On the last hour of the last day in Doha: a singout

According to the Columbia Climate Law blog:

Doha COP Report: Friday, December 7

This should have been the last of our reports from the UNFCCC negotiations in Doha, but it is now in the early hours of Saturday, December 8 and it appears that the negotiations are far from over. A message frequently repeated today was the need to create a “package” outcome, which no party may think was perfect, but which represented a fair and balanced compromise that all parties could agree to.
At roughly 11:30pm on Friday evening, the COP meeting was opened. It is expected that the meeting will go well into Saturday (and possibly Sunday), and the details of the package that will be agreed are still unclear to most observers. At the beginning of the meeting, a video produced by “Sing for the Climate” was screened, showing hundreds of people singing that “we need to build a better future, and we need to start right now.” [pls. see below -hro] While most people in the room shared the sentiment of the video, it also seemed that the call to act “right now” may have been better coming at the beginning of these negotiations, rather than in the last hour of the last scheduled day of the talks. [emphasis added -hro]

So, presumably, the future of the planet is at stake and those who are responsible for agreeing to the directions don’t have a clue what’s going on!

Oh, well, I’ve perused some of the many mind-numbingly abstruse documents that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has put online, and I’d be really interested in knowing how many of the voting delegates have actually read and comprehended that which they’ve “agreed to”. Or even if they care!

As Walter Russell Mead has observed:

Climate Conference Ends in Disgrace
The only real winners here were the bureaucrats in the diplomacy industry for whom endless rounds of carbon spewing conferences with no agreement year after year mean jobs, jobs, jobs.

The Kyoto protocol, the ineffectual walking dead climate treaty, will lurch on for a few more years, toothless and brain dead.

Andrew Montford, aka Bishop Hill, author of The Hockey Stick Illusion and its sequel, Hiding the Decline has a take that is is somewhat similar:

In Doha, a big green rent-seeking machine

A couple of weeks ago the great global warming bandwagon coughed and spluttered to a halt in Doha, the latest stop on its never-ending world tour. The annual UN climate conference COP18 is no small affair. This is a bandwagon whose riders number in the thousands: motorcades of politicians, buses full of technocrats and policy wonks and jumbo-jets full of hippies travelling half way round the world, (ostensibly) to save the planet from the (allegedly) pressing problem of climate change

This is despite the fact that nobody seems able to point to any great problems caused by the modest warming of the globe at the end of the last century — with global flood and hurricane levels plumbing levels rarely seen in the historical record, global sea ice levels at around their long-term average, new research suggesting that claims of increased levels of drought have been overstated, oh yes, and a distinct absence of any warming — there has been precious little for the delegates to get alarmed about.
[…] [The bureaucrats’] jobs are quite simply going to disappear if they come up with the wrong answer about climate change. Any statement that comes out of the UN climate machine — the UNFCC, the COPs, UNEP or the IPCC — has to be seen through this prism. When did you ever hear a bureaucracy announce that it was no longer required?

So faced with a certain unwillingness by some delegations to take the unhinged policy steps that many at the conference advocated, but mindful of the need to keep the bandwagon rolling, COP18 did what UN conferences usually do, agreeing to take drastic (but unspecified) steps in coming years. […]

As for that video, it is short and catchy with a very up-beat Klezmerish tune. On the bright side, it certainly beats the message of the 10:10 No Pressure disaster – and its use of kids two years ago.


But on the not so bright side, there is something that’s, well, somewhat alarming about this, don’t you think? Well, that’s the view from here.

10 thoughts on “On the last hour of the last day in Doha: a singout

  1. And to show solidarity, Greg Barker, the UK Environment Minister, has issued perhaps the silliest statement ever uttered by a British minister of the Crown (against some very stiff opposition, when he said that building windfarms in Africa would save British lives.

    Here is the string of ‘logic’ (more like leaps of faith)

    1) Building wind farms in Africa will reduce CO2 emissions;
    2) reducing CO2 emissions will mitigate dangerous climate change;
    3) dangerous climate change would cause instability in Africa;
    4) instability will cause failed states in Africa;
    5) failed states in Africa will require Britain to intervene;
    6) some of the people carrying out the intervention will be killed

    A joke, surely? Not to every British family, which will have to fork out 70 pounds a year to fund the 2.9 billion that this mouth-breathing idiot plans to hand over.

    • Yes, but leaps of faith and abuse of logic are what Barker does best, are they not?! He must be completely oblivious to the implications of his choices for his chances for re-election (which cannot come soon enough, I would think!)

  2. Would “Mad Dog” Barker be too harsh a sobriquet for him, following that utterance? Maybe he was out in the midday sun a little frequently during his trip to Doha.

    • t’s a remake of “Tomorrow belongs to me” without the leather trousers.

      That’s exactly what I found so, well, alarming about this video :-(

    • There are more “singing manifestations” (if you can bear to watch/listen) on a website, which is called (without a trace of irony) “Puppets With a Green Mission”; I’ve created a tinyurl, due to the very long link; it really is rather creepy.

      The music to which the words are set is a song called “Bella Ciao”; I wasn’t familiar with it but apparently it dates from World War II, and was sung by anti-fascist partisans in Italy. No political undertones there, then!

      I was also curious about the whole “sing for the climate” thing and wondered exactly how it had come about and who was behind it. Apparently the song is phase three of the “Big Ask” concept in Belgium, phases one and two being previous mass singing events. The “Big Ask” label tells us that the idea is the creation of Friends of the Earth (whose “Big AsK” campaign in the UK led up to the nodding through of the Climate Change Bill in 2008.)

      Here’s the Belgian “Big Ask” website, which is in Dutch but which Google will helpfully (and sometimes rather quirkily) translate:

      FoE is not acting alone but is a member of something called the Climate Coalition, which, according to its Facebook page, is a network “of more than 60 Belgian NGO’s aimed at convincing Belgian politicians to take their responsibilities and tackle climate change.” A website listing a few of these NGO’s is here (again in Dutch):

      These include old friends FoE, WWF, Greenpeace and Oxfam – “civil society”, in other words. And two of these at least – FoE and WWF – benefit from large sums of money paid out of the European Commission’s annual budget and are thus funded by the very EU citizens they are busy lobbying.

      “Puppets with a Green Mission” they might be, but the strings they would like to pull are ours!

    • Wow … thanks (I think!), Alex. These “Puppets on a Green Mission” could be “Muppets on a String” :-(

      Isn’t it amazing, though, how all these little kids manage to sing in (for the most part) quite un-accented English. I wonder how much they actually understood of what they were singing.

      A perusal of the Sing for the Climate website confirms your findings … and then some! The history is fascinating. The Big Ask certainly seems to have had some big bucks behind it.

      Their first video (2008) was cast under the shadow of scary stories (told through the eyes of a child):

      And I have to tell you, Alex, that following your leads almost ruined my weekend – which hasn’t even begun yet!

      But what brightened things up for me was seeing that this madness hasn’t really caught on here in Canada. Seems that the only Canadian municipality which has even come close to succumbing to this was Ottawa! The Sing for the Climate site seems to indicate that there were 20 participants – and that would include cameramen, and possibly the guy who photocopied the words they were all holding – if the voices and musicians in their video are anything to go by.

      But all were adults – at least chronologically. And as a former resident of this Nation’s capital, I’m pleased to say I didn’t recognize any of them! They struck a very lonely picture on Parliament Hill. Certainly no flashmob there, and very few passers-by!

    • That pathetic Ottawa meeting comprised 17 people, as far as I can tell from the video. Of which 2 were kids.

  3. Hilary, I’m reminded of the Catherine Aird quote: “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” When it comes to matters green, I suspect that you in Canada are the good example but that we in the UK (and EU) will have to serve as the horrible warning!

    • Alex, I had never heard of Aird (or her quote) before, nor have I considered myself to be a fan of MystLit. But on researching your mention of Aird, I was reminded of Charles Palliser’s (16 years in the writing) The Quincunx – the reading of which 700+pages compelled me to forego sleep for the better part of a weekend!

      So I am (temporarily) resisting the temptation to see if Aird’s works have been Kindlized :-)

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