The 16 U.S. Congressional delegates to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change were caught by surprise last week when Tim Wirth, Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, told them privately to keep their mouths shut and not criticize President Clinton's position during the meeting in Kyoto next month. Wirth's request was characterized by Republican staff as a "gag order."
As the Washington Times noted ("GOP hits 'gag' on global warming," Nov. 8 ), both Tim Wirth and then-Senator Albert Gore were highly visible and vocal critics of George Bush at the 1992 Rio "Earth Summit," but a State Department spokesman defended their comments, saying Gore and Wirth had attended only as observers, not delegates.
Some in Congress suspect a double-cross. The legislators had not asked to be delegates; they were designated by the Clinton Administration. As it so happens, some of the most outspoken critics of Clinton's global warming policies--Democrat John Dingell and Republicans James Sensenbrenner and Ben Gilman, among others--were so designated. Now the Administration is saying that, under the U.S. Constitution, the executive branch is entrusted with the sole authority to negotiate with foreign governments. In other words, shut up.
Some Congressmen are threatening to resign from the delegation and attend as "observers."
This move by the Clinton Administration is the latest in an organized effort to sustain the global warming message, and deflect any attacks. Similar efforts are underway in Europe. Not only has the UN arranged for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Canadian environmental group described as a "neutral source," to feed "Earth Negotiations Bulletins" (read pap) to the press but scientists with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are strangely dropping from sight. We have a report from Fred Singer that one of two IPCC scientists scheduled to speak at the conference "Climate Change: Causes and Consequences," beginning Tuesday in Bonn and co-sponsored by SEPP, the European Academy for Environmental Affairs and the European Academy for Environment and the Arts, canceled three days before the conference. The other scientist has yet to show. Clearly, dissent and debate are not meant to be part of these negotiations.
In Sweden, Bert Bolin, IPCC chairman for 8 years, continues to call for mandatory measures to reduce CO2. Quoted in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet (Nov. 4), Bolin says, "We do not as yet know particularly well how quickly climate change will come, and how far-reaching it might be, but on the other hand it might take a century, probably more, before an anthropogenic climate disturbance has disappeared." That, dear folks, is how an international bureaucrat tries to please both scientists and global warming politicos alike.
In San Francisco, Working Assets, the activist corporation that is to telephone service what Ben & Jerry's is to ice cream, announced in the New York Times that they've set up a toll free number so that citizens can call the White House and let Clinton know that they "expect quick action on key social and environmental matters." If anyone is confused about the issues, Working Assets executives provide a score card: "Yes" on the Climate Treaty, "No" on Defense spending,"No" on land mines, "Yes" on gay rights, "No" on teen smoking. Well, that simplifies things.
In Britain, the November 8 issue of the journal Lancet publishes two research papers claiming that, between the years 2000 and 2020, 8 million people worldwide will die from particulate-matter air pollution associated with fossil fuels, unless the world limits greenhouse gases to levels advocated by European nations. Science policy analyst Steve Milloy, an expert in assessing epidemiological research, calls these papers "junk science" and states that neither study is capable of associating particulate-matter air pollution with such small increases in mortality. Milloy says the appearance of these research papers is further evidence of a "disturbing trend" among science journals--timing the publication of research to coincide with new regulation proposals or the commencement of civil suits in order to have maximum public relations impact.
Well, you have to admire the ability of professional activists to coordinate this whole effort. This coming Thursday, Nov. 13, the National Council of Churches will stage press conferences all across the United States to introduce a television spot--called a "public service" announcement--that will inform Americans of their "moral obligation to fight global warming." The NCC press release says they welcome "participation by the environmental community in these press conferences." We suspect the NCC welcomed their money too. The spot will be broadcast over the weeks leading up to Kyoto.
Finally, to assuage any anxiety that government-funded scientists might be feeling over Tim Wirth's "the science is settled" remark, we'd just like to announce that the Global Warming International Center USA will hold its 9th annual "Global Warming International Conference and Expo" in Hong Kong June 8-11. GW9 will feature a "Greenhouse Gas Workshop" for energy and technology executives, greenhouse gas mitigation technology, CO2 utilization consortium, publications, softwares, over 200 research papers and panel discussions, and displays by organizations committed to natural resource management. The press release says previous Global Warming "Expos" have been held in Vienna, San Francisco, and New York City, among other nice spots, and that they are "delighted to bring this global dialogue to Asia."
On October 23rd, the editors of the Wall Street Journal commented on this kind of event in attempting to analyze the current global warming "climate." In our view, however, they behaved rather like the proverbial skunk at the garden party.
"Some of the great hotel bills of our time have been run up by climate scientists and policy types gathered at various venues around the globe to debate the accuracy of computers crunching the global warming data inputs," said the Journal editors. They added, "Anytime we hear someone saying we can't wait for the public-policy process to slog forward, it's safe to assume we've left the realm of mere politics for the higher reaches of a new religion. At the same time, the politicians will always be with us. Nothing particularly spiritual about their needs. So how to explain that a whopping 150 countries' politicos will show up in Kyoto, Japan, to cut a deal on global warming? This one's pretty easy. Global warming is a new revenue base. It's something to tax."
Until next time.