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Wednesday, 9 December 2009
How, Exactly, Do You Think That An International Conference Works?

Well, apart from the hookers and the gigolos, it works pretty much as most things organised by governments work: scarcely at all, that is, and with a deep and sleazy feel.

Physically the security here in Copenhagen is very good. There are security gates and frequent checkings of ones pass – especially if one wants to get into the Bella Centre wherein the main conference is being held, and that’s right and proper. Obviously, and just as one would expect, there is huge lobby of special interest groups, each and every one of them touting their green credentials in some strident, vacuous, raucous and vainglorious way. “Eat hand-knitted yoghurt”, “grow your own computer”, “buy a photovoltaic cell for your male-pattern bald-spot”, “methane-rich bovine flatulence drives turbines”, “hedgerows for freedom”, “chrysanthemums for freedom” (don’t ask, I’ve no more idea on either of the last two than you might have), “save the Manchurian worm”, “save a tree for Christmas: use plastic” (!) – each and every lunacy which one can possibly imagine is represented here in the lobby to the Conference.
But there is one group of people, of industrialists, which is conspicuous by its overt and seeming absence and that group is those who mine, extract, or otherwise trade in, hydrocarbons and coal. That group doesn’t, as far as I can ascertain, have any representation in the lobby at all! But that doesn’t mean that they have admitted defeat and withdrawn from the fray – far from it!
Much earlier this evening I, with many others, was entertained to a very good dinner in one of Copenhagen’s finest hotels by a group of people who represented those industries. Our host was/is a representative for a consortium of international companies with vested interests in the fossil fuel industries. In his after dinner speech he emphasised the one fact that is beginning to emerge from this Conference: the hydrocarbon and solid-fuel companies don’t have to have official representation here at this discredited Conference for they have already won the legal argument even though they have lost the moral high ground. They have spent millions – at least, at the very least, $58.000,000 in the USA alone in the last year – in order to sustain their position as energy providers and they have spent that money in individual, national, law-making assemblies and to good effect. It is obvious that these companies don’t give a damn about how much their policies might be contributing to global warming just so long as nobody, least of all this irrelevant Conference, disrupts their damaging and ruinous profits.
Our host was self-congratulatory about the ineffectiveness of Conferences such as Copenhagen. He made no secret of the fact that, as Steve Kretzmann once said, Congress is a fantastic investment for the fossil-fuel industry. One can easily extrapolate the meaning of that to other national governments including the British government.
And how about this piece of duplicity from those who speak truth to power:
Undermining its own credibility in Copenhagen and the integrity of its pledge to phase out support for fossil fuels, an agency of the Obama Administration, the United States Export-Import Bank, has reportedly approved $3 billion in financing for an Exxon led consortium constructing a liquefied natural gas plant on Papua New Guinea.
The Obama Administration has yet to commit to any specific amount of financing for developing nations to transition to a clean energy economy and adapt to the impacts of climate change

“Does the Obama Administration seriously expect other nations to believe that it can’t find money to fund international efforts to build a clean energy economy and help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change when they’re still giving billions to Exxon?” said Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International.
Doug Norlen, Policy Director for Pacific Environment added,  “How can other governments take the U.S climate change commitments seriously if it is financing the increase of emissions through such fossil fuel projects?”
The Administration was also instrumental in the recent G20 pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies, but has not even instructed agencies within its own Administration to stop that financing. Just two weeks ago, climate and development coalitions in the United States, including USCAN and InterAction, called on the Obama Administration to immediately end fossil fuel subsidies via agencies of the Administration, including the US Export-Import Bank.
“Exxon made more than $45 billion last year, making it [one of] the most profitable corporation[s] on the planet. This is the last place that taxpayer support should be going. The Administration should immediately reverse this decision and immediately devote this money and more to international climate finance”, said Kretzmann.
Details of the deal, which has not yet been announced publicly, are going to be announced this week, apparently: just as President Obama appears in Copenhagen!
Now, what can we take from all this? Well, we can take one significant fact from all this – the hydrocarbon and coal industries are more interested in short term profits than in long term gains. Those industries are more interested in ‘burn now’ rather than ‘conserve, and grow the potential future uses’. They have recognised the single most important aspect of energy policy today: there is no point, revenue and tax-wise, in saving for the future and they have also recognised one other important thing: governments either will not, or cannot, actually govern – that they, the energy companies, have more power than elected governments because such governments are afraid to exercise power – and that’s a very important point; governments no longer seek to exercise the mandate given to them by the electorate! Our politicians simply won’t make decisions and direct policies. Our politicians have abdicated power to the ridiculous presumption that the strongest lobby must be correct; they no longer believe in, or exercise, the mandates given to them by their electorates.
And the strongest lobby doesn’t even have to show up!
Nowhere is that more apparent than here in Copenhagen. The ‘no shows’ win and nothing will change – that’s the message that this Conference will be remembered for. It’s the last act of a doomed system – a conference that will decide to do what? Precisely nothing at all!
But, and make no mistake here, this fatal inaction will be cloaked in fine sounding, Obamaesque, words! That’s where politicians go today – straight into Obamaspeak! Meaningless rhetoric has finally won out against rational argument and sound science.
And let me make a final point here. We, the Western nations, have apparently got to make the deepest cuts in our carbon emissions simply because we are wealthy and invented the modern world and because everyone else wants what we have achieved: we must impoverish ourselves to gratify the poorest nations’ aspirations. Were all nations to have a free and democratic system of government then that reasoning might have some validity, but given the fact that most national governments reject democracy whilst demanding parity with the West I fail to see why we should extend any courtesy whatsoever to such regimes.
Quite simply put, I fail to see why we in the free West should rescue the failed regimes of the autocratic, frequently Muslim, violent regimes of our enemies from the natural results of their arrogant behaviours.
Tell me, why should we support this? Why should we support our governments when they advocate such a massive transfer of wealth to third world dictatorships?
Are we stupid? Why do we even contemplate such idiocracy?
Posted on 12/09/2009 6:49 AM by John M. Joyce
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