After Versailles – The Copenhagen Treaty November 16, 2009Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: climate change, Copenhagen Treaty, global warming
After Versailles – The Copenhagen Treaty
by Peter Smith
Quadrant Online, November 15, 2009
Economic consequences of the Copenhagen Treaty
In the Economic Consequences of the Peace, published in 1919, Keynes warned, among other things, of the ruinous consequences of war reparations imposed on Germany by the Versailles Treaty.
No-one in those days, or up until recently, would have thought there might come a day when the debt of war would be replaced by the debt of climate ‘warming’, for which reparations were demanded. That day has certainly come with the UN’s “Framework Convention on Climate Change”, the so-called Copenhagen Treaty (‘the treaty’).
The first thing to say is that the treaty will not be signed in one of its current forms. There are many square bracketed alternatives and options in the treaty but it is fair to say that none of them will prove palatable to the major countries.
Leaving aside the posited creation of some kind of world ‘government’ and all of the administrative paraphernalia this entails, the treaty is basically about two obligations, both of which effectively fall on developed countries. The first is to cut emissions severely. The second is to pay developing countries – for past climate misdeeds of developed countries and for the efforts required of developing countries to contain their own future emissions. We are reminded though, in the treaty, that the “over riding priority” of developing countries “remains sustainable economic growth and poverty eradication, an effort which has been complicated by the effects of climate change”. So, the burden of cost and that of reducing emissions is squarely put on developed countries.
The economic consequences of cutting emissions have been heavily debated here in Australia and elsewhere without, of course, any consensus emerging. The problem is that no one actually knows what the economic consequences will be; it is mostly conjecture. It is claimed on one side that the loss of jobs in emitting industries will be made up for by green jobs and, moreover, that the costs of doing nothing about emissions will outweigh the costs of acting resolutely to cut emissions. On the other side, it is claimed that cutting emissions will result in economic dislocation and loss of wealth and, moreover, will make very little difference to atmospheric CO2 levels.
Read the rest here