Officials from about 190 nations are staying at five-star hotels this week in Doha, capital city of the tiny Arab state of Qatar, which pokes like a thumb from its border with Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf. The bigwigs are attending the 18th United Nations Conference on Climate Change in the ultra-extravagant Qatar National Conference Centre. Good choice: Qatar has the highest carbon emissions per capita on Earth.
Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said the agenda in Doha -- in addition to the usual items, like stopping hydrocarbon use, transfering wealth, regulating economic growth and controlling people's lives -- is to bring about "a complete economic transformation of the world."
Translation: "Wealthy nations, you will give $100 billion a year to the United Nations' Green Climate Fund so we can dole it out to our kleptocrat friends in poor nations who will claim to use it for global warming purposes from their yachts."
Craig Rucker and a team from the Washington-based Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow -- the only climate-skeptic environmental organization recognized by the U.N. -- are watchdogging the Doha doings. Rucker, CFACT executive director, told me from Doha that President Obama's special envoy for climate change, Todd Stern, is cheering Figueres on.
Obama's chief Doha diplomat said in a Monday press conference that the United States will sign the replacement for the expiring Kyoto Protocol. The new treaty is supposed to be concluded by 2015 and take effect in 2020.
"With the U.S. teetering on its own fiscal cliff," Rucker said, "it's going to be a partisan war in Congress looking for billions in the budget for other governments to play with."
CFACT President David Rothbard -- after some pointed remarks about Doha's slow, ancient buses shuttling to and from the lavish conference center with "Share The Ride -- Cut The Carbon" painted on their grimy sides -- seconded Rucker's comment: "Even if President Obama doesn't get what he wants in Congress, he'll try getting it by executive order. Remember, in 1997, senators voted by 95 to zip not to accept any treaty that requires us to do as the U.N. secretariat says. Yet President Clinton's Environmental Protection Agency imposed Kyoto-like regulations. The point is to have no treaty."
CFACT, the ever-resourceful prank artists of climate change, came to Doha with dozens of silly-looking little rubber masks they called "sequestration of inhalation" devices. Their video of the gag shows attendees welcoming the mask after they were told it would capture CO2 as they exhale.
The United Kingdom's ranking climate gadfly and CFACT ally, Lord Christopher Monckton, joined the team in Doha, equipped, as usual, with the latest inconvenient truths for the overheated zealots who insist that warming is getting faster. He wrote in the CFACT blog, "The Met Office [the U.K.'s national weather service] temperature data, which the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has always cited as gospel, shows no warming for the last 16 years. How dare the UN demand we turn our money and our sovereignty over to them when their own data disproves their case?"
Monckton also protested the U.N.'s use of the term "climate denier", with its malevolent overtones of Holocaust denial. With the Met Office's data ignored, who's the "climate denier"?
What are the chances of stopping another Kyoto-type treaty? Rothbard and Rucker note that China, Brazil, India, Indonesia and others refuse to limit the use of fossil fuels they need to build their economies and lift millions out of poverty. Some nations are wising up that the money is uncertain and carbon dioxide emission restrictions will prevent them from expanding and subject them to control by environmental activists and U.N. regulators. We hope they'd rather be "climate deniers" than poor and enslaved.
Examiner Columnist Ron Arnold is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.