The Heritage Foundation’s Steven Groves and Ben Lieberman are live at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference reporting from a conservative perspective. Follow their reports on The Foundry and at the Copenhagen Consequences Web site.

As the developed and developing worlds continue to spar here in Copenhagen over the terms of a comprehensive climate change treaty, a key United Nations official let the actual truth slip out as to what this conference is really about.

Janos Pasztor—the Director of U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Change Support Team—was characterizing the nature of the talks between the rich and poor nations of the world when he said the following: “This is not a climate-change negotiation … It’s about something much more fundamental. It’s about economic strength.” The nations at the negotiation, he added, “just have to slug it out.”

That is a remarkable statement, and may turn out to be the most truthful comment made during this entire two-week conference.

All 192 nations negotiating here in Copenhagen know Mr. Pasztor’s characterization to be true, but none say so. They speak of the United States’ “climate debt” owed to the rest of the world and that the U.S. and other developed nations owe “climate reparations” to the developing world to the tune of $100 billion a year.

Mr. Pasztor is correct—what is going on in Copenhagen this fortnight is anything but a climate change negotiation. It is an international political debate over global redistribution of wealth and control of energy resources, masquerading as an environmental conference.