Talk is cheap. Right? Wrong. As you read this, climate worriers from around the world are gathered in Lima, Peru to talk about the weather.
They are attending something called COP 20. That’s UN shorthand for the grandly titled ‘Conference of the Parties and the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol’.
Party on, dudes.
The COP gatherings are kind of a big deal for people who spend their lives speculating about whether the earth’s climate is getting hotter, colder, milder or just staying the same. The meetings have been held annually since 1995.
According to the UN’s own figures, last year’s 19th gathering in Poland drew over 8,300 participants, including 4,022 government officials, 3,695 representatives of UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations, and 658 members of the media.
This year it is predicted to be close to the 10,000 figure.
The massed delegations from 195 countries are discussing and debating the next major (non-binding) international climate agreement, which – under the auspices of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action – is to be finalized and signed one year from now at COP 21 in Paris.
Perhaps. Maybe. Whatever.
What is certain is that’s a helluva’ lot of limo rides to and from the airport. So many hotel rooms, working breakfasts, banquets, lunchtime buffets, evening dinners, plenary sessions, side events, candle light vigils (they have those) and networking breaks (yes, they have those too).
Earnest, expensive talk that has been going on for almost 20 years and STILL the UN has nothing to show for it except the tab for tens of thousands of people piling into jets and spewing a carbon trail into the atmosphere just so they can meet and decide to disagree on everything but the fact that have to do it all again in a year’s time.
The worst part being, it is all funded by us. The UN has no means to create wealth to fund its own operations. It is totally reliant on donations from member countries.
The most recent estimate put the UN’s budget for 2014/2015 at US$5.53 billion.
This so-called core U.N. budget excludes peacekeeping which now runs at an additional US$7 billion a year. It also omits the costs of several major U.N. agencies funded by voluntary contributions from member states.
By any cost/benefit analysis, the UN is a spectacularly-funded debating society.
U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the UN Joe Torsella, a man said to be focusing on U.N. management and reform at the U.S. mission, said last year that the 2014-2015 budget marked a “new commitment to real fiscal discipline at the United Nations at a tough time for hardworking families around the world.”
“Our shared goal should be to ensure that the United Nations can maximize the results that it delivers with the amount of resources that member states are collectively able to provide,” Torsella told the Reuters news agency.
Cop 20 is part of that remit.
Lest you think it is only the “hardworking families around the world” who would in any way be concerned about the way UN money is spent, COP 20 has attracted a few big names to its open microphone sessions to allow them to give their moral vanity a walk in a public space.
Hollywood’s Leonardo DiCaprio will be participating at COP 20. Al Gore will be there as well.
Can you bear it?
If nothing else climate worriers do affirm the quote sometimes attributed to Mark Twain: Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.
Mainly because they can’t.