Major economies meet to talk climate change

Representatives from the world’s major economic powers responsible for 80 percent of global emissions will meet in New York City to discuss climate change.

The talks are a part of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, launched by US President Barack Obama following last year’s disappointing conference in Copenhagen.

Pat Michaels, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC said the meeting will be useless; saying nothing of substance will likely come out of the event. In particular no new policies would be developed, he argued.

This is another in a series of failed negations on Climate Change,” he said.

He explained that the topic is politically unpopular given the current economic crisis. World leaders are not able to convince their constituents to accept expensive environmental policies.

He [Obama] has to save face with his environmental constituency. We have an election coming up. People on his side aren’t very enthusiastic and he has to give them something to be enthusiastic about, so there’s a lot of posturing here on that part,” said Michaels.

With high unemployment numbers it is hard to convince people that the costs associated with environmental protection are necessary, he added.

The follow-up conference to the Copenhagen meeting will be held in November in Cancun, Mexico. Michaels said he does not expect much from that conference as well. He even poked at the fact that the time, money and emissions required to hold such an event are counterproductive to the climate change discussion.

“I wonder what the carbon emissions are of all these people with all these jet airplanes going across the ocean?” he asked. “We really don’t have to do this in person. We have electronic communication. Maybe it would really be a measure of people’s seriousness if they stopped flying to disagree and started texting to agree.”

Michaels further argued that the best first step toward address climate change would be to get the world’s economies back on track so there is money available for businesses, individuals and governments to invest in environmental protection.