Hypocrisy alive and well at Cancun climate conference

Amanda Carey Contributor
Font Size:

From November 29 to December 10, delegates from 194 countries gathered in sunny Cancun, Mexico to “lay the ghost of Copenhagen to rest,” as one dignitary put it. After last year’s chaotic, disastrous and worthless climate change conference in Copenhagen, the goal this year was simple: avoid further embarrassment.

The focus has been on hashing out details for a global climate fund, extending the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, and establishing an official agreement among developed countries to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by about 40 percent by 2020.

But in the middle of all the global-warming demagoguery and calls for developed nations to shell out $100 billion per year by 2020 in climate reparations to help less-developed countries cope with the unfair burden of climate change, one thing has very obviously not changed: the hypocrisy.

Yes, hypocrisy was present in Cancun just as it was in Copenhagen in 2009, Ponzan in 2008, Bali in 2007, and the many other climate change summit cities before them. As hundreds of officials travel in gas-guzzling jets and carbon-dioxide emitting cars to the conference site and stay in luxurious, high electricity-consuming resorts, the carbon footprint of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is ironic, to say the least.

The unbearable spectacle of it all is what prompted one climate scholar to stop attending the conferences all together. Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of the newly-released “Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America,” told The Daily Caller he hasn’t been to the annual U.N. climate change conference since it was held in Montreal in 2005.

“The ritual teary-eyed Europeans declaring a never-ending series of ‘historic agreements,’ which were no such thing, became too farcical to continue attending,” said Horner. “The enterprise is pompously and risibly dedicated in equal parts to wealth redistribution and self-perpetuation, as a platform for, and along the way, engaging in visceral anti-Americanism.”

According to The Telegraph, the carbon footprint of the Cancun conference is five times larger than it was for the 2009 conference in Copenhagen, despite the fact that attendance this year was significantly lower. The figure of the carbon footprint released by the Mexican government is 25,000 tons.

The plan is to offset the conference’s carbon footprint by protecting forests and planting trees in the surrounding poor areas.

The Telegraph article also pointed out that although recycling bins were located throughout the lavish Moon Palace hotel, the closest actual recycling facility was hundreds of miles away.

According to one conference attendee who described the “heavy-duty partying and food” as “remarkable in its hypocrisy,” common-sense efficiency would have done a lot to reduce the conference’s energy consumption.

“There were buses that would transport the delegates to the hotel every ten minutes,” said Steve Lonegan, a state director for Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Republican challenger for governor of New Jersey in 2009. According to Lonegan, the buses would run whether they had passengers or not.

“Many times you would just see two to three delegates on a 60-person bus,” added AFP’s Erik Telford, who also attended the conference.

Moreover, for all the talk on reducing emissions, bicycles were not made available for attendees to use. “There was not a single bicycle in sight,” Lonegan told TheDC.

Telford also told TheDC about a display put together by a group of Mexican school children. “It was a model of what the world would look like and what it looks like now because of climate change. It was totally distorted,” he said, “and was very extreme and exaggerated.”

Telford also said he and his group encountered a woman who admitted to teaching the school children that they should be “very conscious” about growing up and having lots of kids because a big population destroys the earth.

But for Lonegan, the real head-turner came when he toured the conference’s model environmental home, something he described as looking like a replica of “Soviet-era” housing and was about the size of a dorm room. The home, he said, had a “small kitchen with a tiny stove, the shower head in the bathroom was about the size of a nickel and the laundry room featured a bath tub and washboard.”

“Oh and the tub drains into the garden. This is supposed to be the environmental home of the future,” Lonegan added before pointing out the irony he saw in U.N. leaders advocating that kind of house while staying in a five-star hotel close by.

Nevertheless, he went on to say, “This house is like their manifesto, their effort to make everyone globally live like this.”

So will Cancun turn out to be more successful than Copenhagen? Skeptics say probably not. Developed countries are wary about committing millions to a global fund, but less-developed nations won’t sign any agreement without it.  In terms of energy consumption and global-warming alarmism, however, Cancun easily surpassed the competition of past conferences.