‘Tis the season to be gloomy … an annotated climate carol

In the Fall of 2007, Marjorie Mazel-Hecht authored a “Special Report” on the 1975 ‘Endangered Atmosphere’ Conference convened by the late Margaret Mead [h/t reader David R].

Many high profile prophets of doom and gloom were in attendance – as they wrote the “playbook” for what has come to be known as the annual confab of the United Nations’ “Climate Conference”, aka the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Using a powerful musical model, my mouse and I have unearthed the heretofore unknown lyrics to this virtually unchained – and unchanged – melody.

The melody is below if you’d like to sing along … and for each day of this COP19, which began on November 11, I shall reveal an annotation, which will be added to the bottom of this post. However, since today is already Day 4, you get three annotations … all together now …


Deck the press with doom a-looming1
Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah-wah
‘Tis the season to be fuming2
Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah-wah

Don we now our green apparel3
Wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah
As we launch our pre-Yule quarrel4
Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah-wah

See the polar bears are sinking5
Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah-wah
No more water left for drinking6
Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah-wah

Follow me in gloomy measure7
Wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah
Must act now if earth we treasure8
Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah-wah

Fast away the time is passing9
Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah-wah
To reduce our greenhouse gassing10
Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah-wah

Calls for more cash all together11
Wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah
Heed we must the wind and weather12
Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah-wah

Music [If anyone would like to volunteer to create a video in which lyrics below are replaced with those above, I’d be forever in your debt:-)]


UPDATE: 11/14/2013 10:36 PM PST In addition to the annotation for line/day 4, for ease of association, I have now included the relevant lyric line for each annotation.

Do feel free to nominate your suggested annotation(s) for other lyric lines in the comments :-)

1 [Deck the press with doom a-looming] See UN climate talks in Warsaw darkened by Typhoon Haiyan, the CBC’s “contribution” (churned from an AP piece):

The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan cast a gloom over U.N. climate talks Monday as the envoy from the Philippines broke down in tears and announced he would fast until a “meaningful outcome is in sight.”

Naderev “Yeb” Sano’s emotional appeal was met with a standing ovation [and a bouquet of flowers -hro] at the start of two-week talks in Warsaw where more than 190 countries will try to lay the groundwork for a new pact to fight global warming.

UPDATE 11/17/2013 To the surprise of few (if any, I suspect) UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has now weighed in with his highly unscientific and hyper-emotional recycling of this particular meme of the month:

UN head Ban Ki-moon says Typhoon Haiyan due to climate change

UN LEADER Ban Ki-moon said a super typhoon that killed thousands in the Philippines was an example of climate change and should serve as a warning to mankind.
The UN chief said the world was facing a tipping point, as countries thrash out a deal to be signed in 2015 to cut Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

“There are a lot of people on Earth who seem to believe we have two Earths,” Ban said.

“We have seen now what has happened in the Philippines. It is an urgent warning,” he said, “an example of changed weather and how climate change is affecting all of us on Earth.” [emphasis added -hro]

2 [‘Tis the season to be fuming] Because I am somewhat bilingual, this is a play on words: The French verb “fumer” means “to smoke”, so I was left wondering what Stephan Lewandowsky and Michael Mann were smoking when they co-wrote:

Subterranean War: Some Reasonable Questions and Answers
This week’s typhoon that is now estimated to have killed 10,000 people in the Philippines might have occurred in the absence of climate change, although global warming likely put it on steroids. [emphasis added -hro]

Isn’t it good to know that these “experts” (who need no data) are “reticent … [and] … overly conservative” in their pronouncements, eh?!

3 [Don we now our green apparel] Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is less frequently heard from these days; but when he is tossing his scripted word-salads (as he did on Day 1), he invariably dons a green tie and matching pocket handkerchief:


4 [As we launch our pre-Yule quarrel] During these COPs, there are several other committees, groups, and what-have-you’s that also hold sessions. One such group is the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). For some strange reason, “Finance” invariably enters the picture of far too many of these groups; and such discussions are not always … well, truth be told, rarely if ever harmonious.

By way of example, here’s an excerpt from the IISD’s summary of the Nov. 14th proceedings:

FINANCE: During the ADP’s morning open-ended consultations on finance, Co-Chair Runge-Metzger invited delegates to consider climate finance in the 2015 agreement for the implementation of post-2020 commitments and post-2020 institutional arrangements.

BOLIVIA, CHINA, CUBA, ECUADOR, KUWAIT, IRAN, NICARAGUA, SAUDI ARABIA, SIERRA LEONE and VENEZUELA questioned the proposed focus, stressing that developing countries are uncomfortable with concentrating on post-2020 issues without first discussing pre-2020 finance. SWITZERLAND supported the Co-Chairs’ proposed approach, saying that focused discussions will enable real progress. Underlining the need to move forward, COLOMBIA urged immediate engagement on substance.

Most parties agreed that the 2015 agreement should build on existing institutions, noting the need for enhancing them. Many developing countries called for: new, additional and scaled up finance; public finance to be the main source of climate finance; MRV of support; a finance chapter in the 2015 agreement with the same legal force as the agreement’s other elements; aggregate and individual targets for developed countries’ financial commitments; and a finance roadmap, with the US$100 billion annual target as a starting point. Some also emphasized that South-South cooperation is a voluntary effort. [emphasis added -hro]

5 [See the polar bears are sinking] Or if you prefer See the polar bears are shrinking.

Both work equally well, I’m sure, from an alarmist’s doom and gloom perspective! Funny, but in all the “high level” scary stories that I’ve seen emanating from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)’s maze – particularly its “flagship” UNFCCC – I don’t recall seeing much in the way of “polar bear porn”.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said of some “polar bear experts”. One such “expert”, Steven Amstrup, has moved into the hyperbolic realm of the likes of Michael Mann (please see 2 above) and Andrew <barrage of intergalactic ballistic missiles> Weaver (in his pre-“passion for politics” days).

But as zoologist, Dr. Susan Crockford recently noted on her Polar Bear Science blog:

Amstrup compares climate change to a Titanic for polar bears
He said he likes to compare climate change’s effect on polar bears to the infamous Titanic ocean liner.

“[It] didn’t matter how many people were on the Titanic or how well they were doing,” he said. “When the Titanic slipped beneath the waves and they lost their habitat, that was it. So polar bears will also go away because of their dependence on sea ice.”

Amstrup really wants people to believe that all the polar bears in the world will die some day, all at once, in some mega ice-loss catastrophe!

This is absolutely ridiculous, fear-mongering hyperbole. […] (emphasis and colour added by Crockford)

None of this hype is having much (if any) effect. One wonders if these hypsters have deluded themselves into thinking that they’ve reached “peak” diminishing returns! Certainly they’ve had no impact on the government of Japan, which confirmed earlier today [h/t Benny Peiser via GWPF]:

Japan Stuns UN Climate Summit By Ditching CO2 Target

[Japan’s] new target effectively reverses course from the goal set four years ago by allowing a 3.1 per cent increase in emissions from 1990 levels rather than seeking a 25 per cent cut. […]

[and from Reuters:]

Japan’s decision added to gloom at the Warsaw talks, where no major countries have announced more ambitious goals to cut emissions, […] (emphasis added -hro)

6 [No more water left for drinking] As Canada’s Dr. Tim Ball recently reminded us:

In [the] UN’s Agenda 21 [water is] a separate category in Chapter 18 – The Water Page.

18.3. The widespread scarcity, gradual destruction and aggravated pollution of freshwater resources in many world regions, along with the progressive encroachment of incompatible activities, demand integrated water resources planning and management. [emphasis added -hro]

Agenda 21 could probably be best described as the so-called “outcome document” of the original (1992) Rio convention, officially known as the “United Nations Conference on Environment and Development” (UNCED in UN-speak). At 350 pages [see link in sidebar], I find it extremely unlikely that many (if any) of the delegates – who may well have thought this was a good idea at the time, so to speak – had actually read this sleep-inducing compilation of bureaucratic word-salads prior to accepting, endorsing or whatever “the process” might have been at the time. (For additional background on Agenda 21, please see this post)

Needless to say the UN’s water-stream of must-act-now alarmism has flowed as incessantly as that of the dreaded CO2, albeit somewhat more quietly, to date.

My guess is that this doom and gloom induced water-scare is more likely to be subsumed under the gradually increasingly higher-profile umbrella of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which has an interesting tagline under their logo: “Science and Policy for People and Nature“.

I suppose there is something to be said for the somewhat more “transparent” agenda of this IPCC younger sibling (which I first wrote about over three years ago!) While it is “modelled” on the IPCC, unlike the latter, the IPBES does not appear to pretend that it is not advocating “policy”.

Also on the waterfront, during a “side event” on Nov. 16, in a session entitled “Carbon Management in GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council -hro] Countries”, presented by the GCC and Saudi Arabia:

Hussain Bishri, Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY), Saudi Arabia, focused on the environmental benefits of reusing claimed water in Jubail Industrial City (JIC), Saudi Arabia. He concluded that water has precious values and each drop must be accounted for, and that the Royal Commission’s recycling and landscape program gave a new look to JIC, saving energy and reducing GHG emissions at the same time.

Considering Bishri’s “concerns”, it would be interesting to know the carbon footprint of the bottled water on Bishri’s desk:


7 [Follow me in gloomy measure] Well, I could probably write a book (or several!) that would demonstrate how apt this line is for any UNFCCC conference. But here are two items in which the “gloom” is being dialled up, so to speak. First from Daily Climate:

The atmosphere can take only so much extra carbon before impacts become serious. Where that exact line is remains uncertain, but scientists are fairly confident it’s somewhere below an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 500 parts per million. Some say it’s as low as 350 ppm.

The problem: Pre-industrial concentrations were about 287 ppm, and we’re already at 400 ppm, with hundreds of millions of people in the developing world still without electricity or modern energy. One line of thinking at the UN talks is that the developed world has used its allotment of emissions space; it must leave room for the rest of the world to catch up.

And, courtesy of the IISD’s “In the Corridors” summary of Nov. 18:

At the International Coal and Climate Summit, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres delivered a keynote speech, warning that “the coal industry faces a business continuation risk it can no longer afford to ignore.” Previously, an open letter signed by several NGOs requested Figueres to withdraw from the event, worried that her presence would lend credibility to a conference “that should not be legitimized.” Responding to these concerns, and subsequently gaining a somewhat cautious approval from one NGO representative, Figueres specified in her keynote address that her presence “is neither a tacit approval of coal use, nor is it a call for the immediate disappearance of coal. But I am here to say that coal must change rapidly and dramatically for everyone’s sake.” [emphasis added -hro]

Setting aside the questions of just who do these NGOs think they are and who died and made Figueres, dictator of the world?! … Gaia forbid that that coal, the least expensive of energy sources, should be conferred with “credibility”, eh?!

8 [Must act now if earth we treasure] What can I say?! Another two books’ worth in this single line! When Ban Ki-moon speaks, you can bet your bottom dollar that he’s always on message. Regardless of how unscientific and non-evidenced-based such message(s) might be. As the IISD’s featured summary of one of the “On the side” events of Nov. 19 demonstrates:

The UN System as a Catalyst** for Climate Action: Promoting Sustainable Low-Carbon Development

Presented by the United Nations

UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner welcomed participants. COP 19 President Marcin Korolec highlighted the UN system as a catalyst in mobilizing sustainable development, outlining linkages between the post-2015 development agenda process and negotiations under the ADP. He highlighted the work to be done in the next week towards an ambitious global agreement that addresses the defining issue of our era and ensures it does not undercut sustainable development.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said this has to be the development banks and the UN’s obsession, stressing the world is running out of time. She called for moving to a meaningful and technical draft agreement, calling for “just doing it.”


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon thanked participants for their leadership in and commitment to addressing climate change. He expressed condolences to the people of the Philippines, stressing this unexpected disaster is one of many serious impacts of climate change, saying it is not just a wake-up call but an alarm bell calling for urgent action. He said the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR-5) provides more clarity on the challenges of climate change, calling on nations to “just act.” [emphasis added -hro]

** Never let it be said that the UN constellation of bureaucracies is averse to “recycling” buzzwords. This one appears to have derived from a 2011 United Nations Development Program (UNDP) word-salad, sorry … 160 page paper (pdf) from which we learn (p. 7):

Catalyzing Climate Finance A Guidebook on Policy and Financing Options to Support Green, Low-Emission and Climate-Resilient Development

This guidebook is part of a series of manuals, guidebooks and toolkits that draw upon the experience and information generated by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) support for climate change adaptation and mitigation projects and National Communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in some 140 countries over the past decade.

These resources are intended to enable project managers, UNDP Country Offices, and developing country government decision makers to acquaint themselves with a variety of methodologies most appropriate to their development contexts in support of the preparation of low-emission climate-resilient development strategies (LECRDs).

But I digress …

So on Ki-moon’s utterly divorced from reality planet, for the Phillipines, (geographically situated in a part of the world that is “extremely vulnerable to typhoons” [see Box 1, here]). Haiyan (the 24th storm of the year) is an “unexpected disaster”.

For the record, here’s a snapshot of Ki-moon in “action” (see also 3 Don we now our green apparel above):


Amazing. Simply amazing.

[Nov. 21 provides a “bonus” day: two annotations follow, courtesy of the IPCC]

9 [Fast away the time is passing] The conference is due to end tomorrow (Nov. 22). But all is not going welll – nor according to someone’s plan! However, the “walkouts” did not deter the IPCC from presenting at a side event today:

The IPCC WGI Fifth Assessment Report: A User’s Perspective

Presented by the IPCC

This side event, moderated by Renate Christ, Secretary, IPCC, focused on key findings of the AR5 “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis,” as well as ways key user communities can use the report to facilitate decision-making. Christ introduced the IPCC and its work, underscoring the need for interaction with the report’s users.

Gian-Kasper Plattner, WGI Technical Support Unit (TSU), provided highlights of the report, a cumulative effort of 259 authors from 39 countries. He stressed that: warming of the climate system is unequivocal as each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850; it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century; and limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Addressing report findings at the regional level, Matthew Collins, WGI Coordinating Lead Author, University of Exeter, UK, underlined that although a thorough assessment of global mean changes in temperature is possible because of multiple lines of evidence, fewer studies are available for assessment of temperature and precipitation at large regional scales. He said that the Annex I Atlas provides basic information about regional changes, stressing that it is a climate model output and not an assessment of the likelihood of changes.

Emma Lindberg, Ministry of Environment, Sweden, talked about the usefulness of the IPCC report to society underscoring the need to engage key actors in taking climate action and support policymakers’ initiatives to deal with the challenge. [emphasis added -hro]

10 [To reduce our greenhouse gassing] See 9 above (particularly Gian-Kasper Plattner’s remarks!) Here’s a snapshot of Moderator Renate Christ at the above session in which she also introduced AR 5 “The Movie” – for further details of which, please see my recent post.


The “main findings” indeed! How predictable were they, eh?!

11 [Calls for more cash all together] I could not have asked for a more illustrative – or timely – tweet [h/t Tom Nelson] for this annotation than:


5 thoughts on “‘Tis the season to be gloomy … an annotated climate carol

  1. Amongst the many irrationalities of the IGC (International Green Cabal) is the demand of mainly tropical nations for “compensation”. Warming is projected to occur almost exclusively at high latitudes, and the tropics would remain stable, as always. So here’s a Plan: Agree to “transfers” based on measured temperature change at each locale. The donor (temperate zone) nations will be paying each other, and the tropics will net nada. (Spanish for SFA).

    • Sorry, Geoff. Your complaint has been reviewed in full accordance with the provisions of the PRCP-PC [Peer Reviewed Carol Parody – Protocol Committee], and it has been determined that:

      a) not only is the text of this line faithful to the original; but also

      b) it rhymes with that with which it was intended to rhyme.

      c) in any event, it doesn’t change the underlying melody

      Should you wish to appeal this decision, you will need to request, via the Secretariat, that the Chair include this as an agenda item at the next COPP [Conference of the Parody Partygoers]


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