The Next Week May Be a Significant One in the Climate WarsAlan Carlin | December 12, 2015
Two events currently appear likely to change the endless climate saga over the next week. The well known one is the UN COP 21 meeting now ongoing in Paris. It is difficult to see how all the problems preventing a meaningful agreement since COP 15 in Copenhagen will somehow be resolved in the next few days, but maybe more than the usual number of problems will be swept under the rug. The main issues appear to include whether the proposed agreement would be “binding” on signatories, whether developed countries will commit to substantial climate funding (at least $100 billion per year out of a total request for $3.5 trillion by 2030 by the less developed ones), and the extent to which the less developed countries will make any significant contribution to CO2 reduction. The Conference was reported to have deadlocked at least for the night on Thursday, December 10, on these issues, among others. [For more recent comments on the Paris Conference outcome, see here.]
US FY2016 Appropriations by Congress
The other potentially significant development may be the full Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations bills being finalized by Congress over the next week. The Republican Congressional leadership wants to include “policy riders” restricting what the Administration can do with regard to climate and many other issues. There is also a dispute over US funding for the UN Green Climate Fund for distribution to the less developed countries. The most important climate-related issues include restrictions on expenditures for the EPA so-called “Clean Climate Plan” and inclusion of funding for the UN Green Climate Fund. The Democratic Congressional leadership is generally opposed to “policy riders” and wants a “clean” bill. Some members of both parties also want to extend the current tax credits for some “renewable” sources of power despite their expense, wastefulness, and adverse effects on wildlife and scenery. The Administration is hinting that the President will veto any appropriation bill with policy riders, which would shut down the Government.
So the thing to watch is what if any riders and tax extenders survive and exactly what they say. Ultimately a compromise will have to be reached, but it may be more or less supportive of reductions in CO2 emissions. If the compromise is not supportive of the climate alarmists’ “solution” of reducing CO2 emissions, this could be the beginning of the end of serous CO2 emissions reductions as a US policy objective. If it is supportive, then the efforts to reduce emissions will continue until there should be an adverse court ruling or an unsympathetic Administration takes office.