Alok Sharma hosted a pre-COP26 summit in London last week where he was attempting to shape the agenda and outcome of the event. India, which due to industrialisation in recent decades has raised the living standards of hundreds of millions of her citizens, made excuses for not attending. Continental Africa, which sent only a handful of countries, repeated demands for rich industrialised countries to transfers billions annually to fund green growth. This comes after Britain cut back billions from foreign aid this year, putting Sharma in a difficult position.
South African Environment Minister Barbara Creecy demanded countries at November’s UN COP26 climate talks in Glasgow should set a target of mobilising $750 billion-a-year from industrialised countries to help poorer nations transition to greener energy. Her goal is significantly higher than the $100 billion-a-year that was set for 2020, which rich countries have so far failed to deliver on. In negotiations leading up to COP26, a compromise is supposedly emerging to push the date to 2025. Which rich democratic countries will once again fail to deliver on.
The truth is that there will not be, whatever is promised in November, a $750 billion-a-year transfer of capital from the billion or so taxpayers in the industrialised world to the government elites in the developing world. No democratic country has a mandate to “tax and send” at that level – nor will they ever. India is not going to change direction on the dash for industrialisation powered by coal, which has powered great rival China’s rapid industrialisation. India knows that vastly more people die as a consequence of poverty and disease each year than die as a consequence of global warming. As in the past, we humans are capable of adapting to climate change in ways that can significantly mitigate its adverse effects, without choking off economic growth. A massive reduction in fossil fuels would exacerbate global poverty, cost-benefit analyses of climate policies reveal that there are better ways to alleviate human misery than spending taxpayer subsidies on panic-driven, political non-solutions to a changing climate. We need to develop more clean, green technology to save the planet and lift people out of poverty.
The government is determined to plough ahead with hosting the UN climate conference due to be held in Glasgow this November, despite the fears that the global pandemic will still be raging. The government is hoping for 30,000 attendees from around the world at the conference. You might ask what is it that could not be hosted virtually and save all those jet-setters’ carbon emissions?
Greta Thunberg has told the BBC she does not plan to attend, believes the summit should be postponed, and the UK government – which is hosting the summit – should wait until global vaccination rates have risen. Greta has attended previous COP summits so this will be a blow to world leaders’ photo opportunities. As it stands the government will have to make a final decision on whether or not the event is going ahead in mass-delegate-form soon. Guido suspects they will be trying to ascertain likely attendance rates from world leaders before deciding to go virtual.
If the Sunday Times story about last Friday’s mini-reshuffle is to be believed, Alok Sharma’s demotion from BEIS Secretary to full-time president of the COP26 summit is part of a No. 10 rebrand attempt of Brexit Britain in the eyes of Biden’s incoming liberal administration:
Boris Johnson put a cabinet minister in charge of the COP26 climate change summit last week following a warning from Joe Biden’s team that there was no “heavy hitter” running the show.
In the first sign of the US president-elect flexing his muscles with the UK, Biden’s climate change pointman John Kerry complained before Christmas that if Britain wanted to be taken seriously it would need to get a grip on preparations for the summit, which Britain is hosting in Glasgow in November.
The rebrand isn’t just about changing Britain’s reputation with the president-elect, however. The Cabinet Office is currently advertising for a “Relationship Manager – Influencers and Civil Society”, whose full-time job will be that of selling Britain’s “climate action” efforts via COP26 to “high profile influencers around the globe”, with an emphasis on social media; presumably to turn the tide of a generation who think because Boris is a Tory PM he doesn’t have environmental credentials. It can’t be long before Boris is lipsyncing to Dua Lipa with Greta on TikTok…
Speaking at the ‘Green Alliance‘ think tank’s ‘Countdown to COP’ event yesterday, U.K. Foreign Office Climate Representative Nick Bridge called for “economic and financial transformation”, claiming that climate change is the result of our capitalist economic system. This is despite the ecological disaster zones of non-free market countries…
After the event, also addressed by Michael Gove and Nicola Sturgeon, where he made the eyebrow raising comments, Bridge claimed:
“We need to recognise that climate change is the result of an economic system. Solving it involves shifting the whole economic system.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said he had not seen the comments, confirming that overthrowing capitalism “is certainly not” Government policy.
Dom’s much trailed upheaval of the civil service could not come soon enough…
December’s Paris Agreement heralded a massive $100 billion per year climate fund for third world nations, paid for in part out of the public purse. The fund nobly aims to help “particularly vulnerable countries, including Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States and African States.” So, who is after the cash?
Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is also applying for the climate cash. The state run Zimbabwean Herald yesterday bemoaned that $100 billion is nowhere near enough, and that Zimbabwe alone needs $10 billion. Would pay for a few Learjets…
These are dark, dark days indeed for those profiting from green rackets. Guido wrote about how Government cuts to renewables funding were imperiling the subsidy reliant industry in the UK. The rapidly sliding oil price might just derail the Paris Climate Summit’s key aim to reduce emissions by scaling back reliance on fossil fuels. Such plans look unlikely to come to fruition in an era of super cheap oil…
The price of Brent crude has now fallen to a 12 year low below $30 a barrel as a result of sanctions being lifted on Iran, adding to an already present glut in oil production from OPEC members and US shale drillers. In such a climate consumers might be expected to increase consumption, with even figures from the climate lobby admitting such. Richard Howard, the environment and energy wonk at Policy Exchange, concedes:
“All else being equal, economic theory would suggest that the falling price of oil and gas would lead to an increase in consumption of oil and gas, with people driving their cars further, and heating their homes more. This could increase, or slow down the fall, in greenhouse gas emissions”.
To add insult to injury such a low oil price will only further encourage Government’s to withdraw subsidies from renewable energy, an industry wholly dependent on them. Perhaps the only hope for the climate lobby is that the price of oil will bounce back, otherwise known as the Alex Salmond school of thought. Unfortunately for them, it looks like we could be in for a prolonged period of cheap oil. So it’s really not looking good for the anti-fossil fuels, pro-renewables crowd then…