The 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that begins this week in Durban isn’t expected to see much progress in replacing Kyoto.
For those who believe that the Kyoto process is politically dangerous, economically destructive and based on dubious science, this is a good thing. Nevertheless, there is bound to be plenty of hand-wringing over the failure of rich countries to hand over more cash to poor ones as “compensation” for the climate catastrophe to come. This is one of the reasons why Al Gore and Archbishop Desmond Tutu maintain that climate change is a “moral issue.” The psychological roots and practical consequences of this claim have received much less attention than they deserve.
Lord Andrew Turnbull, a former head of the British Civil Service, has become profoundly concerned about the corruption of climate science by moralism. “There is a strong alignment,” he told me, “between those who subscribe to anthropogenic global warming as the preponderant driver of climate change, and those whose view of the world is fundamentally antimarket and anti-capitalist. That climate change should have become part of the battle of political ideas is not surprising. What is profoundly shocking is the way large parts of the scientific community have allowed themselves to be co-opted into this movement.”
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