Cancun will be a very low-key affair. The attendees going there expect to achieve exactly nothing. I’ll repeat that; exactly nothing. At Copenhagen the Chinese, under extreme and unremitting pressure, agreed to nothing. The Chinese signed nothing, not even the closing statement. The Chinese ‘noted’ that some statement had been made. That’s it. That was all they did and well after the circus had left town. Cancun will be lucky to get even that from them.
Politically, the situation is not good for the AGW cause and indeed has deteriorated dramatically in the last year. What has not changed are the imperatives driving the developing nations and China will again act as their spokesman, as it did in Copenhagen. The developing nations will not halt industrialisation no matter how much money they are offered by the developed nations and for two very good reasons. Firstly, they need to ‘power up’ their countries by building electricity generation facilities and secondly, they know the West is in economic intensive care; it simply doesn’t have the money to give them, if it ever had. In too many cases, what little money the developing world has already received was simply subtracted from the donors’ foreign aid budgets anyway.
What has changed is that with the recession, times are hard and people in the developed nations are starting to hurt. They care now about their jobs and putting food on the table. If that has to be roast Polar bear, then there will not be much heart searching. The concerns of the electorates are now much more immediate and focused about today and not some nebulous and distant threat to future generations.
Essentially, the people no longer believe or care about Climate Change; it’s had its fifteen minutes and its high priests are all too painfully aware of it. Politicians have already noticed this change in sentiment and are using it to get themselves elected. Suddenly it’s hip to be square. It’s Democracy in action. Though not the whole story, the Republican candidates in the mid-terms recognised this trend, repositioned themselves accordingly and reaped the reward; elected to office and control of the House. Being publically anti AGW is now seen as a vote winner and a pro AGW stance as a distinct electoral liability. Where America leads, the world will eventually follow but at a sedate pace, I fear. Politicians do not like being associated with failure, so I would be surprised to see any politician of note attend Cancun except possibly a few true believers.
As a result of what’s euphemistically known as ‘Climate Fatigue’, the MSM is repositioning itself too. This isn’t being done as an overnight one eighty degree turn but rather as a period of deafening silence on topics of Global Warming followed by a gradual turn, when the populace has had time to forget the MSM’s previous alarmist headlines. The paucity in the coverage of Cancun attests to that. I think a lot of environment journalists are going to be looking for new jobs in the near future. Given their quality, Journalism’s gain will, I suspect, be offset by the PR industry’s loss.
As usual, the smart money was the first to withdraw and that process was largely complete by the end of the first quarter of this year. The old adage applies; money talks and bullshit walks and if there was any lingering doubt that the moneymen had long ago abandoned any hope of making a profit out of the hysteria, the recent closure of the Chicago Climate Exchange should have dispelled it. Given Mr. Gore’s heavy investment in it, I’m sure his personal fortune, which reportedly ballooned from one million dollars to a hundred million in a decade, is now sorely diminished. The BBC pension fund, which is also heavily invested in green industries, will also be nursing heavy losses. Again, an old saying applies; invest with your head and not your heart.
There has also been another and more subtle change which, though small and not that apparent at the moment, is significant. The more thoughtful elements of the environmental movement (yes, they do exist) have realised not only that the alarmist strategies still being applied are not working but also that elements of their agenda are fundamentally flawed. Wind and solar power simply cannot supply the demand for electricity in the developing nations and the unthinkable is now being considered; coal and nuclear power. The brutal lesson of Copenhagen has sunk in. Any move to stop the industrialisation of the developing nations will always be blocked by the developing nations themselves. To put it more pointedly, the developing nations see the environmental movement with their current agenda, as an enemy of their aspiration to improve the lot of their people. Adding to the movement’s woes, is the nagging fear that any attempt to fundamentally revise the unacceptable agenda ie include coal and nuclear options, will result in violent schisms within the movement itself.
The Chinese delegation to Cancun are well aware of all the above and will act accordingly. Anything they are offered on a “no strings” basis will be accepted but they will concede exactly nothing.