Coffee House

Disappointment in Durban

5 December 2011

Will Durban break the cycle of climate change meetings that repeatedly disappoint those
hoping to replace Kyoto with an upgraded model? With so much else on, most people seem to be ignoring the latest summit entirely. Scanning the major newspaper websites, only the Guardian and the
Independent mention “Durban” on their homepages. 
First Copenhagen failed to live up to the massive hype. Then Cancun continued the stalemate on the big picture and negotiators contented themselves with addressing some relatively minor points. But
Kyoto’s commitment period ends at the end of 2012, so those hoping for new mandatory targets can’t content themselves with stalling forever.
Despite the scale of the economic crisis, the politicians really want a deal and some governments, particularly our own, will commit significant resources to secure one.  They are regularly
announcing new programmes worth tens of millions of pounds to try and win poorer countries over. But looking at the Guardian and Independent’s stories the problem is that the
“villains” are too many and too important. The Guardian headlines with India holding up a
proposed “road map” for the talks and the Independent reports

‘The key villain remains the United States, which a year before presidential elections will not sign up to a new green target. China will not play ball either. Japan, Russia and Canada
have pulled out of the current negotiations.’

Look at the data and you see the problem that creates. Add together just the carbon dioxide emitted by the
United States, China, India, Japan, Russia and Canada and you have 58 per cent of world emissions in 2009, according to the International Energy Agency. Just 12 per cent of global total emissions
were produced in the EU27 by contrast, and that includes some countries which are themselves quite sceptical of expensive climate policies. Emissions in Britain are a mere 1.6 per cent of the global

In that context, we should be moving toward the kind of plan I set out in Let them eat carbon. Put
scientists and engineers to work making it cheaper to produce low emissions energy, rather than deploying massive amounts of prohibitively expensive renewable energy from sources like offshore wind.
But a more likely result is probably that our leaders proclaim whatever comes out of Durban a success. And keep pressing ahead imposing higher costs on families with enough pressures on their
finances already.

Matthew Sinclair is director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

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Show comments
  • Maddy1

    The sooner they have a population tax levied against the population polluters the better chance shabby tiger will have in the future.

  • Jeremy

    According to Radio 4 this morning, there is a great big fug of unpleasantness hanging over Peking. The Americans have described it as “hazardous”. And if that isn’t a case of the kettle calling the pot black, then I don’t know what is.

  • Olaf

    I read, “some governments, particularly our own, will commit significant resources to secure one.”


    “some governments, particularly our own, will commit suicide to secure one”

    I think my mind’s correction was more accurate.

  • starfish

    The problem is the house is built on sand

    On temperature measurements and prxies that are unproven and of dubious quality

    On computer models that are unverified

    On conclusions that are essentially no more than assertions

    On ‘facts’ that turn out to have been placed by lobbyists – quite often ‘green’ groups that have huge business interests

    The whole Ponzi scheme is about to fall apart – any politician should run a mile from making any commitment based on the AGW scam

    Meanwhile the citizens of the developed world pay higher taxes for entirely illusory and pointless CO2 emission reductions while everyone else carries on as normal

    Complete madness

  • oldtimer

    The villains are the perpetrators of the CAGW scam.

  • Nicholas Hallam

    The clamour for such economy-wrecking global initiatives has largely dissipated. This is a result of increasing distrust of the competence and honesty of the scientists who have been promoting the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Theory.

  • Sir Everard Digby

    El Sid,
    Your faith in cap and trade schemes is touching; as the political classes have introduced them,it is a fair bet they will not work as intended. Witness Alberta’s failing scheme. Offsets are supposed to be real,measurable and provable,but:

    Not all greenhouse-gas emissions are measured in the same way — or with the same level of accuracy. In industrial settings, continuous emissions-monitoring systems can directly monitor flue gases for CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Less-accurate emissions estimates are calculated based on surrogate measurements, such as the number of kilowatt hours of energy produced or miles driven.

    Every scheme measures ansd regulates differently. Also,as a market has now been created,market forces come into play.

    As of last week,it would cost large facility in the European scheme £7 to buy an allowance to emit one ton of CO2. That is a problem because:

    The European Scheme funds clean energy projects and if these price levels persist,billions of funding will be slashed from such projects.

    Allowance trading therefore becomes bad news for the environment.

  • daniel maris

    Mr Sinclair misleads when he conflates “offshore wind” with wind energy.
    Onshore wind is now very cheap, often cheaper than coal and sometimes beating natural gas in some parts of the world (like Brazil).

  • El Sid

    Japan already has a limited scheme in Tokyo and was moving towards a national trading scheme. Not surprisingly they they have other priorities right now with about 40GW of nuclear stations still offline after Fukushima.

    No doubt Matthew would have had Australia on his list as one of the biggest villains, until they set a floor last month from mid 2012, with a full trading scheme to start in 2015.

    So it would seem that the “villains” are reducing in number, and even the ones he lists are not quite as “villainous” as Matthew makes out. But don’t let facts ruin a good story.

  • Jeremy

    @ Occasional Ostrich:

    Number 2 is “you know who”.

    At the top of the thread is Number 7, and Number 11 went to Heaven. Number 8 says he’s late, but it was Number 9 who forgot the time.

  • El Sid

    Other “villains” like the US and Canada are steaming ahead at state level even if the federal politics are difficult. The Quebec cap and trade was approved in July, and in October the California Air Resources board approved their scheme, both starting in 2013.

  • El Sid

    Matthew is keen to push the impression that nothing is happening in the “villain” countries, when he couldn’t be further from the truth.

    On 9 November China State Council approved targets under the 12th 5-year plan to cut carbon intensity by 17% by 2015, and are running emission trading schemes at city and province level in 2013, in preparation for a national system in 2015.

  • Clear Memories

    The whole Climate change con is falling apart – get yourselves a copy of the The Delinquent Teenager and read it and check the references.

    The IPCC is nothing but a political pressure group spreading lies based on bad science with little or no peer review. Those involved have an agenda.

    The worlds leading authority has stated that, over the last 300 years, there is no evidence of any change in sea levels.

    But the MSM, especially the BBC in the UK continue to promulgate the bullshit that spews from this corrupt body. Because they all share the same leftist, hand-wringing socialist brain disease. Everything they state is based on computer models developed to ‘prove’ their own pet theory. And then, along comes the real world and proper data proves their models are wrong. But instead of amending their hugely complex and expensive models, they deny the facts.

    When the sheeple finally wake up to the shit they’ve been fed and realise the true cost to them (electricity bills through the roof) and the environment (magnificant vistas marred by useless f***ing windmills) they will not be happy.

    And when the lights go out because the UK and others have insufficient generating capacity left and the alien scum we’ve been flooded with respond by exploiting the dark to spread their own particular levels of African anarchy, the sheeple are going to be mighty mad and the likes of ‘you know who’ will be glad he’s serving time for ‘Perverting the Course of Justice’

  • Occasional Ostrich

    Jeremy 5th, 6:33pm

    So-o, is No.2 Voldemort?

  • TrevorsDen

    As the ‘Climategate 2’ emails show that the whole global warming notion is pointless.

  • porkbelly

    Greenpeace need to spellcheck their rentamob in the photo.

  • Ed P

    Dear Matthew, please take a few minutes to catch up witht he latest climate research data and analysis – eg, try the “Watts up with that” website for starters. You will find, probably to your amazement if you have been believing the guff emerging from the BBC et al, that CO2 is not the problem. Really! We’ve all been had (& taxed for a made-up reason).

  • Jeremy

    @ Number 7:

    Especially after “you know what” in the “you know where” with “you know who”.

    You know, you’re a very “knowing” person.

    By the way….I’m Number 6.

  • Axstane

    Nevertheless it is a jolly little jaunt for those who attend. It is very hot and humid in Durban at this time of the year so it is easier to peddle the mistruths.

    I am sure that the President of South Africa will do one of his quaint lumbering dances for them. Then they will also get torrential rain. See, there really is man-made climate change.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Disappointment? Chuffed to bits if it goes bellyup, here. CO2 emissions are a direct measure of prosperity. Let’s have some more.

  • Augustus

    The time has long since passed when the U.S. and other nations should pay any attention, let alone waste any more time and money on the ‘sustainable’ schemes being pushed by the United Nations and the many organizations dependent on this massive fraud.

    The weather, deemed too warm or too cold, continues to be touted as the result of too much CO2 in the atmosphere even though it is a mere 0.038% of the atmosphere and meteorological science has established its impact is virtually non-existent. There is no correlation between its increase and the climate except that it shows up well after any change. How often must it be said: climate is something measured in centuries, while weather is forecast in days and, even then, can prove to be incorrect. The definition of the weather is ‘chaos’ as it is subject to change in just hours as various fronts shift course. Even the most powerful events like hurricanes are difficult to predict. But no, this gang of hucksters assert that either we spend billions on ‘climate change’, or people will die and societies will suffer turmoil. Can you name a single day when the weather somewhere has not killed someone? Do societies experience turmoil because of the weather or because they oppress their populations? And can anyone do anything about the weather? No.

  • Number7

    The sooner the CPS get “you know who” into court – the better for us all.

    He seems to think he is above Parliament as well as the law.

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