Highlights of the climate change meetings in Bonn, Germany, include
three bomb threats, dozens of excruciatingly boring meetings, hundreds
of NGO lobbyists, and very little progress.
Despite having to evacuate the hotel twice, and the Secretariat
office once, in response to telephone bomb threats, much negotiating was
done, but few agreements were reached. The major agreement was to
continue the discussions at the next meeting to be held in October, at
the same hotel in Bonn. Several key decisions are not expected to be
taken until the 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP6) to
be scheduled in late 2000, or early in 2001.
The delegates argued (for the most part, in courteous, diplomatic
language) about Clean Development Mechanisms (CDMs); Activities
Implemented Jointly (AIJ); Joint Implementation (JI); Land Use, Land Use
Change, and Forestry (LULUCF); and a bowl full of other esoteric issues
represented by a pot full of alphabet-soup acronyms.
The more heated debate arose from discussions about LULUCF. To the
initiated, that means carbon sinks. To the rest of us, it means land,
and the vegetation that grows there. Vegetation and soil absorb carbon
dioxide. If the carbon dioxide that is absorbed by vegetation is
subtracted from the carbon dioxide that is produced from the burning of
fossil fuel, then America would not have to reduce its energy
consumption nearly as much as is desired by the European Union, China,
and a host of developing countries. This is one of those decisions that
will likely not be made until COP6.
Congressmen Lazio and Dooley appear to be working for the other side.
a bill that would cap at 20 percent the amount of carbon dioxide
removed by vegetation, that could be claimed as credit against the Kyoto
emissions reduction targets. Go figure.
“Additionality” and “supplementarity” also ranked high in the
argument department. These twisted monikers refer to the types of
projects and activities for which developed nations may receive credit
toward their emissions reduction targets. Additionality means that
projects which are eligible for credit must be above and beyond projects
that would have been undertaken without the Kyoto Protocol.
Supplementarity means. … They’re still working on it, maybe by
Negotiations about technology transfer resembled a tag-team match. In
one corner, wearing the purple trunks of free enterprise, was the U.S.
and Australia, who fought valiantly for “market-based” technology
transfer. In the other corner, wearing red trunks, was China, G-77, and
a host of LDNs (Least Developed Nations), who waged an equally valiant
effort to keep technology commercially free, out of the grasp of
profiteers, and under the supervision of U.N. referees. The bout was
declared a draw and a return match is scheduled for October.
The battle about compliance never made it to the ring. The managers
are still struggling with the rules of engagement. When the battle is
waged, it will not be fought in three-minute rounds. The rules committee
has not yet agreed whether non-compliance should be met with fines,
penalties, sanctions, or excommunication. Nor have they decided who
should, or can, enforce whatever remedy(s) might finally be selected.
(Perhaps they are awaiting advice from the winner of the purple-red
The real winners in Bonn are the environmental NGO representatives
who have the decision-makers corralled for two weeks. Rarely is a
delegate free from the face, or the shadow, of a passionate
environmentalist preaching a doctrine of doom-certain, unless their
particular horse is ridden to salvation. More than half of the human
beings at the Bonn conference are promoting some brand of lobby-horse.
Most are going in the same direction. Most are fed with government and
foundation funds. Most are convinced that the earth can be saved only by
turning its care and management over to the United Nations.
There are a few NGOs whose horses run in a different direction. The
nuclear energy industry is in Bonn, promising cheap, clean, safe,
carbon-free energy forever. A relative handful of industry NGOs try to
temper the propaganda with pragmatism. Environmental NGOs are calling
for the elimination of all fossil fuels, nuclear, and big hydro energy
sources. Perhaps such proposals
will be taken seriously when the NGO army arrives on fleets of
solar-powered 747s and sailboats.
The tragedy is that the Kyoto Protocol is forcing a reduction, and
eventual elimination, of low-cost, readily available energy sources
while extracting tax dollars to subsidize experimentation and
development of exotic energy sources which, when needed, would be
developed without tax dollars by the free market. Fooling around with
free markets is about as dangerous as messing with Mother Nature.
Protocol pushers are doing both.
Without a major upheaval in American politics, the global warming
regime will continue to grow, meeting by meeting, until the entire world
is brought under its control. The regime cannot grow without America’s
money and political support, both of which flow freely from the current