Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Copenhagen Concoction

The U.N.'s climate confab runs into the reality of costs and science.
For months, the U.N. climate change summit that began yesterday in Copenhagen has been billed as the world's last best hope to match the scientific consensus on global warming with a policy consensus. But now it turns out there is little of either, and Copenhagen looks like it will go down as one of the more remarkable cases of political hubris in recent memory.

That's no bad outcome, given the ambitions of Copenhagen's organizers to impose heavy new carbon taxes on top of a struggling world economy. The Australian Senate last week defeated Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's cap-and-trade legislation, largely due to its job-killing potential in the coal-producing continent. Jairam Ramesh, India's environment minister, said Thursday "there is no question of India accepting a legally binding emission reduction cut." China has promised to cut the rate of growth in its carbon emissions, which would nevertheless double over the next decade even on the most optimistic scenario. Read more.

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