Belfast Telegraph

Smoke and mirrors obscure debate over global warming

By Kevin Myers

If it's winter here, the global warming conference must be in the southern hemisphere. And yes, of course, it's in Durban, whither thousands of global warmists are now flying in order to confer at colossal expense and tell us to cut our carbon dioxide emissions — or else. Else what?

Else, they'll have another global warming conference even sooner than scheduled — maybe next summer, in Cannes, or Split, or San Francisco, or Sharm-El-Sheikh. Though maybe not there, because the Muslim Brotherhood will then be running Egypt and who wants a climate control conference without booze?

E-mail is the swiftest and cleanest means of communication in world history. But far more importantly for those who wish to swap ideas about global warming and the evil USA, e-mail has no beaches. E-mail has no nightclubs where delegates can gather after soaping off their weddings rings.

But if only e-mail had beaches, our eco-warriors could share their thoughts that way, thereby sparing the world the airliner-laid carpets of stratospheric condensation and carbon dioxide to Durban and back. But where's the fun in that?

If you want to discover the biggest assembly of lies and falsehoods, it is in the internet boasts about how the EU has led the way in cutting CO2 emissions — unlike the evil USA.

But the reality is different; in as much as I can interpret the smog of ‘facts’ and empty promises, the EU's greenhouse emissions rose steadily after the famous Kyoto conference of 1997, in spite of the carefully created illusion that the EU was far holier and greener than the US.

The claim now is that the EU's emissions are actually going down. No doubt they are — because a) of the economic downturn and b) we're importing so much from China, thereby shifting CO2 from here to there.

Hold on to this; with 15 years of global conferences, world CO2 emissions have risen steadily to 3,600 million tons last year.

So, just about every eco-boast is relative. China has agreed to cut its global warming emissions, but only per unit of production.

Since Chinese production continues to soar, so too will China's CO2 emissions.

And almost no one points to one major cause of global warming: — the destruction of the African rainforest.

Any description of Africa's woes is usually limited by ideological and diplomatic sensitivities. But that is not quite the full picture.

Trees that should be inhaling the CO2 have been felled, to make fresh farmland which soon, in the absence of trees and shrubs, becomes an ecological disaster, spelt M-a-l-a-w-i, or some variation thereof.

Furthermore, African countries double their populations every 22 years, requiring more arable land to feed the people, and the forests pay the price. It took Britain from 1881 to 2011 to double its population: African countries do this in one sixth the time.

However, it's not politically acceptable for the UN to be frank about the economic, social and ecological catastrophe that is enveloping Africa and so the conversation hastily moves on to rather more congenial topics.

I'd be all in favour of paying a lung levy to African countries to plant trees: but the leaders of which African country could be trusted to spend the money on combating greenhouse gasses, rather than increasing them by importing Mercedes?

Of course, Africa is not the primary problem; it is simply the largest undiscussed one. The trans-Himalayan civilisations of the Yangste and the Indus will probably overtake the US as the main per-capita carbon dioxide emitters in the next 10 years: and who is to tell them they should not use fossil fuels to haul their peoples out of drudgery and poverty?

It is hypocrisy and ecological colonialism — ecolonialism — to prevent them doing what we in the West have already done.

If only for the sake of a peaceful letters page, I'm prepared to accept that global warming is happening and is man-made; but there's absolutely no reason to believe that mankind really has the willpower to do anything about it.

Indeed, all the evidence suggests the opposite. Which means that the primary purpose of these regular world climate change conferences is the personal gratification of the participants.

So all I ask, dear God, is that the rest of us are spared the viral effusions of their self-congratulation and their communicable diseases.

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