back to article Durban failed: Relax, everyone

The United Nations Organisation's COP17 climate conference has finished - and if you're a concerned energy user in IT manufacturing, an investor, or simply taxpayer, there shouldn't be anything the draft agreement to worry you. Not any more than you have to worry about already. The two-week long gathering of 15,000 was …


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  1. chrisale

    And so we march onward toward a world we will not recognize and will not enjoy much at all.

  2. Chris Holt

    Great for the environment...

    Those 15,000 return flight to Cape Town/Joburg and the 15,000 transfers across South Africa must have benefited the environment greatly...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Ok, can you suggest a better way to host an international conference? Don't suggest teleconfrencing, it just doesn't work that well.

      Also, 15000 individuals is a tiny fraction of the amount of people in the air at any one time.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        "Don't suggest teleconfrencing, it just doesn't work that well..."

        Since Durban was an exercise in futility, I can't believe that teleconferencing would have done any worse...

  3. Michael 31
    Thumb Down

    ...just one little thing wrong with that report

    We all know the benefits to be derived in terms of quality of life from emitting burning fossil fuels and emitting CO2 - it is what humans have done since the dawn of time. But Orlowski's report assumes that CO2 emissions have no downside: here Orlowski is unlikely to find science or history as allies: It looks pretty much like the planet is warming at 3-ish °C/century and in around 100 years our children may well not look so kindly on our choices. Just like free market economics and indebtedness wrecked the real economy - so free market environmental policy is unlikely to benefit our real environment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because as we have seen with communism, the alternative worked so well. But you carry on believing your fairy tales of doom and gloom, while those of us living in the real world will stick to facts.

    2. Alan Esworthy
      Thumb Down


      With govts world-wide claiming and enforcing monopolies of money definition and creation (and using fiat currencies), the degree of indebtedness, led by those govt themselves, is the creation of the antithesis of a free market. Furthermore, the heavy-handed and expensive govt financial, environmental, labor, trade, etc., there is no such thing in the real world as a free market economic environment.

      Blaming the economic crises (yes, plural) on the free market shows ignorance, ideological blindness, or stupidity (or some combination of those).

    3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      "..But Orlowski's report assumes that CO2 emissions have no downside.."

      That's true. CO2 emissions CANNOT warm the Earth since the Earth is cooling at the same time as the emissions are rising.

      What they do is provide food for plants. Human emissions are so small that they don't really have much of an effect, but if they were big enough, helping plants grow is the major effect they would have.

      All the science now shows that the 'CO2-driven warming hypothesis' is utterly false.

  4. james lewis

    Durban Failed:... very concerned everyone.

    Only the terminally stupid believe that contiuing to exploit finite resources as though they're infinite and polluting our atmosphere as though we can manage without it is a reason to relax.

    I don't expect balance from El Reg regarding climate change etc. so i'll try to add it in the comments.

    We can't live on a dead Earth, so trying to find a way to avoid killing it is a vital aim. Flawed and frustratingly slow though the political process is, it's the only process we have.

    We are currently in overshoot. The next stage is collapse, and arguably this is happening in many parts of the world as water and land resources disappear rendering large populations destitute.

    Get your head out of your arse and wake up!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because plant food is killing the planet!

    2. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

      I agree...

      ...that we should take care of the planet. However I don't agree that lying for worthy reasons is the way to do it. Man Made Global Warming is a lie being used by environmentalists to save the planet. Most people involved may not realize it's a lie or may not care to look too hard because they are invested in the plan to save the planet from actual pollution.

      However there are a core of scientists who are actively spinning this to save the planet and suit the political requirements to keep this thing moving.

      As the genuine environmentalists discover the lie they will distance themselves from it so it will run out of steam naturally.

      If you watch any nature program on TV, they all have a bit about global warming. Often this seems to have been added as an after thought but in many cases the whole program is a vehicle to get the climate change message across.

      The people against the idea that man made CO2 can change the climate seem to think that any sort of weather modification is impossible. Looking at a clear blue sky many people can see that it's no longer as blue as it used to be but seems to be a bit more milky than years ago. None of the Global Warmists seem to have commented that this is due to CO2, why the missed opportunity?

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        I hate to be the one to break the news, but ....

        "..looking at a clear blue sky many people can see that it's no longer as blue as it used to be but seems to be a bit more milky than years ago...."

        That's not the sky changing.

        It's you getting cataracts....

        Glasses, because you need to see an optician...

    3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      I remember...

      ...hearing this rant in the 1960s. It was completely false then, and it's false now.

      What is it with these loons who keep on claiming we have finite resources? Have they never heard of Julian Simon, who made the eco-loons of the 1970s look so stupid?

      The next stage is collapse? It's always the NEXT stage - conveniently just beyond the horizon. It never comes - we have been waiting for it for over half a century now. And you know what? We now have far more people on the Earth than the doom mongers in the 1960s ever imagined, and we have food and materials enough for them - and many times their number. We will soon be hauling the masses of China and Africa into the consumption equivalent of middle-class Europe during the 1960s - that is the future of humanity.

      I'll tell you what would kill all life on Earth. One of the streams at Durban was pushing for the total removal of all the atmospheric gases it deemed 'evil'. They wanted to drop CO2 levels down to 210 ppm. That would kill enough plants to eradicate all animal life on earth and leave only lichen....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Durban worthwhile?

    What I want to know is, did everyone enjoy the beach? Durbs is a great place for true carbon-neutral living if being a beach bum is your thing.

  6. Peter Galbavy

    and how much did this waste ?

    Anyone done the sums on how much extra (so-called) carbon did this conference waste over the normal background usage of the attendees ? The flights, the over-wasteful hotels and restaurants, etc. etc. ?

    This is almost as good as the amount of wood wasted in burning for "biomass" power stations.


    1. Goat Jam

      I bet that every hotel, restaurant and car, not to mention the venue itself was heavily airconditioned.

      I also bet they were all chauffeured around in individual limousines, probably with some hand wave towards some nonsensical "carbon offset" scam to make it all seem acceptable.

      A bigger bunch of hypocrites you won't find.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Gota Jam

        Rather than accusing them of being hypocrites, what do you suggest that they do?

        Start by explaining how an international conference can work without international travel.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          We don't need International Conferences, achieved sod all and going nowhere fast.

          The developing nations are not going to let their people suffer or starve for the ideals of those in the developed world. They can and do rightly point the finger and say 'Get your own house in order first'.

          There is no politician in the developed world, except perhaps ours, who is going to say to its' electorate' You go back to the dark ages while others can get to the standard we already have'.

          Get Real.

          Just like the death of communism we are now in the throws of the death of capitalism, simply because it is unsustainable, and it will take a brave politician to accelerate that process in their own country by introducing more economic hurdles.

          When the farmer in Peru growing the beans for Tesco sees his children starving no amount of capital on the planet will encourage him to sell them to anyone. Currencies and economies will fail, riots start over food and water and the welfare of the planet will probably go to hell.

          Sound familiar, try applying some logic.

  7. Usually Right or Wrong

    But there is growth outside of BRICS

    It was only 7,000 going to the conferences, now 15,000 fly in and eat, drink and live in style at tax payer's expense. Qatar should be able to grow this to 20,000, and as everyone knows, the more people at a meeting, the less chance of agreement, so lots of conferences needed going forward until we get agreement or the earth cooks.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fastest is rarely best

    "the fastest way of alleviating human suffering. "

    Unrestricted financial dealings are the fastest way to make a profit. For a few years.

    Unrestricted industrial development is the fastest way of alleviating human suffering. For a few decades, if you're lucky.

    Then someone has to clean up the mess.

    1. a_been

      Tell that to the hundreds of millions who can't turn on a tap and have a glass of clean water.

  9. rurwin

    "While they're busy talking about saving the world, the BRICS nations are actually creating a new one."

    The trouble is, of course, that BRICS is not creating a new world. They have to live in this one.

    Still, I'm not worried; I'm 51, I don't have any children and I live in a northern country. It wont get really bad until after I'm dead. It's the kids now being born in BRICS that will have to put up with the mass starvations.

  10. Josh 15
    Thumb Up

    Thanks, Andrew

    I've been following the sorry tale of COP-17 - two weeks of taxpayer-funded self indulgence beside the equatorial sea for the 15,000 or so so attendees - for the past two weeks, mainly via the 'official' channel of the BBC and then via the blogosphere. The BBC have been, and sadly remain, completely biased in their reporting of this event. There is no suggestion at all, in any of their coverage, of 'wealth transfer' and the entire jamboree (or attempted robbery, as I prefer to call it) has been lauded by The Biased Broadcasting Corporation as a 'triumph' and a 'significant new deal', as well as indulging in meaningless bombast such as 'saving tomorrow for today' which point, on the verge of vomiting, I had to stop reading.

    Now that the attendees - mainly unelected NGOs and eco alarmists - have all racked up their Air Miles quite nicely, they can get back to lecturing the rest of us on how sinful our way of life is, whilst smarting, no doubt, from the fact their attempted heist went so badly wrong. That's going to put a few annual financial projections out at the WWF, Friends of the Earth, Oxford, et al, lol.

    Thanks for this valuable summary of COP-17, Andrew. I knew I could trust El Reg to take a more impartial and critical view of this meaningless party by the sea. The fact that you are practically alone amongst news outlets to refer to the more outrageous proposals seriously being put forward by these unelected NGOs (hoping for them to be enshrined in law) speaks volumes for your integrity as a journalist - sadly, very many of your colleagues and peers in the MSM have failed abysmally to report the facts of Durban. Who here, for instance, has any idea that there was a serious attempt to at the 'Conference of the Parties' to have a World Climate Court created?

    If you've been following the coverage on the BBC you will not have heard one mention of it at all.

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  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    Ah, it's all political.

    New Climate change treaty? Nope.

    Funding? Nope.

    Economic growth restrictions? Nope.

    Trade rules? Nope.

    Load of wankwords advertising a free bunfight next year? Ah, yes. We can agree on that.

    Anyone know what the point was?

    1. Armando 123

      Yes, the point was that load of of wankers still having a job and getting another taxpayer-funded junket to a remote place so they can tell us to quit generating carbon. #callmecynical

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Everywhere is remote to somewhere on the planet.

        Put the talks in a travelodge at Heathrow, the total distance traveled would still be pretty much the same, hence they are moved around from year to year.

  12. silent_count

    Was this ever going to go anywhere?

    What's great is that the attendees burned a lot of fossil fuels to get to and from Durban, so they could sit around and discuss how to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that get burned. They couldn't possibly have discussed the matters over a telephone or even this new-fangled internet thingy. Nope. They had to burn large quantities of jet fuel to get 15,000 of them in the same physical place so they could achieve... nothing.

    Nothing has been achieved. Nothing was ever going to be achieved. I'll even tell you why. I've got more chance of getting Samantha Fox into my bed than anyone has of getting certain countries to reduce their fossil fuel usage. The 'certain' countries I refer to are the BRIC and the USA. Why are they important? Oh, that's right. They're the ones who use massive amounts of fossil fuels.

    Sure it's possible to get agreements without including the countries I mentioned, but that'd be like thinking that if I don't stop at the pub on Friday, it's going to put the pub out of business. They may notice, or may not. But I somehow doubt it.

  13. JeffyPooh

    The JeffyPooh Protocol

    Instead of making promises that can't be kept, simply make it into a contest.

    Each country **does what it can** (cost-efficiently), and then they have a huge awards ceremony every few years where they hand out trophies, certificates, and oversized cheques with billions of dollars of reward money in all sorts of categories and sub-categories.

    Changes the whole thing into a contest of positive mindset.

  14. Mondo the Magnificent

    This is Africa

    The outcome sounds very African... stay in the best hotels, eat and drink like kings and sit around and agree to agree... on more meetings.. where delegates will stay in the best hotels, eat and drink like kings and sit around and agree to agree once again...

  15. John Ruddy

    What if its a hoax

    And we created a better world all for nothing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is nothing to stop you from spending you money on this hoax.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Durban failed: Relax, everyone"

    .......except if your live in South Africa, or any other country disappearing to the sea.

    Then get angry at the selfish/greedy western b stards.

    1. david 63

      Pray tell...

      What has been the sea level rise off ZA in the last (say) 20 years. About the same as the disappearing Maldives at a guess...

    2. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

      Sea levels always rise

      All over the world there are buildings under the sea, some 100 feet, some 400 feet. Water just keeps on rising. But strangely the Maldives stay above water. Is this because the float? No, but almost. The islands actually grow taller every year.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Throw the UN out

    They are not in your interest when they have Agenda 21

  18. Richard Crossley

    I deliver more

    with a greater degree of success using far fewer resources.

    We send Chris Hune and is clunkiest around the world at great expense, to agree nothing except to have another meeting. If that had been me, I would make them pay their expenses and the fire them.

  19. itzman

    Huhne returns waving paper 'No CO2 emissions in our time'

    Meanwhile as S Africa India and China are burning all the coal they can find, suddenly global warming seems to have stopped anyway.

    Is there anything that politicians can be relied upon to be, except wrong, or two faced hypocrites?

    1. Mark Honman

      actually we flog it

      SA does burn a lot of coal, but the best coal we export so that others can burn it... in excess of 60 million tons a year.

  20. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    Lord Monkton Para

    I heard Lord Monkton say on the Alex Jones radio show that they would not let him in so he went up in an aircraft and parashooted into the conference.

  21. Armando 123

    Here we go

    "conference attendees have simply agreed to carry on attending climate conferences"

    And that is the alpha and omega of it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think what was meant is...

    even with laudable aims (whether or not you think AGW is real) these conferences are at best expensive gestures where nothing happens and at worst scams enriching the money-men and major corporates such as the carbon trading schemes, though mostly they are just a waste of taxpayer money, either at the time or with regard to new policies.

    We can relax because they haven't done anything more stupid than waste conference costs.

    If the conferences actually achieved something, it might be worth considering what we can do.

    Greed is natural in all of us, but the West has gone further, preaching that there is nothing but the material, that life is brief and you should make the most of it and that there is no judgement at the end of life. Then we seem to be surprised that people do whatever makes them happy/rich right now without regard to the future or anyone else.

    As the mid-winter festival has changed from celebrating the arrival of a god who offers eternal life, to an alchoholic haze apparently designed to blot out all conciousness or memory of life, you have to wonder how many people really think life on earth is worthwhile, regardless of what they may say.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: I think what was meant is...

      Hemlocks all round, then

  23. AntiPoser

    Durban Failed

    Please when reporting use a descriptive title. I live in Durban and assumed I was about to read information on how my home town failed. Not how the climate control conference outcome was a failure.

  24. earl grey


    For those of you pissing and moaning about how those bad "western" societies are ruining the world.... piss off!

    You don't have any viable solution to the world-wide problems you describe; you certainly would NOT be happy going back to live cave-man style with NOTHING but a stick to your name and good luck hunting there, chucklehead.

    There are NO massive solutions which will readily resolve the problems you insist are there; and i'm not willing to totally give up what little I have to have it routed to some third world so they can keep doing their same-old.

  25. dogged


    Is witch-burning carbon neutral?

    1. Escape Velocity

      "Is witch-burning carbon neutral?"

      No the burning of sulfur and wood is awfully carbon-y and needs to be offset with investments in the Soilent Green carbon-redux fund.

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  27. simonjon

    "I don't expect balance from El Reg regarding climate change"

    Well said.

    Though, I also agree that the BBC also seems to be more one-sided than usual in this area.

    There is the argument however, that professional groupings like The Royal Society, and their American counterpart, have both stuck their reputations - all that they have - on the line and said that they agree with the theory of man made climate change. They could have just happily just sat on the fence.

    Anyhoo, I steer clear of the painful and thankless "who is right or wrong on global warming" gig, preferring instead the Greg Craven (Google him!) approach. That's to ignoring who might be right, and thinking 'what if the problem exists, yet we did nothing?'. The answer is, slowed economic growth and catalysed the growth of at least one amazingly efficient technologies.

    Yes, some will need to fly to get some kind of agreement as body language is important, and what hotel/food they had is red herring heresay, so why not just limit these gigs to less than 1000 people?

  28. Kelvin Strachan

    "Durban Failed" ???

    I'll have you know. Durban passed with flying colours. The conference was hosted with professional skill and much hard labour (I was there...labouring hard)

    Maybe the conference failed?

    But Durban gets an "A+".

    Just because 15000 people holding a conference about something that has never been static to begin with couldn't make up their minds...That's not Durban's fault.

    Durban rocks!!!

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