Elitists vs. Youth
By Pat Carlson
Eagle Forum Environmental Chairman
December 9, 2014
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP20) began it’s second week of talks in Lima, Peru with enthusiasm followed by displays of impatience. COP20 is the last stop on the way to a hoped for binding agreement to be finalized in Paris in 2015.
UNFCCC Secretary, Christiana Figueres, in a show of unprecedented jubilation, opened the day saying talks were moving forward in a “spirit of optimism” with “good news everywhere on any issue.”
All climate change negotiations are based on the core principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” (CDR) stated in the original UNFCCC treaty. When the U.S. Senate ratified the UNFCCC treaty in 1992 it was an admission of guilt for polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gases (GHG). The GHG emissions caused global warming at the expense of developing nations like China and India. The CDR principle is the justification used to redistribute wealth from rich to poor and over time has been used to blame every catastrophe known to man on developed nations.
Ms. Figueres is elated because she’s about to see the goal of making the guilty pay come to fruition.
Meanwhile, in another area of the conference center, young people protested a fossil fuels side event featuring speakers from the coal and oil industries. The youth protesting accused these industries of being “criminals” committing “ecocide…stealing the future of our children and all life as we know it” because “Earth cannot breathe in any more carbon.”
These young people believe all fossil fuels should remain in the ground cutting “emissions at the source.” They want these industries to be “banned” from climate change negotiations. Their protest displayed an impatience that negotiations were not going far enough.
Another person very satisfied with the progression of negotiations was the head of the U.S delegation, Todd Stern saying “it’s a positive atmosphere here” with parties “working well together in a spirit of good will.” This was the first press conference held by the U.S. since COP20 convened. Mr. Stern opened his remarks saying the U.S. came to negotiations in a strong position having just made a deal with China and committing $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Taking questions from the press, Mr. Stern made some startling admissions saying reducing U.S. emissions 17 percent by 2020 “has been a kind of central pillar focus in the White House and the administration in terms of driving policy.” He then credited the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations being heaped on the U.S. energy sector as achieving most of these reductions.
To further his point about the administration’s success in reducing GHG emissions, he said when the Waxman-Markey (American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, H.R. 2454) bill failed trying to give Americans a cap-and- trade program, there’s been “substantially more in terms of initial reductions [made] than we would have done” under the bill.
Mr. Stern also stated the U.S. supports CDR but with the consideration that some developing countries like China, India and Brazil now have economies more advanced than in 1992. Taking responsibility for U.S. emissions under CDR seems contradictory from an administration that has never taken responsibility for any of it’s mistakes in failed policies.
Mr. Stern also seemed quite positive there would be a final Paris agreement. When asked how the administration would get such an agreement through Congress, he said they may or may not submit the Paris agreement to Congress. “We will submit to Congress any kind of agreement that requires that kind of submission…some agreements do and some don’t.” He said the Copenhagen Accord was an agreement that did not require Congressional approval.
What he didn’t say was the Copenhagen Accord reached during COP15 was nothing more than a last minute document at a failed conference used to propel negotiations forward to the next COP.
According to Commissioner of the European Union EU, Miguel Arias Cañete, the majority of delegates at COP20 believe they are “negotiating a legally binding” agreement. If there is a final Paris agreement containing any legally binding element, it be must be ratified by the U.S. Senate.
The last event of the day was a press conference held by American youth from the Sierra Club and Chinese youth from Climate Action Network applauding their governments for their commitments in the agreement made between the two countries last month. But they want even more from their governments in efforts to reduce GHG emissions. The two female college students from the U.S. said ”we are are taking responsibility” referring to CDR by encouraging colleges to divest themselves of fossil fuels.
These young people are fighting to prevent an eminent crisis, the survival of the planet and they’re growing impatient waiting for the adults to solve the problem. They feel their futures are at stake.
The elitists are ecstatic all the while knowing the truth as they see more and more power and money being shifted to move the world to a new, transformed global economy.
It’s very sad these young people have been caught up in the lie.