Inconvenient Truths from Bali Climate Meeting US Media Must Ignore
For many months, NewsBusters has informed readers that when it comes to current events involving global warming, if you have any interest in learning the facts, or at least a close approximation of them, you must rely upon foreign press outlets.
What transpired on Saturday is a perfect example of this maxim: after the United States got virtually everything it wanted from the United Nations climate change conference in Bali, it gave in to a relatively minor demand from delegates of developing countries.
Ignoring the facts, America's press badly misrepresented the event as a major capitulation by the Bush administration, and a huge victory for global warming alarmists.
Yet, a number of articles published across the Pond Sunday expressed a view of these proceedings U.S. media dare not share. Take for example this Sunday Times article entitled "Bali Deal Leaves Greens In Despair" (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):
AS more than 180 countries agreed a deal on climate change at the UN summit in Bali, environmentalists punctured the mood of self-congratulation by pointing to the failure to agree firm targets for reducing emissions.
Although the main industrialised countries, including America, agreed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, they refused to agree to an European Union proposal for a target of 25%-40% cuts by 2020.
Campaigners claimed the world's biggest carbon emitters, including America, Japan and Canada, will now be free to carry on expanding such emissions for many more years to come.
"This deal is very disappointing," said Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth. "This conference has failed to give us a clear destination." The target backed by the EU, including the UK, was in line with the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has warned that global temperatures could otherwise rise by 2C over the next century.
Doesn't sound like what most of America's media reported on Saturday, does it? Now, here's the money shot:
On Friday, the EU conceded a compromise that simply acknowledged that "deep cuts in global emissions will be required to achieve the ultimate objective".
Paula Dobriansky, the US under secretary of state for democracy and global affairs, initially said she could not accept it.
She was roundly booed and Kevin Conrad, head of Papua New Guinea's delegation, won mass applause when he told her and her colleague James Connaughton: "We seek your leadership, but if you cannot lead, leave it to the rest of us. Get out of the way." Such language is unusual at an international conference and reflected the anger that had built up against America.
Later Dobriansky told The Sunday Times that she had changed her mind after listening to the submissions made by Brazil and South Africa, who had accepted that developing countries should also cut their carbon emissions.
As NewsBusters mentioned yesterday, this was a HUGE victory for America and the Bush administration, as such nations have been refusing for years to participate in carbon emissions cuts. By holding to its position all day Friday, and threatening this conference with resulting in absolutely nothing after almost two weeks of deliberations, the U.S. forced developing nations to finally accept their responsibility in this matter.
Without question, an honest, unbiased media here would also have pointed this out. Sadly, our press members dare not ever give credit to the Bush administration regardless of whether it is indeed warranted.
But that's just the beginning, for the British Telegraph on Sunday also went where few American press outlets dare (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):
The basic purpose of Bali, as we were tirelessly reminded by the BBC, Al Gore, old Uncle Ban Ki-moon and pretty well everyone else, was that this vast assemblage of people should gather together to vilify George Bush.
It was he alone who stood in the way of saving the planet, by refusing even to sign Kyoto into law, let alone participate in the new historic agreement which is to follow, and to discuss which Bali was all about.
(It is conveniently forgotten that it was the US Senate which unanimously voted not to ratify Kyoto in 1998, when the vice-president of the USA was Al Gore).
Hmmm. This guy sounds like somebody near and dear to all of you, wouldn't you agree? But I digress:
In the end, as in all good comedies, the "baddies" came round to the side of light, the US representative made her "climbdown" by saying that her country was now ready to join the "consensus", and everyone could go home happy.
The reality of Bali, however, was that all this vilification of America as the "world's worst polluter" was only displacement activity - to disguise the fact that, when it comes to the crunch, no one is really prepared to step off the bandwagon of economic growth, by making the unthinkable sacrifices which would be required if any of them actually meant what they said.
I like this guy. How 'bout you?
They are all happy to work themselves into an intense state of excitement by chanting their quasi-religious mantra: that there is now "absolute scientific consensus" that Planet Earth is doomed unless we cut our carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.
But no one is prepared to take any serious step towards that inconceivable goal unless everyone else jumps too.
Thus Bali ends in a wonderfully meaningless compromise, whereby everyone, including America, agrees that they want their carbon-free pie-in-the-sky, so long as they don't yet have to sign up to actual figures and mandatory targets.
The only people really rejoicing in Bali were all those beady-eyed businessmen who have sussed out that the "carbon trading schemes" set up under Kyoto are turning into the most colossal commercial racket of our day.
As for the armadas of politicians and officials, as the man from the EU said, they can look forward to "many meetings, many discussions, many people passing many hours doing things", lasting from here to the crack of doom (which incidentally may never arrive, because, though CO2 levels are still rising, global temperatures are not - a fact mentioned in Bali by precisely no one).
Can you envision a mainstream American reporter writing such and staying employed?
Yet, there was still more from the Telegraph which, in the name of real journalism, actually uncovered an inconvenient truth U.S. press probably can't handle (emphasis added, h/t Benny Peiser):
Russia is to blame for the fact that the agreement contained no figure for the "deep cuts" needed in carbon emissions, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.
In tense negotiations late on Friday, officials of a smaller group of just 12 countries almost agreed a footnote that would have referred to the need for a 50 per cent cut by 2050.
A western official said: "We got to the phrase 'long-term goal' and the Russians set on the whole thing. They would not accept any target, not even in a footnote referring to the science."
Fearful that the Russians were prepared to scupper the whole agreement, other countries backed off.
"That is why it is weak," one source said. "We thought if we did not give in, they would pull it all apart."
Now how can this be? After all, Nobel Laureate Al Gore, to great applause in Bali and in newsrooms throughout America, said "...the United States is principally responsible for obstructing progress here."
I guess former U.N. ambassador John Bolton was right when he said on Friday "...it's not unusual for Vice President Gore to be wrong."
No, it's not. And, sadly, it's not unusual for the American press to be wrong either.
Too bad for us.