Montreal Bonanza

Interesting commentary on 6 Dec 2005 from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s journalist Rex Murphy who says, “Perhaps Kyoto is Japanese for hypocrisy.”:

REX MURPHY (Commentator): It’s been a strange week. I’ve been wondering why the global warming conference in Montreal is getting relatively little attention. Probably because of the cold weather. It’s odd for another reason. Ten thousand people have come to Montreal, ten thousand. For a conference on reducing energy consumption. Now, ten thousand is a large number, elephantine, in fact. I don’t suppose many delegates walked. As conferences go, this one is a real Leviathan. Just think of the Montreal summit’s ecological footprint.


Is there really a need to fly ten thousand people from 189 countries to a cold city to exchange ideas? Is there no e-mail? Are the phone lines down? Does no one own a Blackberry? Well, I suppose in this matter, ecology is not really different from politics. High on sermons, low on example. Maybe it’s low-key because the celebrity attendance is sparse. There are not many rock stars there. What’s an environmental summit without rock stars? Are they all worn out after making poverty history? That was their summer project, remember.

But still, where’s Bono? Is he still crushed, or in some sulk from his disappointment with Paul Martin? I’m not sure anymore that Canada is allowed to take on international commitments unless it’s alright with Bono. Canada used to be an independent country. Now we’re just part of an entourage.

There was a Canadian Press Report from Montreal whose lead sentence could have come straight out of Alice in Wonderland. It read “Tens of thousands of people ignored frigid temperatures Saturday to lead a worldwide day of protest against global warming.” Wearing earmuffs while chanting, “It’s getting hot in here” might be homage to Nellie, but it’s not effective salesmanship.

At the same demonstration on that brutally cold day, one of the Greenpeace high priests offered a brilliant synopsis of how comprehensively the concept of global warming applies. He said, and I quote, “Global warming can mean colder; it can mean dryer; it can mean wetter.” Well, if warm can mean cold, if warm can mean wet, and if warm can mean dry, is it fair to ask if warm still means warm? This is the beauty of global warming. It’s a theory that covers every possibility. More of a tent than a thesis.

The bigger disconnect at this monster seminar goes further than rhetoric, however. It’s that Canada’s the host of this sequel to Kyoto, and that Canada’s performance since Kyoto – and remember, we signed on – is at this date, 24 percent higher than our 1990 levels. According to our commitment, we’re aiming for six percent lower. So as of 2005, there’s a 30 percent spread from what we’ve promised and what we’ve done so far. The U.S., which didn’t sign on, is only thirteen percent higher than its 1990 levels. Still, around the world, the U.S. is the villain for not signing on, while countries like ours, who talk a virtuous environmental line and host King-Kong-scale conferences to celebrate our commitment, pose as the planet’s dearest lovers.

Perhaps Kyoto is Japanese for hypocrisy.

For The National, I’m Rex Murphy.

7 comments to Montreal Bonanza

  • Brooks Hurd

    Has anyone carried this further and analyzed how the other countries which signed Kyoto are doing with compliance?

  • Brooks, from what I gather, Europe are seriously non-compliant, having read the statistics I think on John Ray’s quoted sources? Another interesting exercise in data collection I suspect. Is there enough time to do all this and earn a living? :-)

  • Brooks Some figures: . . . many countries which take the ‘moral high ground’ in public are quietly the very worst offenders. Hypocritical Canada (Paul Martin was unbelievable in his attack on the US) has seen its emissions rise by 24% (on the Kyoto-base 1990-levels); Japan, which gave the name to the original Kyoto Protocol, by 18%; and the statistics for some of the ever-pious European countries take the breath away – Spain up by 42%, Portugal up by 37%, and merry Ireland and Greece up by 26%. In contrast, the US – the non-signatory of Kyoto, note – has seen its emissions rise by only 13% (and they have fallen 2% under Bush!). So who is the bad boy? ‘Talking-the-talk’ is quite different from ‘walking-the-walk’, witness rock-n’-roll Bill Clinton – remember that, under Clinton and Gore, the Senate vote on Kyoto was 98 95 to 0 against.

  • Louis – yes but the USA emissions are still 21% over 1990 levels. They have also not agreed to reduce emissions. www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggrpt/carbon.html

  • Jack Linard

    Ender says:

    “yes but the USA emissions are still 21% over 1990 levels. They have also not agreed to reduce emissions”.

    This is typical of the lies promulgated by the anti-USA kyotophiles. US emissions are 13% up on 1990 level. They have sensibly agreed (along with Australia) not to sign the Kyotp accord. The have not agreed to “not reduce emissions”.

    Whilst the US economy has dramatically out-performed all of the Kyoto signatory economies, their increase in CO2 emissions is less than most.

    Remenber also why 1990 was chosen as the base date – the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact bloc

  • Jack Linard

    Sorry – US emissions are 17% up on 1990 level.

  • Brooks Hurd

    Louis, You are certainly correct about Clinton’s Kyoto record. His failure to get the Kyoto Ttreaty signed did not stop him from making noise in Montreal.

    Clinton did not push Kyoto, because he know that the Congress would not retify it. He essentially washed his hands of it.

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