaty

COP 19’s Polish hosts were the focus of considerable drama throughout the summit. CFACT rallied over 50,000 Poles against a global-warming treaty on Polish Independence Day. Poland ran a coal summit in parallel with the warming summit and fired the president of the COP with only two days left to go.

While all this was going on, however, the bureaucrats kept working behind the scenes to keep things moving towards the goal they’ve set — signing a full global warming treaty in Paris in 2015 — a treaty which for the first time includes the United States.

Just as the conference was collapsing, the Obama administration came to the rescue and committed the United States to the treaty timetable and agreed to have American emissions-reduction targets in place in time for Paris. This brought the parties back to the table and permitted the bureaucrats to cobble together a consensus.

The details are just emerging, but it appears that developing nations and the warming pressure groups got their loss-and-damage mechanism. They are still complaining that they would have preferred immediate funding and less wiggle room in the language – but consider the concession they’ve been given. By acknowledging loss and damage as legitimate, the developed world has abandoned science, accepted a present-day link between global warming and natural disasters that no data shows, and exposed their taxpayers to potentially unlimited future liability.

The UN has also reached consensus on a framework and funding for its REDD program, a dream come true for would-be carbon profiteers seeking to make fortunes the way Al Gore did. The REDD program enables developers to rack up huge profits from the sale of carbon offsets for forestry programs in poor countries. Almost all the financial gain is exported to investors, while the pain remains with the poor. The age of eco-imperialism is upon us.

With all nations back at the table, the global-warming elite were able to announce progress on their main goal: advancing towards a Paris treaty in 2015 under which both the U.S. and developing nations agree to limit their CO2 emissions.  The U.S. did not join the first global-warming treaty which was signed in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. The “Kyoto Protocol” gave the developing world a pass.

This consensus was reached only after the word “contributions” was exchanged for “commitment” to provide the weasel word that would permit Brazil, India, China, and other developing nations to expect that the U.S. and other industrialized nations will suicidally contract their own economies while the BRICs continue to expand.

The outcome of the Warsaw climate summit is too tepid to satisfy the radical enviro-left. Their complaints will be shrill and many.

Realists who disagree with the UN’s take on global-warming science and policy will take comfort from the outcome’s lack of firm commitments, weasel words, and delays. If they let down their guard, they will demonstrate the true meaning of global-warming denial.

While the UN’s global-warming mandarins and profiteers may have liked more, they jet out of Warsaw still in control of the game. They leave Poland with the U.S. finally inside the global-warming tent, no nettlesome procedural reforms, and their road to a Paris global-warming treaty difficult but still in sight. They will immediately resume their endless series of backroom deals at quiet subsidiary meetings. Bureaucracy may be inefficient, but it is persistent. When UN global-warming bureaucrats are persistent, you pay.

COP 19 Polish national stadium


  • Craig Rucker

    Craig Rucker is a co-founder of CFACT and currently serves as its president.