Thursday, 04 February 2010

Copenhagen Accord Still Threatens U.S. Economy

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As was observed at the conclusion of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the internationalists and radical environmentalists suffered a critical defeat when they failed to reach agreement on a treaty that would have fundamentally changed the political and economic systems of the entire world. If the conference’s stated goals had been accomplished, a massive redistribution of wealth — perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars per year — would have become law for the nations ratifying the treaty.

However, although the Copenhagen Accord is not as dangerous as the proposed treaty, it is still an active threat to the economic vitality and political freedom of every nation whose leaders are pursuing the goals of the accord. The accord is, in short, an attempt to implement on a "voluntary" basis the sweeping changes that a Copenhagen Treaty would have accomplished through force of international law.

Thus, according to the Copenhagen Accord, dramatic reductions in "greenhouse gas" emissions are still expected, just on a voluntary basis. In the language of the accord:

4. Annex I Parties commit to implement individually or jointly the quantified economy- wide emissions targets for 2020, to be submitted in the format given in Appendix I by Annex I Parties to the secretariat by 31 January 2010 for compilation in an INF document. Annex I Parties that are Party to the Kyoto Protocol will thereby further strengthen the emissions reductions initiated by the Kyoto Protocol. Delivery of reductions and financing by developed countries will be measured, reported and verified in accordance with existing and any further guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties, and will ensure that accounting of such targets and finance is rigorous, robust and transparent.

The United States is an “Annex I Party” and, according to the voluntary conditions stipulated in Annex I, committed to a 14 to 17 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2020. In point of fact, the list of “Annex I” countries is almost exclusively limited to the United States, Russia and several of the former Soviet Republics, the nations of Europe, Canada, and Australia. The nation most responsible for the production of “greenhouse gases” — China — is not an “Annex I” nation.

A Copenhagen Treaty would have established “cap and trade” redistributionists schemes on a global basis through force of law. The Copenhagen Accord retains such schemes, but seeks their implementation on a cases by case basis; “developing countries” will be offered “incentives.”

7. We decide to pursue various approaches, including opportunities to use markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote mitigation actions. Developing countries, especially those with low emitting economies should be provided incentives to continue to develop on a low emission pathway.

Despite the typical pontificating of the Obama administration, the nation’s supposed commitments under “Annex I” can only be implemented by actual legislation. Thus John Broder of the New York Times was left wringing his hands:

The United States, in a submission last Thursday, repeated President Obama’s promise to cut emissions “in the range of” 17 percent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels — but only if Congress enacts legislation that meets that goal, a far-from-certain prospect.

The Climategate and Glaciergate revelations have fundamentally undermined the scientific credibility of the theory of manmade climate change, and therefore essentially the entire environmental rationale behind the Copenhagen conference. Legislative implementation of the “Annex I” commitment made by the Obama administration would have a devastating impact on what remains of an American economy already battered by the reckless spending of the federal and state governments. The danger posed by “cap and trade” is now more clear than ever before.