(December 1, 2022 / JNS) Three weeks ago, I warned you, dear reader, that the “climate summit” getting underway at the chic Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm El-Sheikh was up to no good. But the 12-day-long 27th Conference of the Parties—a U.N.-sponsored moveable feast dominated by fearmongering socialist globalists—exceeded even my low expectations.
The COP27 summiteers indicted America and other wealthy nations for crimes against the climate, and imposed fines in the interest of “climate justice.”
To help you understand how wrongheaded this is, I will summarize the economic history of the world in four sentences:
Back in the day, a clever caveman discovered fire and realized he could have heat and illumination when the sun wasn’t shining, and improve the taste of dead animals. By burning wood and dung, he soon enjoyed a higher standard of living than his neighbors, who objected to the smoke.
A few millennia later, coal began powering locomotives and steamships, and petroleum products began to fuel internal combustion engines. Forests were spared the ax, and new products and services were created on a scale previously unimaginable.
My point: There has always been—and there remains—an inextricable link between energy and wealth. Because Americans and Europeans first worked that out on an industrial scale, they benefited first—and foremost.
If “developing countries” are to develop, they must have affordable and abundant energy, along with Western technology. There’s no other way.
Can’t renewables—wind and solar power—substitute for fossil fuels? No, not in the foreseeable future. The wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine, and batteries capable of storing sufficient amounts of energy do not yet exist.
What’s more, the materials that go into windmills and solar panels are being mined in ways that are environmentally destructive—not “green.” Solar “farms” occupy land that could be used for crops and forests. Wind “farms” kill birds.
Also, reliance on sun and wind at this juncture means depending on China’s rulers, whose market share of renewables is greater than OPEC’s of oil production.
Climate change is a challenge, but the notion that we should regard it as a crisis is outdated. Though science is never really “settled,” the current consensus is more reassuring than alarming.
Even The New York Times’ David Wallace-Wells, a guru of the environmental left, author in 2017 of “The Unhabitable Earth,” now acknowledges that expected warming will be “between two and three degrees” Celsius—less than half the forecast of the 2018 U.S. National Climate Assessment. Citing a new U.N. report, he says that “worst-case temperature scenarios that recently seemed plausible now look much less so.”
What’s the impact of climate change on hurricanes, floods and other extreme weather events? We don’t know. How much climate change is attributable to Mother Nature and how much to human activity? We don’t know. “Attribution science” is still in its infancy.
Not everyone has gotten the news. In recent congressional testimony, Michael Shellenberger, president of Environmental Progress, noted that “36 percent of Americans surveyed believe climate change will make Earth uninhabitable for all life and 31 percent believe climate change will lead to human extinction, claims that are causing severe anxiety in some children. And yet neither the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] nor any other reputable scientific body makes such apocalyptic claims.”
So, if you’re a Floridian not planning to move to Alaska, you’re not denying the science, you’re following it.
This contradicts what you’re seeing in major media. The Associated Press recently told its readers—citing no evidence—that the United States is “the worst wrecker of the climate in history.”
Which brings us back to the reparations the COP summiteers are demanding. In 2015, an Obama administration envoy said the United States would not accept “the notion that there should be liability and compensation for loss and damage” due to climate change.
Earlier this month, climate envoy John Kerry reiterated that the United States would not agree to “some sort of legal structure that is tied to compensation or liability. That’s just not happening.”
In the final hours of the conference, however, he agreed to a “deal” under which the United States and other rich nations are to provide poorer nations with as much as $2.4 trillion annually. International development banks—largely American-funded—are to lend an additional $1 trillion.
The United Nations—known for inefficiency and corruption—is likely to disperse the money, writing checks to developing countries’ elites. They will be paid to keep those they rule energy-hungry which means poor and undeveloped.
The People’s Republic of China is not in on this deal. Currently, 69 percent of China’s electricity comes from coal, with many more dirty coal-powered plants to be built soon. China emits two-thirds more “greenhouse gases” than Europe and America. In contrast, America’s emissions declined by roughly 22 percent between 2005 and 2020.
It may have occurred to you by now that the socialist globalists are using climate change as a dagger thrust directly into the heart of capitalism.
Greta Thunberg stated it bluntly, calling for a “system-wide transformation”—the downfall of capitalism “defined by colonialism, imperialism, oppression and genocide by the so-called global North to accumulate wealth that still shapes our current world order.” The extraction of fossil fuels, she now charges, is “racist.”
Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, which convenes the influential annual conferences in Davos, Switzerland, has similarly called for a “systemic transformation” of the world order. And he’s noted with admiration that China under Communist Party rule is “a role model for many countries.”
You now know, dear reader, what the COP summiteers intend. They’re betting you won’t pay too much attention.
Clifford D. May is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a columnist for the Washington Times.
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