Rex Murphy, National Post · Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010
This global-warming/climate-change stuff is a great racket. Over in England right now, they're locked in the jaws of a very early freeze-up. The roads are iced, the plows overworked, and people are angry. But there's a precious subset of the English population that are not enduring the frigid and premature torments of a northern winter. They're the climate-change activists, bureaucrats, politicians, puppeteers and NGOs -- the class of professional alarmists who've been banging on about global warming for close on two decades now. This bunch has exempted itself from the rigors of English November, traded their sackcloth and ashes for sun-wear and tropical breezes.
They're toasting their pasty, righteous, caterwauling epidermi on the golden hot sands of Cancun, Mexico, flopped out amid the bikinis and barbeques while they attempt to spell out a future of rationing and want for all the rest of us. Flown there on taxpayer or foundation money, meeting up with all their buddies from the bust that was Copenhagen, the grim, grey priesthood of "sustainable" living are convening in one of the great sybaritic strips of the entire Western world. The monks are in the cathouse.
But hey, if you're going to do Armageddon -- do it in Cancun. The apocalypse at the all-you-can-eat buffet. Parasailing to Armageddon.
Does not one of the great minds decoding next century's weather see the brain-splitting contradiction of holding a conference warning of the imminent threat of global warming in a venue that mainly exists because people fly there to get warmer? That's right, people spend money to fly to Cancun mainly because it's warmer there than where they live. In essence, Cancun is what the global warming crowd are, otherwise, warning us about.
Perhaps at some level of instinct they do know. Perhaps they know that this show of theirs is on its last legs, the jig is up, the great game is over. After the unsuccessful 2009 Copenhagen conference, they had to have realized that even Al Gore and all Al Gore's grim little men would never be able to put the whole rickety, tendentious machine back together again. After Copenhagen, and especially after Climategate, even the true believers must have lost heart. Witness this year's confabulation. Notice who's not there?
Last year, even the Golden One, Barack Obama, swept dramatically into Denmark. It was the venue for all the A-list politicians. Prime ministers and presidents were everywhere. This year, the world's leaders have stayed away. Even the press, whose Cancun presence is down considerably compared to Copenhagen, smells the decay of a cause.
Some countries have made it clear that they no longer are even pretending to play the global-warming abatement game. "Japan will not inscribe its target under the Kyoto protocol on any conditions or under any circumstances," declared Jun Arima, deputy director-general for environmental affairs at Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Given that his was the country where the Kyoto Protocol was signed, it's a powerful blow to the Gore-ish forces. Perhaps Japan will get one of those cute Fossil of the Day Awards that Canada so excels at collecting.
Could this be the last global warming conference? It's possible. The environmentalists and the activists have had a tin ear and a surplus of righteousness from the beginning. But there's something extravagantly out of key, even for them, in holding their great "Save the Planet" revival at Cancun -- up to now famous for Spring Break and as a hangout for louche Hollywood types and cleavage researchers. It signals they've lost the will to pretend. And with Japan having walked away from the whole idea of Kyoto, it's hard to see how they'll work up the steam for another holiday next year.
- Rex Murphy offers commentary weekly on CBC TV's The National, and is host of CBC Radio's Cross Country Checkup.