Sunday, December 09, 2007

Blathering in Bali

There is hypocrisy and then there is, what I like to call, plausible inhypocrisy. They are, of course, exactly the same thing in function, it is just that in the second version the perpetrators have created an intricate network of excuses to fend off the charges of hypocrisy they know that will be coming.

Enter then UN and their conference on global climate change that is taking place in Bali, Indonesia.

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Government officials and activists flying to Bali, Indonesia, for the United Nations meeting on climate change will cause as much pollution as 20,000 cars in a year.

The delegates each will produce an average 4.07 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or CO2, to reach the resort island 950 kilometers (600 miles) from Jakarta, according to estimates e- mailed to Bloomberg by the UN agency holding the conference.

Some of the 187 nations participating in the two-week forum promised to offset their so-called carbon footprint by planting trees or buying emission credits. The symbolic actions won't help stop global warming, some scientists say.
Here is a novel idea. Plant some trees, stay home, do a teleconference.
``It's very hard for the public to understand that you come together with so many people to a very distant place and cause a lot of emissions, and at the same time talk about emission reductions,'' Artur Runge-Metzger, head of climate strategy for the European Commission, said yesterday in an interview in Bali, adding that he had offset his own emissions.
Dude, I understand that you've done it and I also understand that you want to see an exotic island beach a few times in your life. Just don't tell me that I'm too dumb to understand that what you are doing will positively impact our world and that the emissions you have created in this debacle are somehow excusable while my car's 28 mpg are somehow inappropriate--at least I'm driving to work to make a living.
Indonesia will plant 79 million trees to offset the entire conference's emissions, Emil Salim, head of the host country's delegation, told reporters yesterday in Bali. The Asian nation is investigating how to develop its tree-planting activity to ensure a lasting offset, said Amanda Katili, special assistant to Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar.

``We have to know where the trees will be planted and make sure that they grow and not be cut down until they make enough carbon stock,'' Katili said in an interview.
Wow, that is pretty impressive. The problem being, of course, that it is not a permanent solution. Trees are essentially carbon storage devices. When the trees die and decay begins the decaying process, in addition to the carbon that is no longer stored by the living plants, yield a net (though small) increase in overall carbon. The science here is decidedly incomplete and at best the global warming community is acting on insufficient data. Nice try though.
The U.K.'s 40-person team will have their emissions neutralized through a central government fund, a spokeswoman for the country's environment department said.

EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas and three of his staff are buying so-called carbon credits, each representing a reduction of a ton of carbon dioxide, on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, commission spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich said in a telephone interview.
Essentially these people are producing carbon and hoping someone else will not produce offsetting carbon in the future (either through carbon producing abstinence or through technology advances produced by the offset investment.) Well, if the financial offset is that effective, why not stay home (a gain in carbon reduction) and also pay someone else not to produce any? At least in this scenario there would be a measurable gain in the war against emissions and not just a hopeful "offset" portion of the equation providing only theoretical benefits.

Meanwhile 10,000 conference delegates are talking away on an exotic tropical island trying to set up some rules that will apply to the rest of us that don't have the money to pay for someone else to go carbonless. And they are not hypocrites, they really aren't. Just ask them. They have the answers all worked out.

h/t Midwest Conservative Journal

No comments: