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Liveblog: The Paris Climate Conference, Day 1

News from the Paris climate-change conference as it develops…

3:35 PM EST: As Day One of the climate conference drew to a close, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned that President Obama has little congressional support for putting U.S. taxpayer money behind any climate accord he reaches in Paris.

“I don’t think that’s the best use of our money,” said McCarthy, as quoted by the Associated Press.  He suggested the year-end spending bill (which now serves the U.S. government in lieu of a “budget”) could be the vehicle for Congress invoking its power of the purse against climate-change agreements.  McCarthy also criticized Obama for failing to emphasize America’s shift to cleaner natural gas.

3:30 PM EST: “I wish to urge the UN system to initiate an assessment on the carbon footprints of war, conflicts, security and terrorism,” said Masoumeh Ebtekar, Iran’s female vice president and head of the Department of the Environment. “Those perpetuating conflicts are in fact accomplices of the global warming process.”

Note: she doesn’t think Iran is one of the parties “perpetuating conflicts” as an accomplice of the “global warming process.”

The UK Guardian has Ebtekar finishing up with a quote from the Koran: “We did not create the heavens and earth but in truth he raised the heaven and established the balance so that you would not transgress the balance. Give just weight – do not skimp in the balance. He laid out the Earth for all living creatures.”

Upon arriving in Paris, Ebtekar told the BBC that Iran could “quadruple its cuts of greenhouse gas emissions with new technologies once there is a complete lifting of sanctions under the landmark nuclear deal signed with world powers in July.”  There is, truly, no issue that cannot be yoked to the unicorns of climate change – not even the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism demanding fast relief from the sanctions that delayed its acquisition of nuclear weapons.

3:00 PM EST: “Instead of making excuses tomorrow to our children and grandchildren, we should be taking action against climate change today,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron.  “What we are looking at is not difficult, it’s doable, so therefore we should come together and do it.”

Cameron’s speech cut him no ice (if you’ll pardon the pun) with British environmentalists, who castigated his government for cutting wind and solar subsidies, among other climate-change measures.

“It’s to be hoped that other nations in Paris see the UK as irrelevant rather than taking their cue from the policies of David Cameron’s government,” sneered Craig Bennett of Friends of the Earth, as quoted by the UK Telegraph.  “Empty rhetoric is not enough: we need tough and urgent action now.”

Prince Charles was also at the summit, and informed delegates that their deliberations “will decide the fate not only of those alive today, but also of generations yet unborn.”

“On an increasingly crowded planet, humanity faces many threats – but none is greater than climate change,” continued the prince.  “It magnifies every hazard and tension of our existence.  It threatens our ability to feed ourselves; to remain healthy and safe from extreme weather; to manage the natural resources that support our economies, and to avert the humanitarian disaster of mass migration and increasing conflict.”

Funny… it seems like only yesterday that President Obama was sternly lecturing Americans not to give in to hysteria and fear on the matter of a real security threat, namely the Islamic State infiltrating Western countries through refugee migration.  When talk turns to climate change, no amount of hysterical fearmongering is too much.

2:30 PM EST: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been conducting a good deal of informal diplomacy on the sidelines in Paris.  He was photographed shaking hands with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas for the first time in years.

He also met with Russian president Vladimir Putin, praising the level of cooperation between Israel and Russia on regional security matters.  “I’m very satisfied by the fact that our militaries have been very careful to coordinate with one another and will continue to do so. I think this is an indication of the openness and the success of the relationship between Israel and Russia,” said Netanyahu.

As evidence of this coordination, Haaretz notes that Russian planes have penetrated Israeli airspace during Russia’s air campaign in Syria – by a full mile, in one instance – but there have been no dangerous confrontations as a result.

“We must learn to do more with less and Israel is a small country with big ideas,” Netanyahu said on the topic of climate change, as quoted by the UK Guardian.  “I believe it is not enough that we have those ideas or apply them only to our country, we are eager to share them with you.”

2:15 PM EST: “Paris’ conference on climate is so crowded with world leaders that some of them are having to wait hours for their turn at the podium – a highly unusual situation for the most powerful people in their respective countries,” writes the Associated Press.  “About 150 leaders showed up, each giving a speech about their plans to fight global warming. After eight hours of speeches, the original schedule is totally out of whack – and it’s not over yet.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if a real problem – say, the threat of Islamist terrorism – could make world leaders pile out of a clown car like this?  But of course, the problems real people actually care about are thankless tasks that require leaders to make sacrifices in pursuit of their duties, not fun opportunities to take luxury vacations in Paris and spend billions of dollars in other peoples’ money.  Everyone sees Paris as an opportunity to hitch whatever issue they care about, whatever demand they have for the world community, to the very large wagon of “climate change.”

Get ready for all of these world leaders to return home and express their severe disapproval of constituents who put global warming very low on their list of urgent priorities.

1:30 PM EST: “Climate change is not of our making,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  “It is the result of global warming that came from the prosperity and progress of an industrial age powered by fossil fuel. But, we in India face its consequences today. We see it in the risks of our farmers, the changes in weather patterns, and the intensity of natural disasters.”

The Economic Times reports Modi called for “a comprehensive, equitable and durable agreement, which must lead us to restore the balance between humanity and Nature and between what we have inherited and what we will leave behind.”

India has been criticized for its resistance to climate deals that would damage its economy.  Modi struck back by reiterating his theme that India didn’t cause the problem, describing wealthier industrial nations as “those who have the luxury of choices and the capability of technology will make adjustments to sharply reduce their carbon emission,” and insisting their actions must be “consistent with the carbon space they occupy.”

“And, they must leave enough of what is left of our carbon space to let developing countries grow,” Modi added.

Modi also had his much-anticipated meeting with Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif, an informal conversation during which the two seemed to personally hit it off.  “Talks with PM Narendra Modi were good.  Doors of dialogue should open,” said Sharif afterward.

1:00 PM EST: President Obama’s idea of “economic liberty” is beautifully captured in this paraphrase from the Associated Press:

 

President Barack Obama says the private sector needs to have a seat at the table as the world’s governments attempt to curb global warming.

He says that governments will set the targets that nations will try to reach, but it will be scientists, private sector investors and workers who will largely determine whether those goals are met.

Obama’s remarks come as part of an event in which at least 19 governments and 28 investors were announcing billions of dollars toward researching and developing clean energy technology.

So the private sector gets a “seat at the table”… by which Obama means they’ll meekly submit to the diktats of the political elite, but they’ll have some discretion in how they go about fulfilling those orders.

Of course, plenty of high-rolling business interests will be perfectly happy with that arrangement, because they get plenty of subsidy carrot to go along with their regulatory stick.  The climate-industrial complex is a multi-billion-dollar special interest… but remember, only people who question the dubious assertions of Big Climate can possibly be motivated by “greed.”

12:50 PM EST: “Our task is not just to reduce emissions, the impacts of global warming are already being felt,” said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.  “Adapting to the impacts of climate change is equally important and there too innovation is key. Some of the most vulnerable nations are our neighbours and we are helping them to build resilience. Our agreement in Paris must provide a common platform for action. Australia is not daunted by the challenge. With great optimism and faith in humanity’s genius for invention we are confident that with collective leadership we will with common cause secure our future.”

However, the UK Guardian complains that Turnbull’s announcement of Australia’s intention to ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol is “window dressing and entirely meaningless when it comes to emissions,” because under those protocols, “Australia can do very little and still meet their targets because they get massive credits from land use change and forestry.”

The Guardian also quotes the prime ministers of both Slovenia and Georgia blaming climate change for current weather phenomenon, so please disregard everything climate activists have said about how “climate change is different than weather” until further notice.  (Further notice will arrive as soon as someone asks how we can be having a cold winter if the planet is broiling due to carbon emissions.)

12:35 PM EST: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country would “take on a new leadership role internationally.”

“Canada is back, my friends.  We’re here to help,” the Prime Minister declared, as reported by CBC.  “From cap and trade, to a ban on coal-fired electricity generation… From world-leading innovation on carbon capture and storage to a revenue-neutral carbon tax, we can learn and build on these models.”

While CBC relates Trudeau’s assertion that “86 per cent of the Canadian economy is now covered, or soon to be covered, by a price on carbon,” the news network admits that how Canada will reach the rest of its proposed emissions targets “hasn’t yet been nailed down,” and the new Liberal government has “resisted efforts by climate change groups and the media to lay out its targets and timelines for achieving them.”  Trudeau promised to hold a meeting of first ministers within 90 days of the Paris conference to work on these details.

12:20 PM EST: In case anyone had any doubts about the general tone of the conference…

12:00 PM EST: “A political moment like this may not come again,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his opening remarks, as quoted by CNN.  “We have never faced such a test. But neither have we encountered such great opportunity.”

French President Francois Hollande made similar comments, saying that “never have the stakes been so high because this is about the future of the planet, the future of life.”

President Obama kept hammering his narrative about how the climate conference is the ultimate rebuke to the Islamic State: “”What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it?”  Hollande backed him up by contrasting the conference’s focus on “the future of life” with the “group of fanatics sowing the seeds of death in the streets” of his city two weeks ago.

On Monday morning, the Paris prosecutor’s office said it would release all but 9 of the 317 people arrested for climate-change demonstrations in the Place de la Republique, leading to a battle with police that damaged a memorial to victims of the Paris terror attacks.

 

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