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Wasting Away in Margaritaville

They called a global climate summit but nobody came (except Ted Turner).

By 12.10.10

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They called a global climate summit but nobody came.

Actually, a few people did show up for the UN climate change conference in Cancún. To be precise, there were about 15,000 delegates from 194 countries. But no one of any importance bothered to come -- no leaders from the free or the un-free world. It was left to the totally daft Ted ("I'm not chased by demons") Turner to try to keep everyone from falling fast asleep and forgetting all about global warming.

Thank god for small fiascoes. They are so much better than the big ones.

What a difference a year makes.

At this time last year, the lunatics were in full command of the asylum. Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and a supporting cast of thousands were jetting off to Copenhagen to swear their undying allegiance to the idea that it is necessary to save the planet from the scourge of human life. That would be human life, most particularly, as it is lived here in the United States and other parts of the world that have not yet gotten around to pulling the plug on capitalism and moving on to a more enlightened way of organizing production and redistributing material wealth.

"Climate change is a religion for them, so there was no way they were going to miss this," said one GOP aide of the huge contingent of Democratic representatives and senators who boarded Air Force and commercial jets for Copenhagen. "This is their Hajj."

Never mind that the "Climategate" scandal had only recently exposed how climate scientists working for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had conspired to quash evidence contrary to the theory of man-made global warming. Paying no attention to that, Obama began his speech to the UN Climate Summit Conference in Copenhagen with these words:

Good morning. It is an honor for me to join this distinguished group of leaders from nations around the world. We come here in Copenhagen because climate change poses a grave a growing danger to our people. All of you would not be here unless you -- like me -- were convinced that this danger is real. It is not fiction, it is science. Unchecked, climate change will pose unacceptable risks to our security, our economies, and our planet….

That's why I come here today -- not to talk, but to act.

Well, actually, nothing came of the Copenhagen conference. There was no global climate deal. But so what? The point is, the president rubbed shoulders with just about all of world's leaders at the Copenhagen conference -- everyone from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Indian premier Manmohan Singh, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. From Copenhagen Obama flew on to Oslo to collect the Nobel Peace Prize and give another speech filled with intimations of his own omniscience.

That was COP-15, as the Copenhagen conference is called in UN lingo. It was the 15th annual Council of Parties since COP-1, the Berlin Climate Summit held in 1995.

Heads of state are conspicuous by the absence from COP-16, as the Cancún confab is called. No fewer than 119 heads of state signed up for Copenhagen. Even Robert Mugabe, the deranged president of Zimbabwe, felt compelled to put in an appearance. As far as I can tell from COP-16's blog site, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, was the only head of state in attendance this year. Nor did any leading U.S. Democrats come down to soak up the sun or to add some much needed spice to the warmed-over warnings of global warming being served to the participants. Even alarmist-in-chief Al Gore was a no-show.

Calderón did not help the cause by giving a thuddingly boring opening address. Calling on negotiators in Cancún to make progress in the interest of their children and grandchildren, he said that the "eyes of the world" were focused on the meeting. In an audience composed of mid-level UN officials and apparatchiks like Jane Davidson, the Welsh environmental minister, I doubt that there was a single soul who didn't know full well that the eyes of the world were glazed over at the thought of one more global warming summit.

Thus it was left to always surprising Ted Turner -- author of the autobiography Call Me Joe -- to try to inject some life into the conference. Turner, a longtime supporter of the president, said that Obama had made "a big mistake" by ramming through Obamacare rather than cap-and-trade. As he put it in his inimitable way, "If we don't stop global warming, we'll be extinct, and then we'll be really sorry."

And this raises a further subject for honest wonderment. What a difference a year has made in the life of our 44th president.

A year ago, he was flying over to Europe to give speeches and accept a Nobel Prize. Today he is sulking in his tent and lashing out at critics both left and right. He even claims that he is the victim of a "hostage" situation. He is upset that the Republicans seem to have hijacked the bus carrying the clear majority of the American people and are using that to make outrageous demands. Pobre hombre! It seems that he has come face-to-face with the realization that he really doesn't know what he's supposed to be doing as the leader of the United States and the free world.

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About the Author
Andrew B. Wilson is a resident fellow and senior writer at the Show-Me Institute, a free-market think tank based in St. Louis, Missouri.