December 9, 2005


US out in the cold at world climate talks (Charles Clover, 10/12/2005, Daily Telegraph)

Delegates representing 180 countries at a UN conference committed themselves to speed up climate change measures agreed in the 1997 Kyoto treaty.

But the Americans - who have refused to ratify Kyoto over fears that it will damage its economy - staged a walk-out and refused to agree to a new era of talks to find a successor to the treaty, which runs out in 2012. [...]

Harlan Watson, the US chief negotiator, blamed his decision to walk out on a speech by Paul Martin, the Canadian prime minister.

Mr Martin called for "the reluctant countries including the United States" to listen to the "global conscience".

The sticking point for Mr Watson was the word "dialogue" used in the Canadian chairman's text. He said this amounted to the opening of negotiations on a new treaty, which America had said it would not accept.

He is reported to have said: "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it is a duck," before stalking out. [...]

The conference agreed under the Kyoto treaty - which the US has not ratified so cannot veto - to have compliance mechanisms forcing countries to face financial penalties if they do not meet their prescribed carbon reduction targets.

Bad enough to be party to the WTO, which at least serves good ends, but any president who signed away US sovereignty in this manner would deserve to be impeached.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 9, 2005 8:38 PM

If such a treaty would pass constitutional muster.

Posted by: Mikey at December 9, 2005 10:20 PM

A president who whould do such a thing would give away the Panama Canal.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 9, 2005 10:28 PM

P.M. Martin criticizes the US because he is up for re-election. He is appealing to the large anti-American citizenry to assure his victory.

Posted by: obc at December 9, 2005 11:36 PM

BBC World News said Bubba gave a speech and W was wrong not to get on board.

Posted by: Sandy P at December 9, 2005 11:48 PM

180 countries signed it?

Posted by: Sandy P at December 9, 2005 11:49 PM

Lou Gots:

Heh heh.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 10, 2005 3:41 AM

Lou -


Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at December 10, 2005 6:57 AM

So much to criticize, so little time....

1) Hmmm---that would be Bill Clinton, private citizen? Why should the international community treat his words with any more weight than, say, mine?

2) 192 mayors representing 40M people. That would be, what, about 10% of the US population? Since when does the 10% speak for the other 90%? Oh yes, right, silly me--this is an "international community" conference.

3) Clinton needs to take note of the old saw, "Saying so doesn't make it so."

4) They still don't get the bit about "...treaties must be ratified by 2/3 vote of the Senate...". Nor the fact that the Senate when Clinton was president voted 98-0 to reject Kyoto treaty.

5) "No state shall enter into any treaty..." But since these are transzi's, maybe mayors of cities can, since they are not mentioned in the Constitution.

6) Overall, it is to laugh. Like any of these countries will actually make any financial sacrifices or "meet their prescribed carbon reduction targets."

7) And how about the soon-to-be major polluters----China and India. Pollution isn't pollution if it's generated by a non first-world country?

Posted by: ray at December 10, 2005 7:24 AM

Have any accounts of the conference actually mentioned that the United States has reduced levels by far more than any of the signatories? I read that Canada, for instance, rather than meeting its targeted reductions have actually increased contaminants by 23%.

Oh sorry, I remember now. It's the nasty stuff coming across from the northern tier of U.S. states that caused Canada to miss the mark, not those smelly coal burning power plants still on line lo these years after their reported demise.

This is such fun.

Posted by: erp at December 10, 2005 8:24 AM


I think this issue has gone far beyond simply a question of hypocrisy. I hope I'm not getting into wingnut territority, but until recently I've thought this was just an intellectual fad that would pass like the population explosion or Club of Rome musings about running out of resources. Now, I'm not so sure and I'm beginning to wonder whether we aren't witnessing a full-blown intellectual alliance between corrupted science and paganism that isn't going to go away. There seems to be such a gap between what the science shows is actually happening and can reasonably be predicted and done, and what wild doomsday scenarios the scientific community and millions of others are throwing at us as "fact", that intelligent discourse and critical analysis is now nearly impossible and actually inflammatory. Have you noticed how more and more of the world's ills--from hurricanes to third world diahrrea to cold weather(?!)are laid smugly and knowingly at the feet of global warming by highly reputable scientists without so much as a hint of doubt? It's becoming a little like our standard complaint here about darwinism. The theory of global warming is being twisted and expanded to account for absolutely everything unpleasant or worrisome that happens anytime anywhere.

And that, I think, is the point and why it has become the principle vehicle for anti-freedom, anti-Americanism and leftism resurgent. And why it is so dangerous. Dictatorships and classical socialist economies have been thoroughly discredited by experience, but here is a dream that no-one can gainsay, and the beauty of it is that they never will be able to because folks are increasingly conditioned to believe the inscrutable experts' models over their own experience and senses. It doesn't actually matter to these scientists, bureaucrats and activists whether Canada's emissions are within the rules or whether beaches in the Maldives shrink, etc. and I doubt most of them expect anything to work or would be happy if things improved. What matters is that the devotees of Gaia gather to wail at the horror of change, engage in rote chants, make wild and near-mystical predictions of horror and offer ritual sacrifices (i.e. our freedom and prosperity) while Voldemort lurks down in the White House plotting our destruction. Dissent is punished by professional and personal ostracism, at least for now.

Posted by: Peter B at December 10, 2005 10:19 AM

There's nothing new with fad scientists lending their names to dubious causes. See the career of one Carl "Butt Head Astronomer" Sagan for a case study.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 10, 2005 1:26 PM

b. I find the discussions on this blog about religion and Darwin fascinating because so many learned and I think high moral people are passionately invested in their beliefs. Since I don't have a passionate belief to defend, it matters not a hill of beans to me if Darwin was right or wrong or which religion has the more poetry in its holy book.

I believe the world will go on, the sun rise and set, the tides come in out without our help. Same for global warming. The planet will warm and cool without our input and even if we could do something to control it, I'd vote we let nature take its course. Whether nature is taking its course with the hand of God guiding it, or it's taking its course purely by random chance, doesn't matter to me.

You're right the left is using the Kyoto Accords as the latest vehicle to trash the United States and President Bush and they have become totally unhinged because they can't seem to make any traction. Bush just goes along ignoring them and making agreements for attainable goals with other like-minded countries who want to make a real positive difference. See oj's frequent gleeful posts about "winning another one."

We'll be okay. Best way to stay sane and cheerful is to STOP reading the papers or watching TV news. Fox is no longer reliably unPC, so it's best to leave off watching it too. Start watching "Walker, Texas Ranger" instead. Much better for your emotional well being. All the bad guys get hauled to the hoosegow after the Ranger kicks the expletive deleted out of them and keep smiling... it drives the moonbats crazy.

Posted by: erp at December 10, 2005 6:03 PM

Peter - The Left's other fads failed, because science refuted them in a few years. Remember the ozone hole? When scientists figured out the ozone-destroying reactions, they turned out to be 80% caused by natural (mostly volcano-spewed) chemicals in reactions catalyzed by frozen sulfuric acid clouds, only 20% by human-contributed chlorine. Likewise other scares, like "we're running out of oil," were refuted by events. In global warming, they've got an issue that science doesn't understand and can't understand, and one where events aren't likely to refute them for at least a century. They're not going to give this issue up.

Posted by: pj at December 10, 2005 7:03 PM

Remember "acid rain"? It was supposed to make all the lakes in Little Canada "dead seas", devoid of fish. That was blamed on big Midwestern powerplants, but it turned out the real culprit was the rainwater runoff from the acidic decaying leaves of newly reforested areas not being buffered and neutrailzed by the granitic (read, acidic) soils of New England. Areas that had been farmland for the previous few centuries, and thus free of decaying vegetation. It took some soil scientists, not meteorologists, to figure that out. The problem would self correct as the forests aged and a new equilibrium was reached. That info came out in the early '80, (I remember the Science article), yet you still see some people who think it's still a problem.

(And for further laughs, Canada was blaming those same US powerplants, too, until more objective research showed the single worst point source in Northamerica were the smelters in Sudbury, Ont., and the Canadian gov't was well aware of the problems downwind of that town.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 10, 2005 7:52 PM

the tragedy of the Darwinists is that they've been refuted a few times but then been "saved" by hoaxes, like Piltdown Man and the Peppered Moths.

Posted by: oj at December 10, 2005 8:28 PM

Yes, I realize that scientific fads come and go. Revolutionary fads and movements in the name of the poor or common people have also come and gone---and then came Marx, who just came and came and is still coming in some ways. And he did so because millions of people over several generations became so indoctrinated with voodoo economics and fuzzy notions of abstract social justice that the whole paradigm of vocabulary and perception shifted dramatically and the collective ability to see reality with open eyes all but disappeared. As Paul Johnson noted, at the nadir in the 1930's, even businessmen were talking about the failure of democracy and capitalism and the need for comprehensive central planning.

Same with this. Just try to raise doubt about the reality of global warming in mainstream circles these days and watch the visceral reaction. As pj notes, at bottom no one really cares what the science says because it's not really about anything science can inform and guide us on. Something similar is going on with sexual ethics. It doesn't seem to really matter if porn, divorce, STD's, human trafficking or the consequences of child sexualization are exploding, people just take refuge in the libertarian/pop psychology shibboleths about freedom, choice and dysfunctional families and watch it all happen while pretending it isn't. Some days I wonder if we don't spend too much time here fighting a statism nobody believes in anymore while being casual or jokey about contemporary menaces we are losing even the vocabulary to confront.

"Walker, Texas Ranger", eh, erp? Hmm. Now, just because we Canadian conservatives are down on us and big on you these days doesn't mean we don't have our little independent streaks. We like to go our own way sometimes, but you do inspire us, so I'm heading down to Blockbuster to stock up on Sergeant Preston movies. :-)

Posted by: Peter B at December 11, 2005 6:02 AM

in every measurable way, things are better now than in the 70's. pollution is down, abortion levels have peaked and are declining, teen pregnancies are down, students are more religous and more conservative, tv is cleaner, crime is down. there is a lot more "noise" now and any bad thing anywhere is reported everywhere so it seems like things are worse. *this* is the golden age so enjoy it. global warming is going no where. do you really think americans are going to allow themselves to suffer an inconvenience or economic diminishment because of a bunch of jack ass intelectuals braying about global warming ? hell no we won't. do you honestly not see how the left is staggering around gutshot now ? think of the scene in "Tombstone" when Doc Holliday has just plugged his "huckleberry" and is taunting him -- well that's what's happening now.

Posted by: apollo's toe at December 11, 2005 2:13 PM