Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Climate and Wealth Redistribution

The deal being negotiated at Copenhagen has very little to do with climate change; it may touch on it, but it also uses this issue to put in place a massive world wide redistribution of wealth. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper still takes flak for calling the Kyoto Protocol "a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations." If Harper were to say the same thing about Copenhagen, he'd be right.

Copenhagen is short for The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (taking place December 7-18th), a conference and international treaty all wrapped up into one that beyond the surface has very little to do with climate change, but don't take my word for it, listen to the supporters.

Australian scientist, author and climate change activist Tim Flannery came to Ottawa recently to promote his latest book, Now or Never and to press the Canadian government to sign on to Copenhagen. Now I must say that compared to many Canadian green activists, Flannery seems highly reasonable and a nice chap; he even has a sense of humour, a quality that seems to have leeched out of our own green movement some time in the ‘90s.

When I asked Flannery about the notion reported in such climate change boosting newspapers as Britain's left-wing Guardian, that the deal would mean a massive transfer of wealth from the developed world to the developing world, Flannery didn't flinch. In fact he called this essential to the deal.

"We all too often mistake the nature of those negotiations in Copenhagen. We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case," said Flannery. "The negotiations now ongoing towards the Copenhagen agreement are in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They deal with every aspect of our life and they will influence every aspect of our life, our economy, our society, our relationship with the developing world, our relationship with the environment as well."

So there you have it, a man who is firmly on the side of climate change, who runs his own council full of business executives who push for a legally binding treaty at Copenhagen, saying this all has little to do with climate change. So what is it all about then?

It's about money, plain and simple. While most of the focus in the media is on the attempts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the behind the scenes negotiations are about how much developed countries will have to pay to developing ones. Ban Ki Moon says that the $150 billion USD in annual contributions to help developed countries adapt to climate change will have to be "scaled up." That's a fancy way of saying the bill just got bigger.

Read it all here.

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