Friday, March 26, 2010

Slowly deflating

"European Union leaders are cooling on their ambition to fight global warming, leaving a key greenhouse-gas emissions reduction target out of a draft statement prepared for a summit on Friday, internal documents show."

So said Earth Times - typically referring to this weekend's European Council as a "summit", unable like so many to come to grips with the basic institutional structure of the EU.

That aside, it noted that the EU had already pledged to cut emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and to deepen the cut to 30 percent if other rich nations made "comparable" efforts.

But, we were told, a draft "summit" declaration on long-term economic planning seen by the German Press Agency dpa set as the EU's goal for 2020 "reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 percent compared to 1990 levels," but had no reference to the 30 percent goal.

Then we learned that, "at the eleventh hour", our brave leaders have agreed to reinstate this "key goal". The blockage had come from the Italians and Cypriots, who somehow had residual objections to committing economic suicide.

However, all this is a far cry from the heady days of 2007 when Rajendra Pachauri was sweeping all before him, and the green agenda was conquering the world. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, it is dawning on the political élites that their global warming scam is no longer a runner.

It is struggling to get on the agenda and, if past experience is any guide, the tactic will be to talk about it less and less, until the issue is parked and forgotten.

And what is happening on the international stage is being replicated at local level. In an important but much neglected survey highlighted by the left-wing blog Left Foot Forward, it is clear that UK political parties are failing to convince the electorate that any of them have a distinctive voice on the environment.

Lib-Dims apart, who still have ambitions of making climate change an electoral issue, the Tories and Labour will be doing their best to avoid green issues during the election campaign – paying lip-service to the theme while avoiding anything that will upset the voters.

For, while the science is no longer "settled" – not that it ever was – in the popular mind the issue certainly is. The overwhelming sentiment is that it is a tax-raising "scam", part of the continuum of dishonesty perpetrated by self-serving politicians who are concerned only to line their own pockets. Interest is evaporating - it is just another political scam to add to the rest.

No wonder the greenies are beginning to panic, pouring out reports about how to deal with the "sceptics". They have lost it. They don't know how or why, and have yet to come to terms with the fact that they are not going to get back to the good old days. The bubble has not burst - it's not going to be like that. It is slowly deflating.