The United Nations Climate Change Conference recently took place in Warsaw, Poland from November 11-23. The recurring conference provides an opportunity for global leaders to cooperatively address climate change and its impact across multiple sectors of society. An array of workshops discussed the relationship between climate change and urbanization, agriculture, gender issues, and multilateral environmental agreements. Stakeholders, including religious groups observed the conference with great interest, according to Religion News Service.
The conference was not without controversy. On November 21st, humanitarian and environmental groups walked out of the conference in protest of its insufficient agenda, according to the Guardian. In a collective statement, thirteen organizations (including ActionAid, Greenpeace, Oxfam International, and WWF) accused wealthy countries at the conference of "directly undermining the UNFCCC itself". The statement accused conference participants of valuing energy company interests over the needs of global citizens, criticizing Japan, Australia, and Canada by name for their environmental policies. Representatives from Christian Aid and SCIAF lamented missed opportunities for progress, according to Christianity Today.
After a long deadlock, delegates paved the way for a global climate treaty in Paris in 2015, reported BBC News. According to a November 23rd press release, the conference decided to create an international mechanism to protect vulnerable populations from climate change impacts, such as sea level rise and extreme weather events. The conference also arrived at decisions to address greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.
While the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw was flawed, such gatherings are necessary if the world is to confront climate change. Climate change is very real, and it continues to have a significant impact on public health, food security, and migration. Vulnerable populations such as people in poverty, females, and children are disproportionately affected and deserve special attention. Even if global gatherings such as the Warsaw conference experience problems, climate change is still an urgent problem, and global conversations are still vital.
Unfortunately, some observers think otherwise. Voices from the Eagle Forum and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow blasted the Warsaw conference for its alleged attacks on developed nations and favoritism toward poor countries. In their caricatures of the conference, eco-imperialists spouted junk science, delegates urged rich countries to give hand-outs to poor ones, and women were relegated to poverty.
In a November 20th commentary, Schlafly blasts the conference with her usual venom. Schlafly claims that the UN climate change conference is a ploy to get more money from the U.S. She insists that the idea that Americans are part of a global economy is "a deceitful message to con us into a plan to add the poor countries around the earth to our list of welfare handout recipients."
Schlafly accuses the UN of piling blame on the U.S. and other developed nations for the state of the environment. She caricatures arguments made by environmentalists and development voices, claiming that the UN is scapegoating developed nations for benefiting from industrialization.
"The UN talks are about blame. The UN has made the case that developed nations (i.e., the United States) are to blame because we enjoy the fruits of the industrial revolution in our lifestyles by polluting a finite atmosphere and that causes global warming.Instead of acknowledging the reality of global warming and the need for global conclaves (no matter how imperfect), Schlafly dismisses global warning outright.
Our standard of living is supposed to be cheating developing nations from achieving lifestyles like ours. The UN calls it our “historical responsibility” to pay reparations in money and technology."
"These talks started with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. These pompous globalists have convinced themselves, and now want to convince the world, they can both predict and control the weather.
The UN persists in its goal to convince the world that human activity causes global warming, and that global warming will devastate the earth. Even though the earth has not warmed since 1998, UN agencies continue to issue reports claiming that global warming not only exists but is getting worse.
Their claims are based on pseudoscience and unreliable computer models used to predict weather patterns. China and India are two of the biggest carbon emitters but they refuse to contribute to the poor nations."
Other voices at Eagle Forum were hostile to the Warsaw conference as well. In a November 24th piece, Eagle Forum's Cathie Adams accuses the conference of adopting futile anti-poverty measures and favoring poor countries over rich ones. Adams expresses disappointment that the U.S. "caved" on the loss-and-damages strategy and the Green Climate Fund.
"The UNFCCC is following the model of the American “war on poverty” that did nothing to lift people out of poverty, but did great damage to families by making them dependent upon the government. Likewise, starve 1.3 billion people around the globe of their ability to produce energy and they will be forever beholden to handouts from the UN.
Poor countries are always the winners and the rich countries are always the losers, yet radical environmentalists never let up on their goal to globally redistribute wealth. And it is heart-wrenching to watch the U.S. agree to its agenda ... The radical environmentalists, like Marxists throughout history, refuse to recognize that economic utopia, absolute equality, is a pipe dream."
Eagle Forum was not the only right-wing group lambasting the Warsaw conference. The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) devoted several blog posts to ridiculing the Warsaw conference. It should be noted that CFACT's board of advisors includes E. Calvin Beisner (spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance).
In a November 24th CFACT commentary, Craig Rucker warned that "age of eco-imperialism is upon us". Rucker made no attempt to hide his disdain for the "warning-left pressure groups" of the "radical enviro-left" who walked out of the conference. He warned that environmental NGOs are still "in control of the game" and will work diligently toward their agenda.
"The outcome of the Warsaw climate summit is too tepid to satisfy the radical enviro-left. Their complaints will be shrill and many.In a November 22nd CFACT piece, Christina Wilson accused the UN of "exploiting gender issues to hustle its new climate treaty." Wilson championed coal, oil, and nuclear power, insisting that combating poverty through "affordable energy" would help women more than climate change initiatives. In making this assertion, she ignores the considerable environmental risks of such energy sources, as well as evidence that climate change is a significant issue for women and girls worldwide.
Realists who disagree with the UN’s take on global-warming science and policy will take comfort from the outcome’s lack of firm commitments, weasel words, and delays. If they let down their guard, they will demonstrate the true meaning of global-warming denial.
While the UN’s global-warming mandarins and profiteers may have liked more, they jet out of Warsaw still in control of the game. They leave Poland with the U.S. finally inside the global-warming tent, no nettlesome procedural reforms, and their road to a Paris global-warming treaty difficult but still in sight. They will immediately resume their endless series of backroom deals at quiet subsidiary meetings. Bureaucracy may be inefficient, but it is persistent. When UN global-warming bureaucrats are persistent, you pay."
"They are just distracting from the real issues here. If the climate crowd truly cared about women’s issues, they would focus on the link between poverty and affordable energy instead of wasting time, money, and resources on policies based on junk science.Right-wing voices can ignore climate change and mock efforts to confront it, but they will find themselves increasingly on the fringe. Climate change is too pressing to ignore, with too much evidence to dismiss. Instead of caricaturing climate change talks, right-wing groups should look at them with nuanced eyes. Instead of sneering at the idea of climate change, right-wing figures should take constructive action to combat it.
A new climate treaty would do nothing meaningful to alter global temperature and would do even less for gender issues. The real reason women and men are affected adversely by natural disasters is due to inadequate resources and access to energy.
The developed world has less gender inequality than those in developing nations. This is because wealthier nations have developed using affordable, reliable resources like coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear power. To deny developing nations access to these same resources would be morally wrong."
The road to a more environmentally conscious world will be a bumpy one, as evidenced by the difficulties of the Warsaw conference. However, global conversations are still vital for confronting environmental issues, and global treaties can still do good. Future climate change talks should seek to avoid the problems that plagued the Warsaw conference and develop collaborative strategies and policies.