U.N. prepares for urgent battle to extract $100 billion from U.S., developed countries
The U.S. and other developed nations are reconsidering their commitments to fight global warming before the upcoming 17th Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa.
The United Nations wants representatives of world governments and international organizations to advance its agenda to fight climate change at Durban 2011. But despite Barack Obama's full-fledged support for the green agenda early in his presidency, he has become increasingly hesitant to engage in some of the U.N.'s costly climate programs.
A major topic on the Durban agenda, Nov. 28 through Dec. 9, is the extension of the Kyoto Protocol. The agreement binds 37 developed nations to reduce greenhouse emissions from 1997 to 2012 through implementing regulations.
But doubts about global warming science, as well as the declining world economy, have contributed to many developed countries getting cold feet.
"Of the major players in the Kyoto Protocol, my sense is that the EU is the only one still considering signing up in some fashion to a second commitment period," said U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern while discussing Durban 2011 at a meeting on global warming in Mexico City. "Japan is clearly not, Russia is not, Canada is not and Australia appears unlikely."
Yet the organizers of the Durban Conference continue to promote global warming agreements, insisting man-made pollutants are causing an environmental apocalypse.
Despite questions raised about the science behind the theory of man-made global warming – questions intensified by reports of inflated temperature readings exposed during the Climategate scandal – organizers will still call for international adherence to prescribed green policies.
Obama and other leaders have not yet fully committed to pay the high price of going green into the future, and the host nation knows the stakes are high.
"It is clear that Durban is the end of the line for some of these pressing climate change issues, and we cannot delay it any longer," said South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the incoming president of Durban's 17th Climate Change Conference.
Nkoana-Mashabane's dire plea for action at a press conference in Stellenbauch, South Africa, signaled tough times for the green agenda. It followed pre-Durban talks amongst representatives of 42 nations.
As the conference approaches, the U.N. will assume a role in the global redistribution of wealth, expecting the United States to provide generous contributions. The U.N. is banding with global leaders to point the finger at whom and what to blame for climate change. Portrayed as the victims of global warming caused by industrialized nations, poorer countries are seeking significant gifts labeled as "reparations."
"The impact of climate change is already evident globally in the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, coastal erosion and flooding as a result of rising sea levels, increase of the occurrence of certain diseases, loss of biodiversity and economic impacts and an increase in the number of environmental refugees," South African President Jacob Zuma said before ministers at Tshwane, South Africa, in a pre-Durban meeting.
"Adapting to climate change is a key priority for many developing countries, particularly small island developing states, least developed countries and Africa," said Zuma. "Ministers, you will agree that finance remains an issue of critical importance, not only for a comprehensive climate deal, but also to place the global community on a path that will allow us to build resilient societies."
The greatest pressure for funds so far this year has been placed on the U.S. and China.
Last year, at the 16th Annual Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, negotiators from 194 nations agreed that billions would be disbursed to dozens of poorer nations every year. Since then, the Obama Administration has been reminded of its obligation to submit funds.
"In Cancun, a [Green Climate Fund] package that included a collective commitment by developed countries to provide new and additional Fast Start Financing through international institutions in the amount of 30 billion U.S. dollars between 2010 and 2012, as well as setting a goal of mobilizing jointly 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2020, was agreed," Zuma said.
Commitments to the Green Climate Fund are scheduled to be ironed out at Durban 2011.The goal is for $100 billion to be collected yearly by 2020. The U.S. is expected to be a major contributor.
But many nations are asking the U.S. and others to give more, sooner.
"The scientific evidence available to us says we have to act now," Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Malielegaoi urged at a news conference before last week's Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in Perth, Australia.
For Malielegaoi and leaders of developing nations, that action begins with Obama and the world's major leaders paying out astronomical sums.
The late October meeting of 48 developing and small island nations was organized Down Under to set the stage for Durban by equipping them with convincing arguments to solicit the anticipated funds.
Neither recent scandals in climate change science nor the signatures of more than 31,000 scientists rejecting climate change have deterred the U.N.'s marketing campaign, which repackaged its pleas for Durban. Instead of selling images of drowning polar bears, claiming that glaciers are rapidly melting, or highlighting the undocumented disappearance of low-lying tropical islands under rising sea levels, a different approach leads the rally for funds: Promoters insist that untold tens of billions of dollars must be collected yearly to pay off nations and implement environmental policies to keep global temperatures from rising four degrees over the next 10 years.
But disappearing islands haven't lost their appeal with those on board with the climate change agenda. They insist that developed nations' negligence to surrender billions will reduce island nations to sunken cities.
"If we fail to do so, we can kiss goodbye to some small island states," Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd warned at a pre-summit news conference to justify the need for the Green Climate Fund.
Global corporations are also on board with the U.N. and developing nations, as the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change garnered support through The 2⁰C Challenge Communiqué. It calls businesses to back the U.N.'s assertion that if $100 billion a year isn't collected by 2020 to assist developing nations, the Earth will heat up by two degrees Celsius (four degrees Fahrenheit) within a decade, destroying the lesser nations.
The communiqué was developed with 38 corporations, including Nestlē, Shell and Ricoh. So far, 278 companies have signed on, including Coca-Cola, eBay and Yahoo.
But despite the pressure from governments and corporations worldwide, the Obama administration is unlikely to buckle. Obama has shown a dwindling commitment to environmentalists due to climate change skepticism, the failing economy and criticism of the administration's deficit spending.
Not taking kindly to this change of heart, nations looking to capitalize on climate change claims are putting pressure on Obama and the world's fastest-growing economy, China.
"Two of the biggest countries … which are responsible for about 40 percent of emissions, do not seem to be forthcoming in their commitments," Malielegaoi stressed before the Australian summit.
The Samoan leader spoke up for undeveloped nations, urging that "the funds that have been mobilized need to be released speedily to the most disadvantaged and most affected countries … to ensure countries that have promised funds to own up, to provide help to countries."
The impact of presidential politics
With Obama's growing unpopularity just a year out from the next presidential election, the chances of the U.S. jumping on board to contribute to the Green Climate Fund are looking slim. The odds look even bleaker for the future, as most major GOP presidential candidates take a hard stance against climate-change alarmism.
Even former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, one of the top Republican presidential candidates and a former supporter of fighting climate change, has recently joined his GOP competitors as a global warming skeptic.
"My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet," Romney said last week at a fundraising speech in Pittsburgh. "And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO₂ emissions is not the right course for us."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an early frontrunner in GOP polls, has taken a long-standing hard line against global warming, which he calls "one contrived phony mess" in his recently published book, "Fed Up!"
Another leading candidate for the presidency, Herman Cain, is no fan of climate change science.
"We have a path to energy independence in this country and it just baffles me as to why the leadership … doesn't pursue it," Cain told The Hill earlier this year. "We simply need to remove the regulatory barriers and stop overreacting to the concerns of the environmentalists."
Ron Paul has been anything but shy to bash the green agenda, especially after the Climategate scandal of 2009. He had much to say about the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen that year.
"[The Copenhagen Treaty] cannot help the economy," Paul told the Alex Jones Show. "It has to hurt the economy, and it can't possibly help the environment, because they're totally off track on that. It might turn out to be one of the biggest hoaxes of all history, this whole global warming terrorism that they've been using."
GOP presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has no allegiance to global warming orthodoxy either and has strongly spoken out against it to her colleagues for years.
"Carbon dioxide, Mr. Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature," Bachman declared while taking the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009. "As a matter of fact, carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn't even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas."
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich also has no kind words for global warming alarmists. He got some flack a few months ago for appearing in a 2008 TV ad with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, but he has since revised his stance.
"I don't think we're faced with a crisis of global warming," Gingrich said in an interview with Human Events last year. "I think, in fact, that the scientific data is very unclear."
In his bid for the presidency, former Senator Rick Santorum told WND earlier this year that human-induced global warming simply defies logic.
"I believe the Earth gets warmer, and I also believe the Earth gets cooler, and I think history points out that it does that," Santorum said. "The idea that man … is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, patently absurd."
With the changing political and economic climate, the U.N. and developing countries are coming to a hard realization: Persuading Obama and representatives of other developed nations to commit to extending the Kyoto Protocol and contribute to the Green Climate Fund will be a hard sell at Durban.
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