The three most important political events of the decade related to climate have recently happened:
1. The Copenhagen climate conference.
2. The EPA rules that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and an endangerment to health and the environment.
3. Cap and trade legislation was defeated in the Australian Senate.
Here is a commentary on each event.
Over 15,000 participants from all over 190 countries attended the 15th United Nations climate change conference, December 7 - 18 , 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The participants tried to negotiate a climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The new treaty would commit countries to make drastic reductions in CO2 emissions and would commit countries to pay huge sums of money to underdeveloped nations for imagined harm due to anthropogenic global warming. The participants ignored the Climategate revelations that the climate data has been manipulated and that a large body of evidence shows that CO2 emissions do not have a significant effect on climate.
Most scientists skeptical of the UN's position on climate change are excluded from the conference. Fully credentialed climate skeptics including Australian Senator Fielding and Lord Monckton were denied access to the last day of the conference. The Danish Police turned them away and as Lord Monckton turned to leave, he was violently pushed from behind that flung him to the ground, knocking him out.
Late night negotiations resulted in a non-binding "Copenhagan Accord", which fell far short of the goals of a draft Copenhagan Treaty. The accord states that the parties aspire to "cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible". The accord does not set specific emission targets but countries would set their own targets. The accord states "Developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries." Developed countries will pay less developed countries funds approaching $30 billion US for the period 2010 - 2012, increasing to $100 billion US per year by 2020 to prevent deforestation and to deal with the effects of climate change. The accord includes a commitment to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.
See Lord Christopher Monckton's report here.
See the Copenhagen Accord here.
EPA Endangerment Finding
On December 7, 2009, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson signed an endangerment finding that declares that greenhouse gases threaten the public health and welfare. The EPA received more than 380,000 comments during a 60-day comment period. A major EPA internal report by Alan Carlin states "The GHG/CO2 hypothesis as to the cause of global warming is currently an invalid hypothesis from a scientific viewpoint because it fails a number of critical comparisons with available observable data." This EPA report and most of the public comments were ignored. The EPA's science is based on the 2007 IPCC fourth assessment report, especially the Summary for Policymakers.
The Climategate emails reveal that climate data has been manipulated to support the AGW hypothesis. CO2 is not a pollutant, but is essential for plant growth. A 300-ppm CO2 increase would raise the forest's productivity by about 50%. The endangerment finding allows the EPA to set economically destructive restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.
See the EPA's announcement here.
See Alan Carlin's report here.
Cap-and-Trade Defeated in Australia
Cap-and-trade legislation was soundly defeated in the Australian Senate just a week after it looked like its passage was a certainty. Australia's conservative opposition leader had reached agreement with the government to implement cap-and-trade. But then a spontaneous grass-roots campaign erupted to force the opposition to reverse course. By the end of the week, 14 members of the opposition leadership had resigned in protest. The opposition parliamentarians voted to replace the party leader with a climate skeptic, who announced the party would vote against the cap-and-trade legislation. The bill failed by a vote of 41 to 33 in the Senate.
See Lawrence Solomon: Australia Ditches Cap and Trade in Climategate's Aftermath here.