Minister of State Ciaran Cuffe represents the government at the international climate negotiations in Cancun. His speech is here. This visit is part of the normal business of government.
Mr Cuffe announced a contribution of 23 million euro to a new UN fund. This contribution follows from earlier commitments and it is appropriately stingy. The new UN fund is a bribe for developing country negotiators to behave. I have yet to see evidence that the money will be put to good use. Although the Irish contribution is a logical result of earlier decisions, it is a tad insensitive to announce a 23 mln euro reward for bad behaviour at the same day as you are cutting the benefits to the blind. Fortunately for Mr Cuffe, bankers got a bigger reward for worse behaviour on the same day.
Mr Cuffe said more. He announced legislation for climate policy, continuing the Green charade of being in and out of government at the same time. He announced support for new research by the World Resources Institute — a project that still has to go to tender as far as I know — although funding for Irish research on environmental matters has been severely cut.
Mr Cuffe also said “Ireland supports the case for strong urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to stay as far below a 2 degree Celsius increase in global temperature. We know from the scientific advice that this is a necessity in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change.” In other words, Mr Cuffe argued that science necessitates action. This is not true. Science will tell you what if. If you do not like the prediction, you should do something about it. That is a value judgement, however, rather than a scientific fact. There is a long tradition of politicians hiding behind climate science. It is the root cause of politically motivated attacks on the science of climate change, and the consequent politicization of climate science. It is unfortunate that, a year after climategate and glaciergate, Mr Cuffe chose to reinforce the problem.