COP28 head says there is no realistic possibility of phasing out fossil fuels by 2050, unless we want to go back to living in caves
By Joe Oliver, National Post, Dec. 12, 2023
COP28, the 28th “Conference of the Parties,” the annual summit of climate-change catastrophists, spent much of its time debating the schedule for a fossil fuel phaseout. Its mission is to limit global warming to 1.5 C by 2050 compared to the start of the industrial age — which coincided with the end of the Little Ice Age, so temperature increases since then have been both natural and man-made. Held in the shopaholic’s paradise of Dubai, it attracted 84,000 registrants, double last year’s number, among them no fewer than 720 from Canada.
One iconic personality was a no-show. The Joan of Arc of alarmist hyperbole, Greta Thunberg, refused to attend because civil protests are discouraged in the United Arab Emirates. In her debut on the COP scene in 2019, in the guise of a child prophet, she prophesied impending disaster brought on by people’s wastrel behaviour.
The quasi-religious role helps explain why a 16-year-old was invited to address the United Nations and why, in private meetings, she hectored political leaders, including our own prime minister. Now 20 years old, she presents as left-wing radical heir to a wealthy Swedish family and chants “crush Zionism” at rallies where she bizarrely tries to tie the climate movement to Palestinians.
In spite of her ministrations and those of King Charles, Al Gore, Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio and other grand panjandrums, the 27 preceding COPS have had no discernible influence on the climate. Atmospheric CO2 continues to rise steadily, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Although COVID-19 reduced industrial carbon dioxide temporarily, it did not detectably impact carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Nor is any resource-rich country meeting its zero emissions targets, while the largest developing countries are moving aggressively in exactly the opposite direction in order to deliver affordable energy to their needy citizens.
World energy consumption has tripled in the past 50 years and fossil fuels provided 81 per cent of global energy consumption in 2021, the same as in 1999. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, global CO2 emissions from consumption of coal, liquid fuels and natural gas will increase over the next 30 years. So much for net-zero by 2050 since offsets will not be able to keep pace. How many trees can we plant?
I did not think I would ever quote a COP participant approvingly, given their penchant for unhinged lamentation. But COP28’S president, Sultan Al Ahmed Jaber, said in the run-up to the meetings that there is no science indicating a phaseout of fossil fuels is needed to limit global heating to 1.5 C. He also said eliminating fossil fuels would take the world back into caves. Confronting groupthink with reality did not go over well with COP devotees, who claimed their host sounded like a denier.
One recurring COP theme is the demand for climate reparations, or a “loss and damage” fund, with a bracing $100-billion to be donated annually by the world’s wealthy countries. Apparently, they have to pay for the Industrial Revolution that helped billions of the world’s poorest escape abject poverty. Not to be outdone, the UN’S IPCC claimed a fantastical $2-3-trillion is needed per year. My advice to potential recipients: Don’t hold your breath.
Damage from higher temperatures much less than cost of Net Zero
Absent from the COPS, including 28, is any attempt to compare the cost of getting to net-zero by 2050 with the damage imposed by higher temperatures. Since, according to the Mckinsey Global report, the bill would reach a staggering $275-trillion, it seems only prudent to estimate what this expenditure might realistically save. Bjorn Lomborg suggests the benefit is less than the cost by a factor of six, therefore indicating a $230-trillion net loss, which should occasion a fundamental rethink of climate strategy.
Both surging popular resistance to unaffordable green policies in wealthy countries and a rapidly growing carbon footprint in the developing world mean COP28’S deliberations are increasingly detached from reality. Even as the U.S. pumps out record levels of fossil fuels, U.S. President Joe Biden’s deep-green Inflation Reduction Act is jeopardizing his bleak poll numbers.
Rishi Sunak is backing off U.K. climate initiatives to try to salvage his daunting electoral chances. Elections and political realignments in Italy, the Netherlands, Argentina, Sweden and Finland, along with several Eastern European countries, evidence growing public skepticism about climate orthodoxy. Germany’s Die Welt newspaper even raised the unimaginable: Europe leaving the Paris accord.
At home, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s hostility to energy resources has arguably imposed on Canada the highest proportional economic burden of any other resource-rich country, including a quarter-trillion dollars in lost capital investments, with no possible impact on global temperatures.
With Trudeau clearly unwilling to back off his ruinous climate policies, time is running out on sending bloated delegations to COP confabs. A lucrative international environmental gig would be opportune, both for him and his long-suffering subjects.