The big U.N. climate meeting to end all climate meetings is set for November 30 to December 11 in Paris. It's only July, and already the pre-meetings to the pre-meetings to the big meeting are getting into swing. President Obama talks endlessly about saving the planet. You can almost feel the excitement among the greenies. Finally the rich world is to be cleansed of the sin of industrial civilization and fossil fuel burning!
Don't worry. This thing is going nowhere. Sure lots of people are still keeping up their game faces, but the program is falling apart everywhere you turn. Time to start looking at what people are doing instead of what they are saying.
Take the U.K. PM David Cameron has always talked a "green" game. In the real world his party just won full control of Parliament and has dumped its former Lib/Dem partners, one of whom was the minister of the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Now with the Tories fully in charge they are actually starting to look at the costs. From the Telegraph of July 5:
The cost of subsidising new wind farms is spiralling out of control, government sources have privately warned. Officials admitted that so-called "green" energy schemes will require a staggering £9 billion a year in subsidies – paid for by customers – by 2020. The Chancellor believes the figures demonstrate the need to rein in the cost of policies to tackle climate change.
Germany? The so-called Energiewende ("energy transition") has already cost over 100 billion euros and approximately doubled electricity prices, while getting the percent of their electricity derived from wind and solar all the way up to about 16%; but electricity is only about half of their energy consumption (the rest being heat and transportation), so wind and solar have only reached about 8% of overall energy consumption. A new study from consultants Roland Berger, reported in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on July 1, estimates that meeting current "politically-demanded" renewable targets will require another 280 billion euros:
The German energy transition has cost more than 100 billion euros so far. It has hit large and small electricity suppliers with force and put traditional business models in question. But 15 years after the start of the transition of the power sector with the aim of renewable, low-carbon generation, experts are asking themselves an anxious question: is the energy transition running out of money?
I guess that means that electricity prices will be doubling again, or maybe tripling. Is that OK with, say, the lower middle class over there, soon to be cast into energy poverty?
How about India? They have several hundred million people who still don't have electricity at all. Can those poor people now get access to it? From Anil Swarup, permanent secretary of the coal ministry, quoted in the Guardian on May 27:
“We are looking to double Indian coal production by 2020,” Swarup said, “and to reduce reliance on imports.” Beyond that date, he said production would continue to rise to 1.5bn tonnes a year, with most of this being burnt in coal-fired power plants. In the past six months, the government has given environmental clearance to 41 new mining projects. The consequence, Swarup said, is that from now until 2020, “a new mine will be opened every month. You have to work on the assumption of requirement, and in India, there is a need for power.”
Or try this from Prakash Javadekar, the cabinet minister in the new Modi government responsible for the environment and climate (among other things), quoted in the same Guardian article:
“Our emissions will grow because we are not developed and we have a right, every person on this Earth has a right, to develop. If today the world is 0.8C warmer [than it was in pre-industrial times], it is not my fault. It is the historical responsibility of those who started emitting with the industrial revolution.”
Here in the U.S., the media outfit most known for endlessly promoting the climate scare and other left-wing political causes is undoubtedly NBC. For example here on February 24:
The experts said heading off a food crisis will require changes in every aspect of production and consumption.
NBC's "experts" include famous doom-monger Paul Ehrlich, who is quoted as saying "we may have [only] 10 or 20" years to stop using fossil fuels to solve the climate crisis. Well, that's NBC's left hand. With the right hand, they've just started a ten year partnership with --- NASCAR!! Otherwise known as the most over-the-top blowout completely unnecessary just-for-the-fun-of-it mega-consumption of fossil fuels ever conceived. Won't that 10-year partnership take us right up to the edge of Ehrlich's window of doom?
But actually, even that can't top our President, Barack Obama. You may recall that back in April on Earth Day the President flew down to Florida on Air Force One to give a speech hectoring everybody else to use less carbon. While there his spokesman Josh Earnest then had to field this question from Mark Knoller of CBS:
On the Everglades trip, does the President risk undermining his message when he flies to the Everglades hundreds of miles on a 747 to make a statement about climate change?
(The short version of Earnest's answer was "no." What else was he going to say?) But what Knoller's question didn't even mention, of course, was that the President doesn't actually ever go anywhere with just one 747. Air Force One is actually two 747s, the second of which is never more than 30 minutes away. You know, just in case. Each uses about 5 gallons of fuel per mile flown, and costs over $200,000 per hour of operation. Do you think that might be a little excessive? Actually, the government, under the direction of our President, is in the process of getting replacements for the two Air Force Ones, which of course will be larger and far more expensive. The old ones are mere 747-200Bs, with about 4000 square feet of space each. The new ones are to be 747-8s with more like 4,786 square feet. The list price of the planes -- before upgrades for the President, which undoubtedly will be extensive -- is $367 million each. Did I mention that they are talking about getting three of them, instead of the current two? I can't find anywhere where they say whether all three will now be going around everywhere with the President. But hey, why not? For the President, all excess, no matter how wild, is normal.
This is the guy who supposedly is going to talk India into not building any more coal power plants and keeping hundreds of millions of people in abject poverty? As I said, this Paris thing is going nowhere.