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Dr Muriel Newman

The Copenhagen Saga

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From the 7th of December through to the 18th, the much publicised United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark. The main aim of the conference is to reach an agreement on a framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. Attending the conference on behalf of New Zealand will be the Minister for Climate Change Nick Smith, his Associate Tim Groser, and a contingent of officials. In addition, as one of the concessions to the Maori Party for their support of the emissions trading scheme, taxpayers will also fund two iwi leaders and kaumatua to travel to the Copenhagen conference.

Few details about the cost of the proposed treaty have been disclosed. In 2001, when New Zealand signed the Bonn Declaration, we were amongst 20 industrialised countries that pledged millions of dollars a year to help developing countries tackle climate change: We are prepared to contribute $410m, which is 450 million euro, per year by 2005 with this level to be reviewed in 2008. However, this has turned into a debacle according to the BBC, with no proper record of what money has actually been paid, as well as large sums that can’t be accounted for.[1]

The stakes are higher now. The global warming scaremongering machine has been so successful that developing countries at Copenhagen will be asking nations like New Zealand to front up with an estimated $250 billion to tackle climate change – and according to some sources, that could be each and every year.

The details of what is being proposed at Copenhagen can be found within a document penned by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change working group.[2] This virtually impenetrable 181 page draft contains a bewildering array of negotiating options. However, what stands out is that the bottom-line purpose is money, power and control!

Through this Copenhagen treaty, the United Nations wants countries like New Zealand to agree to ambitious emission reduction targets (up to 95 percent of 1990 levels by 2050 is one of the targets being proposed), to provide huge financial support to developing countries for the purpose of adaptation, mitigation and compensation, and to support the establishment of a proposed new governance body.

The problem for New Zealand is that the decision to support such a treaty – which could have enormous implications for the future prosperity of New Zealand – is taken solely by the Executive of Government, rather than Parliament. And while a procedures has been established whereby a “National Interest” analysis of proposed treaties must be presented to a select committee of Parliament, that is as far as it goes.[3] If however the treaty involves a domestic law change then the proposed legislation must, of course, go through the normal parliamentary process.

Our arrangement contrasts to that in other countries such as the United States, where the Constitution requires the approval of a two-thirds supermajority of democratically elected senators – along with the approval of the President – for any binding Treaty. This is in order to effectively safeguard national sovereignty against threats posed by foreign treaties. Interestingly, while the US signed up to the Kyoto Protocol, it was never ratified, because it failed to win supermajority support in the Senate.

In spite of the wealth destroying implications for New Zealand of most climate change policy, an argument that has been used by governments to justify strong action, is that associated with trade: if we don’t play our part in combating climate change then New Zealand’s trade will suffer. Given that Canada has thumbed its nose at climate change measures on the basis that they will damage the economy, I asked New Zealander David Seymour, a Senior Policy Analyst for the Canadian Frontier Centre for Public Policy and this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, whether Canada has experienced the sort of trade backlash that our politicians have warned us about:

“Canada is approximately fifty per cent wealthier than New Zealand on a GDP per capita basis, and on some days temperatures in some cities are colder than those at the North Pole. Unsurprisingly, Canadians burn a lot of fossil fuels. Putting aside a few small oil-rich nations, only the United States and Australia emitted more greenhouse gases per capita than Canada did in 2005. Canada’s 22.6 tonnes per capita was twenty per cent higher than New Zealand’s 18.8, and by 2007 they were thirty-four per cent above their Kyoto target.

“Anybody who supposes they might be sorry for it is in for a rude shock. Only last week did Prime Minister Stephen Harper agree to go to Copenhagen next month, and in case anybody was to take this as an act of contrition, his Minister for the Environment had this to say: One thing the Conservative government will never do is fly over to Copenhagen, pull a target out of the air that is ill-suited to our industrial base, to our geography and agree to damaging the Canadian economy.”

In his article Canada – putting the economy first, David explains, “In reality, Canada has not suffered trade problems due to its position on climate change policy. Meanwhile, Canada has shown that a commitment to free trade is the most important factor in getting trade deals done. With a trained economist as a Prime Minster, Canada has brought agreements with four new countries into effect over the past two years, and has a further eleven currently pending. Since 2003, Canadian exports have risen twenty per cent, hardly the sign of a country that is becoming an economic leper in the international community.”

As the media hype over the Copenhagen conference reaches fever pitch, a scandal dubbed “Climategate” that hits at the heart of the whole theory of man-made global warming is unfolding. As a result of communications between the United Nations’ top climate scientists being made public, doubts have now been raised about the accuracy of their influential reports. Serious allegations have been made that these scientists have been colluding to falsify data, manipulate results, and block other researchers from having access to the figures in order to protect their fabricated evidence that the globe is warming due to the influence of man-made greenhouse gases. It is a scientific fraud of massive proportions and as the fallout spreads, there are calls for resignations, inquiries, and the disbanding of the whole United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This scandal is so big that it has now enveloped our own crown atmospheric research unit, NIWA. NIWA has been accused of scaremongering by inflating temperature records to show the New Zealand’s temperature has increased by 0.92°C over the last 100 years. In comparison the un-adjusted data shows an insignificant increase of 0.06°C over the 100 year period.[4] The questions over whether they have indeed been involved in this global scandal continues. If the data has been doctored as some are suggesting, then those responsible for doing so should be exposed and sacked from their government paid positions.

President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, one of the few world leaders who is an outspoken critic of the whole theory of man-made global warming, was speaking in Washington DC earlier this month, reflecting on the forthcoming Copenhagen summit.[5] I will leave the final words this week to President Klaus:

I have already been at a UN Summit in Copenhagen before. It was in 1995 at the so-called Social Summit. At that time, the Summit was attended by then U.S. Vice President Al Gore who — so it seems — will be there again this year. I did also attend, as Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, but I don’t plan to go there now. I don’t see any chance to influence the results or to be listened to.

In 1995, there were huge demonstrations organized by all kinds of anti-establishment groupings – from socialists and greens to anarchists and anti-globalizationists. I have never seen such clashes between demonstrators and police and army forces before. The difference is that I don’t expect any demonstrations in Copenhagen now. The anti-establishment people have in the meantime become insiders and will be sitting in the main hall. This is a shift with far-reaching consequences.

We should not forget how the doctrine of global warming came into being. In a normal case, everything starts with an empirical observation, with the discovery of evident trends or tendencies. Then follow scientific hypotheses and their testing. When they are not refuted, they begin to influence politicians. The whole process finally leads to some policy measures. None of this was the case with the global warming doctrine.

It started differently. The people who had never believed in human freedom, in impersonal forces of the market and other forms of human interaction and in the spontaneity of social development and who had always wanted to control, regulate and mastermind us have been searching for a persuasive argument that would justify these ambitions of theirs. After trying several alternative ideas — population bomb, rapid exhaustion of resources, global cooling, acid rains, ozone holes — that all very rapidly proved to be non-existent, they came up with the idea of global warming. Their doctrine was formulated before reliable data evidence, before the formulation of scientifically proven theories, before their comprehensive testing based on today’s level of statistical methods. Politicians accepted that doctrine at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and — without waiting for its confirmation — started to prepare and introduce economically damaging and freedom endangering measures.

Why did they do that? They understood that playing the global warming game is an easy, politically correct and politically profitable card to play (especially when it is obvious that they themselves won’t carry the costs of the measures they implement and will not be responsible for their consequences).

I don’t see any problem with the climate now, or in the foreseeable future… We should not deceive ourselves. A cap-and-trade scheme is a government intervention par excellence, not a “market solution.” This country, my country, as well as the rest of the world face many real issues. We do not need to solve non-existing problems. I don’t think the real issue is temperature and/or CO2, but a new utopian vision of the world. We have only two ways out: salvation through carbon capping or prosperity through freedom, unhampered human activity, productivity and hard work. I vote for the second option.


1. BBC, Climate Change help for the poor has not materialized
2.UNFCC, Copenhagen Draft
3.MFAT, Treaty Making Process in New Zealand
4. Richard Treadgold, Are we feeling warmer yet?
5.Vaclav Klaus, Largest tax increase in world history