Sir Humphrey Appleby’s Climate Change Pact

With the Europeans and carbon reduction, it’s always the planning; never the doing.

The European governments have adopted an even more stringent global warming agreement than the Kyoto Treaty, even as the EU fails to meet its Kyoto targets.

It’s like a plot in the BBC’s old “Yes Minister” series; one in which super-bureaucrat Sir Humphrey Appleby counsels his government department’s minister to cover up a failing plan by announcing a new one that will be even harder to fulfill.

Possibly this new climate pact should be dubbed the “Appleby Agreement.”

I almost never quote Wikipedia (due to its outlandish inaccuracies), but at 2:30 AM Eastern on March 10, 2007 AD, it had a perfect description of the European Union relationship with the Kyoto Treaty: “The EU has consistently been one of the major nominal supporters of the Kyoto Protocol…”

That’s right, nominal, as in, “being such in name only; so-called; putative: a nominal treaty; the nominal head of the country.”

The Washington Post admitted the same thing, but put it more politely:

European governments have been a major promoter [emphasis added] of the Kyoto pact…

The European Union talks up Kyoto, but isn’t meeting its Kyoto targets. Its plan was that America would, but we outfoxed them by never ratifying it in the first place. (Never say the Clinton Administration didn’t do anything right.)

(The Washington Post continued the sentence in the box quote, saying “…[the Kyoto Treaty] attempts to counter trends that are warming the Earth’s climate.” Whoa! Care to prove that, Posties? [Pause to imagine the news coverage: Trends, Not Sun or CO2, Warm Climate – Washington Post.] No, seriously, the Post shouldn’t write theory as fact in a news story. The Evil Hand of Humanity + Cow Emissions Are Ending the World As We Know It Theory is still a theory.)

But back to Brussels bureaucrats. Sir Humphrey Appleby hit the nail on the head: “Politicians… need activity. It is their substitute for achievement.”

Not that European leaders admit that their real motive in crafting a new climate pact is to hide their failure to adhere to the last one.

No, they stick to promotions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was confident “the plan could save the world.”

French President Jacques Chirac was even more self-congratulatory: “This is part of the great moments of European history.”

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “We have what I think is a historic summit.”

Yes, Ministers.


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