Buried in the 133 pages of gobbledygook agreed to at last week’s UN climate summit are two very dangerous provisions. These greatly advance the green cause known as “loss and damage.”
This is where the green goal is for the developed countries like America to pay for all of the damages supposedly due to climate change, especially in the developing countries. Given that pretty much all bad weather is now attributed to human caused climate change, the potential amount of wealth transfer is simply staggering. I explain this in my May article titled “Absurd “loss & damage” policy advances at UN’s Bonn climate summit.”
The new provisions added at the Katowice, Poland summit meeting do not yet call for this sort of compensation, but they lay the groundwork for it. This is because they allow the developing countries to build their fantasy case in detail. Liability lawyers are going to love this.
These are basically paperwork provisions, but as I said in an earlier article on the Katowice summit, paperwork has implications.
First off, there is to be an annual report of climate change actions and events. This report was originally intended to facilitate verification of each country’s claimed climate change efforts under the Paris Agreement. Each country has what is called “Nationally Determined Contributions” for addressing climate change and the idea is that their progress needs to be monitored. Thus the UN-speak for this yearly report is called the “Transparency Framework” because it is designed for watching what countries are doing.
The sorts of things originally intended to be reported are CO2 emissions, emission reductions, adaptation projects, as well as financial transactions. The latter are a big deal, especially funding by developed countries to developing countries.
However, it is now the case that developing countries can also annually report loss and damage from climate change. They will certainly do this and they have every incentive to make the numbers as big as possible. I can imagine countries competing to see who has been hit hardest. They are, after all, hoping to get paid and the bigger the hit the more they make.
Countries can even include projected future loss and damage. (Damage refers to things that can be fixed, albeit perhaps at great cost. Loss includes things like lives and crops.) These projections open the door to wild speculation using computer modeling, along the lines of the recent reports from the IPCC and the National Climate Assessment.
The second provision has to do with what is called the “Global Stocktake.” This is a recurring five year assessment, based on the cumulative Transparency Framework reports. Here we can expect to see truly huge numbers for global losses and damages. (It remains to be seen if preposterous claims can be challenged within the UN process.)
All of the above is artfully designed to put pressure for compensation on America and the other developed countries. These numbers can also support claims for compensation in the Courts. There is even a proposal to have a big tax on fossil fuels, the proceeds going to pay for losses and damages.
Here is how proponents of this monster tax put it in a recently released 32 page report titled “The Climate Damages Tax: A guide to what it is and how it works.” They ominously say this:
“A day of reckoning is coming. There is a price for heating up the planet and to date the fossil fuel industry have fled the table without paying the bill. When climate change has brought devastation, poorest countries and communities have been left to pay. The Climate Damages Tax (CDT) proposal set out in this paper can help rectify this situation by making the fossil fuel industry pay for their damage.”
It is mind boggling that the developed countries allowed this to happen in Katowice. Under UN rules any country can veto a position, so the developed countries should have piled on the vetoes. Note that the U.S. is still at the table; in fact they successfully challenged a motion to “welcome” the latest IPCC scaremongering report, on the grounds that they do not accept it as accurate.
But this nice gesture is as nothing compared to allowing developing countries to make unsupported claims for trillions of dollars in loss and damage, which is just where we are now going under these dangerous new Paris Accord provisions. Then the question of compensation will hit the fan for sure.