Chicken Littles have come to roost in COP19


Sometimes a small lie, being told for whatever reason, can be taken to an new unexpected level by the reaction by those who take the lie for granted. It forms often the hilarious plot of comedies.

It happened also at the Warsaw summit. After decades of demonizing CO2, the developing countries took that for granted and at the COP19 summit they turned it up a notch. On November 20 the delegations of the G77 (a coalition of developing nations) walked out the summit because they didn’t see a commitment by the developed nations. The issue they had was on “loss and damage”. This was the, ahem, “money” quote (my emphasis):

Developing countries negotiating at COP19 have repeatedly stated that creating an international mechanism under UNFCCC to address loss and damage is the biggest expectation they have of the Warsaw meeting.

It was never a big secret that the developing countries want to be on the receiving end, but this is the clearest you can get.

Typhoon Haiyan lays at the base of this issue, brought forward as some countries that “already are suffering the deadly impact of climate change”. Therefor they want a compensation for this damage done by the developed countries, they obviously “caused” the whole shebang.

How did they got that far? The initial lie by the politicians and the media was that extreme disasters like droughts and storms are getting more powerful and/or more frequent due to global warming caused by our emissions. Probably in order to facilitate the political process to curb emissions. Whatever. The lie is still being perpetuated. For example, Ban Ki-moon was, speaking at Tallinn University in Estonia on November 16, claiming that:

[…] We have seen now what has happened in the Philippines. It is an urgent warning,” he said, “an example of changed weather and how climate change is affecting all of us on earth”. […]

[…] “We need action before it is too late,” said the UN chief, adding that a rise in temperatures would “affect us all. The threat is very real, and we all have to take responsibility to stop it.” […]

Probably putting in the (not warranted) certainty and the urgency to put pressure on the negotiators, but in the light of the lie it is easily understood as yet another guilt declaration.

Haiyan is attributed to global warming/climate change created by our emissions, a claim that is not supported by the scientific evidence. The IPCC said that there have been “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century”. Yet, the UN ignored its own science report to claim this typhoon is somehow linked with our historical emissions, making it our fault. This little lie apparently came back to haunt them.

We shouldn’t be surprised that the developing countries use the tragedy of the Philippines to propose these additional demands. They are smart enough to come to the obvious conclusion that if it is true that our historical emissions caused current global warming (that is what the politicians and the press have been telling them all along) and as a consequence make Haiyan happen and/or worse, then follows that we did harm. You break it, you pay for it.

Can you blame them for trying? We made it really easy for them to come to that conclusion.


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