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Hypocrisy, Not Climate Concern, Dominated COP-26

December 2, 2021

Climate Change Weekly #418

Global elites regularly decry the supposedly “existential” threat purported human-caused climate change poses to the environment, civilization, and even human survival.

These elites propose policies intended to avert global climate disaster, almost all of them involving ending the use of fossil fuels and fundamentally changing how people live, forcing us to live in high-density urban settings along mass transportation nodes and eat locally supplied vegetarian diets. But the elites don’t act as if they believe their rhetoric.

The alarmed climate elites’ hypocritical “do as I say, not as I do; hair shirts and gruel for thee, but not for me” attitudes were on full display at the U.N. climate conference, COP-26 for short, held in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31 through November 13.

If world leaders and the mandarin bureaucrats who supposedly serve them and the wider public were really concerned human greenhouse gas emissions endanger the Earth, they could have hosted the entire conference, backroom negotiations and all, via Zoom, Skype, Streamyard, or any of the numerous other conferencing services. After all, the world just spent a year on lockdown with media interviews, international negotiations, and legislation still getting done.

Barring virtual communication, COP-26’s participants could have arrived via commercial or shared transport and eaten only locally sourced vegetarian or vegan meals, as they propose for the unwashed masses. They didn’t do that. Instead, according to the Scotsman, carbon dioxide emissions from COP-26 were more than double those of COP-25 and more than any previous international summit in history. Sixty percent of the conference’s more than 100,000 tons of emissions was from transportation alone, with the remainder coming from water use, heating and cooling of five-star accommodations, and meat-heavy gourmet meals made with food flown or shipped in from around the world.

The world’s leading climate scolds, those wealthy, self-appointed saviors of the Earth who would have common people give up air travel and private cars, arrived in a stream of more than 400 private jets, spewing more emissions in two weeks than is emitted by more than 1,600 average people in the United Kingdom in a year. If their own pronouncements of planetary doom are to be believed, it seems Bank of America, Jeff Bezos, and other multibillion-dollar businesses and individuals feel you must first kill the Earth before you can save it.

Conference host Boris Johnson, prime minister of the United Kingdom, jetted in from a meeting of the G-20 in Rome (where climate was also discussed), only to berate the world for its profligate use of fossil fuels.

Johnson harangued the assembled attendees for their nations’ alleged climate crimes, saying, “When it comes to tackling climate change, words without action, without deeds are absolutely pointless.” Yet, after being on the ground in Glasgow for about a day, he took a private jet back to London instead of taking the train, which emits far less carbon dioxide. Later, near the conference’s end, Johnson jetted back to Glasgow to express his belief that hard commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly were vital to saving the world. His actions spoke loudly, and they belied his words.

To be fair, COP-26 is hardly the first time those in power—who are constantly telling the poor of the world they must live with less to save the planet—have declined to live up to the ideal they set for others. President Joe Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry, is famous for using his family’s private jet to attend climate negotiations and award dinners. His excuse: he’s important! Evidently, this somehow means he is to be held to a lower standard than others. BTW, John, usually if you want to set an example you hold yourself to a higher standard than others. Just a thought.

Then there is actor/activist Leonardo DiCaprio, who once again made an appearance at a climate summit. We all know actors set the lifestyle example to which an environmentally conscious person should aspire. To his credit, for once DiCaprio flew commercial. Perhaps his image needed burnishing. After all, he is widely known for travelling repeatedly for pleasure every year via private planes and private yachts. DiCaprio has real chutzpah. As detailed in Luxury Launches,

Despite coaching viewers to “work together” to fight climate change while accepting his first Oscar in March, DiCaprio chose to fly private to pick up an award from a clean-water advocacy group at the Riverkeeper Fishermen’s Ball and back to Cannes to attend an AIDS benefit gala 24 hours later.

DiCaprio excuses his personal carbon profligacy by saying he pays someone to plant trees on his behalf. That reminds me of the medieval Catholic Church selling indulgences to wealthy sinners who could afford it.

Then there is our climate Cassandra-in-chief, former vice-president Al Gore, who profited handsomely off fossil fuels, raking in $70 to $100 million for the sale of his cable news network, Current TV, to Al Jazeera.  After years of claiming we must abandon oil and gas production and promoting legislation and lawsuits to force people to do so, Gore sold his station to a company primarily owned by the government of Qatar. That government makes most of its annual revenue from oil production and is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It’s akin to Baptists taking donations from bootleggers.

Not to be outdone, former president Barack Obama appeared at COP-26 to complain about climate hypocrisy. “For most of your lives you’ve been bombarded with warnings about what the future will look like if you don’t address climate change, but you see adults who act like the problem doesn’t exist,” Obama opined. “You are right to be frustrated.”

With whom should they be frustrated? Obama spent eight years as president warning climate change was causing the seas to rise rapidly and they would soon swamp much of the U.S. Eastern seaboard. Upon retiring, however, he bought an $11.75 million beachfront home in Martha’s Vineyard, just inches-to-feet above sea level. As far as I can tell, he isn’t investing in sea walls to keep out the supposedly rising tides.

None of the famous people who claim we are causing planet-killing climate change through human energy use, housing infrastructure, and agricultural systems live as if they believe this is true.

That’s something to think about the next time such a person gives a speech or appears on television saying you should give up your car, air travel, hamburgers and barbeque, and standalone single-family home in order to save the planet. They aren’t including themselves among those who should be forced to give up things.

The policies elitists are proposing will impose higher energy costs, which many people—the working poor, those on fixed incomes, and those on lower-middle incomes—will struggle to pay for. Yet the elites make no sacrifices themselves. Even if they did, the cost of their policies to them would be beneath their margins of error at the bank.

Wealthy climate alarmists apparently have a two-year old’s self-awareness and ability to delay gratification. They remind me of Democrat apologists who claim inflation is a good thing or at least not so bad, admonishing the poor to “suck it up” and pay the higher costs without complaint. It’s not a good look, and it certainly doesn’t inspire confidence that they really believe the Earth hangs in the balance.

SOURCE: Liberty and Ecology


IN THIS ISSUE …

AUTOCRACY IS THE TRUE CLIMATE DANGER … ARCTIC ICE GROWING FAST … ARCTIC OCEAN WARMED DECADES EARLIER THAN PREVIOUSLY BELIEVED


AUTOCRACY IS THE TRUE CLIMATE DANGER

Writing in the National Interest, Hector Schamis notes if climate change is in fact a serious problem, youth protestors such as Greta Thunberg are complaining to the wrong countries or, more importantly, the wrong types of governments. While democratically governed countries are responding to these youths’ climate concerns, autocratic countries, many of which did not even show up at COP-26, are the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters and make no real effort to abate their emissions.

“[D]emocracy pollutes less than autocracy,” writes Schamis. “Preventing global warming requires institutions that the planet’s biggest polluter [China] does not have and rejects.”

China, by itself, emitted the same amount of carbon dioxide as the next four greatest-emitting countries combined.

Schamis points to a recent investigative report published by Bloomberg News revealing some individual companies in China emit more carbon dioxide than entire countries.

China Baowu, the largest steelworks in the world, emitted more CO2 in 2020 than Pakistan. China Petroleum & Chemical spewed more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than Canada and Spain combined. SAIC Motor Corporation, China’s large automobile manufacturing company, emits as much CO2 as Argentina.

Bloomberg estimates the emissions of these companies are even higher than reported. For these state-owned or -controlled companies, the government suppresses accurate emissions data. The reason for the large emissions from these and other companies in China is that the vast bulk of the electric power they use is generated by coal-fueled power plants, which are increasing in number instead of being phased out as the Chinese Communist Party has promised. New coal plants and coal mines are being opened weekly. Emissions from coal power plants grew by 40 percent between 2010 and 2020 and have continued increasing throughout 2021.

Emissions from China’s agricultural sector—from energy use, chemicals, and methane emissions from livestock—are growing as well.

“China’s lack of transparency regarding global warming is consistent with its foreign policy in general,” writes Schamis. “China is a bully that cheats; that is its strategy.”

And because the Chinese government is known for its fierce and rapid responses to protests, youth climate protests in China are negligible and quickly suppressed, while youth protestors outside of China largely ignore the greenhouse gas-spewing elephant on the global stage.

SOURCES: National Interest; Bloomberg News


ARCTIC ICE GROWING FAST

Data from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) show Arctic sea ice in mid-November was approximately 10,000,000 km2 and growing. This marked the second-greatest ice extent measured in the last 15 years.

Based on the rate of freezing, 2021 is likely to become the year with the greatest Arctic sea ice extent of the twenty-first century thus far, the DMI reports. It’s now so cold in the Arctic the Russian government has commissioned two icebreakers to rescue as many as 20 ships struggling to get out.

Data from Antarctica show conditions continue to confound climate model projections. The continent just experienced a historically cold winter. Climatology journalist Stefano Di Battista writes that between April and September the South Pole averaged a temperature of -61.1C (-78F)—the coldest six-month spell ever recorded there. Di Battista notes the winter temperature was -2.2 °C lower than the average temperature for those months between 1981 and 2010 and -2.5 °C below the average for the 30-year reference period of 1991 to 2020. The previously measured record low for Antarctica for the same period of time was -60.6 °C, measured in 1976 at a time when many scientists were warning an ice age might be on the way.

SOURCES: American Thinker; Electroverse; The Cryosphere


ARCTIC OCEAN WARMED DECADES EARLIER THAN PREVIOUSLY BELIEVED

Climate alarmists routinely assert climate change driven by human greenhouse gas emissions is causing the Arctic Ocean to warm, resulting in declining icepack and snowfall and shifting weather patterns. New research published in Science Advances shows the warming of the Arctic Ocean began in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the Earth began to emerge from the Little Ice Age, decades before human greenhouse gas emissions began to rise dramatically.

The warming was caused entirely by natural forces, what the researchers who conducted the study call the Atlantification of the Arctic Ocean. Paleoclimate records indicate warm subtropical waters from the Atlantic Ocean have cycled into the Arctic Ocean periodically over the past 800 years. This began occurring again in the late nineteenth century, picking up pace early in the twentieth century.

The result of this Atlantification has been a temperature increase of approximately 2℃ of the waters of the Arctic Ocean in the region studied since 1900.

The warm Atlantic waters began to enter the Arctic region when a weakening in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) began just as the Little Ice Age began to wane in the mid-1800s.

Climate models, which attribute the warming in the Arctic to human greenhouse gas emissions, fail to account for the AMOC Atlantification of the Arctic Ocean.

“The Arctic Ocean has been warming up for much longer than we previously thought,” study coauthor Francesco Muschitiello, an assistant professor of geography at the University of Cambridge, told CNN. “And this is something that’s a bit unsettling for many reasons, especially because the climate models that we use to cast projections of future climate change do not really simulate these type of changes.”

SOURCES: CNN, Science Advance

Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org
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