Perhaps the most telling thing to come out of the UN Climate Change talks in Warsaw that ended last week was the replacement of the word “commitments” for each countries emissions cuts, with the decidedly less binding “contributions”
This back pedal is distinctly at odds with the conclusion of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report that stated humanity has a finite ‘Carbon Budget’ that is rapidly dwindling and, as climate scientist Christiana Figueres told a coal industry conference in the same city, in order to prevent catastrophe, we must keep most known reserves of carbon fuel in the ground.
So why are governments not taking immediate and drastic action to avoid what they’ve been assured is imminent disaster? Why did the Climate Change talks end so indecisively?
An obvious reason is that they are not obliged to listen to the IPCC. The brief of the IPCC is to “provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers” but ultimately, their work is “policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive.”
A second reason is that, despite the widely held myth of the IPCC report presenting the authoritative and definitive view of the entire scientific community, it does not. Many think the situation is not nearly as bad as the report suggests, some think it may be far worse. In contentious areas of the IPCC report, the scientific ‘consensus’ may have only been reached by the Executive Committee and if, “consensus is not possible, the IPCC Chair may take the final decision”.
So who is this Executive Committee? Along with the seven scientists and two academics who head the task force and three working groups, its members are the chair and three vice-chairs of the IPCC. Currently, only one of these chairs (Jean-Pascal van Ypersele) is a climatologist, or even any kind of earth scientist. The other three all have rather colorful resumes.
Vice-chair Ismail el Gizouli holds degrees in Mathematics, Physics, and Operation Research & Statistics. He was the Director of the National Energy Administration of Sudan (the planning arm of the Ministry of Energy) during the time that Sudan both first began oil production and was overtaken by the genocidal Omar al-Bashir. El Gizouli has continued to work closely with the al-Bashir regime as an advisor/consultant on energy and environmental matters over a period in which Sudan has grown to be the world’s 30th largest producer of oil, accounting for 78% of its export earnings .
Vice-chair Hoesung Lee is an economist. He has worked in this capacity for Exxon, was on the board of directors for the Korea Petroleum Development Corporation, a senior advisor to the Korean Minister of Energy and Resources, and was president of the International Association for Energy Economics – an organization who “actively seek” those who shape opinions which effect the energy industry, with institutional members including Shell, BP & Conoco Phillips.
And finally, there is Chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri, who holds degrees in economics and engineering. Pachauri has been a Director of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Director of Gail India Ltd (largest state-owned natural gas processing and distribution company), Independent Director of Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd, and Independent Director of National Thermal Power Corp (who’ll burn 17 million tons of coal this year). He also founded Glori Energy, a company financed by KPCB (i.e. Al Gore & John Doerr) that recovers oil by injecting CO2 into reservoirs.
So what’s my point? That this is a conspiracy? No – although if I was so inclined, the fact that Pachauri was on the board of Toyota and Lee on the board of Hyundai, the two automotive firms with big investments in Sudan, would set my tin foil hat tingling before I’d even got to Pachauri’s Rockefeller connections.
But call it chutzpah or realpolitik, while their true believing minions are calling for an immediate halt to carbon production, the position of these IPCC executives is to bring out the carbon and then charge the consumer exorbitant rates for it. A win-win situation for them and their associates.
And that’s possibly the main reason that our government representatives seem to be taking the catastrophic predictions of their latest report with just a wee grain of salt.
- Warsaw Talks Ignore IPCC ‘Carbon Budget’ Approach (climatecentral.org)