The Corner

National Security & Defense

The Unintentional Comedy of the Paris Climate Conference

The Paris conference on global warming as a result of greenhouse-gas emission was a wonderful example of unintentional comedy. I know next to nothing about the technicalities of the subject, but caught on television news bulletins great wafts of hot air. It was highly enjoyable to hear President Obama claiming to be saving the planet that his foreign policy has done much to endanger. More forlorn than usual as he worked in a phrase to and for unborn generations, Secretary of State Kerry had the air of a man in a dark room fumbling for the light switch but unable to find it. Some official is quoted saying that the final two days of the conference were “among the most chaotic I have ever seen.” Lo and behold, all countries have signed up to report how they are doing by way of reducing emissions, but there’s no supervision, let alone compulsion to do what they have agreed. To cut to the chase, $80 billion are to be paid every year by rich countries to poor countries. Lots of pretty young women from all over the world then appeared on the screen smiling in praise of the unearned wealth they expect to be coming shortly.

You don’t have to be a cynic to think that most countries, China and India in the lead, are never going to do anything that might harm their economic development, nor will rich countries commit economic suicide.

I couldn’t help remembering Michael Wharton, a satirist who for many years mocked the follies of the Western world in his column in the Daily Telegraph. One of his brilliant inventions was Dr Heinz Kiosk, a psychiatrist who took every opportunity to cry out at audiences, “We are all guilty!” The voice of Dr Heinz Kiosk rose loud and clear over the emission of gas in Paris. 

David Pryce-Jones is a British author and commentator and a senior editor of National Review.

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