Can Cancun Climate Ties Bind?

Don’t Bet On It, Says NCPA Expert


DALLAS - On the heels of Climategate, the discovery of numerous mistakes in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the failure to meet the $100 billion in commitments to developing countries to adapt to climate change and, worse, no consensus to extend the Kyoto Protocol, expectations for this week's United Nations climate summit in Cancun are very low, according to National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett.

"There is no political will to sign a binding international agreement which would force developed countries to cut carbon emissions," Dr. Burnett said.  "Given the state of most of the world's economies, every carbon restriction would only make things worse since it has become apparent that programs that subsidize green energy are net job losers."

In addition, green energy subsidies sidetrack policy makers from focusing on developing reliable fossil fuel energy sources that could help in jump starting those economies, according to Burnett.

"It has become apparent that if a binding energy diet is necessary to save the planet, the world is beyond saving," he said. 

Indeed, news reports indicate that global agreement on climate change isn't likely to occur in Cancun, especially since few heads of state are expected to attend the conference.  Even Lord Prescott, the former U.K. deputy prime minister who played a key role in forging the Kyoto Protocol, has asked governments to acknowledge that the U.N. process is failing. 

However, Burnett points out that no agreement may be best.  "What science and economics are increasingly telling us is that technological innovation and economic growth are the surest ways to reduce emissions intensity over time, while allowing impoverished people and future generations to gain the wealth necessary to adapt to future climate change regardless of its cause or direction."