Everyone loves a show, especially when there is high drama, heroes and villains and lots of hype to precede the event. By those standards, the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31 to November 12, will be a worthy of an Academy Award. To build the suspense, we are now hearing and reading hundreds of media reports about how allegedly crucial the conference will be for the fight against “catastrophic climate change”. Reportedly, there will be at least 25,000 participants with some degree of access to the proceedings, and organizers are aiming to have a public demonstration involving up to 100,000 people. Obviously it is all theater. But the rank and file citizens of the world are no longer taking it seriously. In our opinion they are challenging the ever-more fraudulent effort of socialists to undermine all that has improved the standard of living on most of our blue planet. That challenge will slowly but surely defeat this massive effort to enslave society to the machinations of evil doers.
With all this going on, it is easy to forget that the actual conference is an inter-governmental event in which only a few hundred politicians and bureaucrats at most will have a significant role in deciding the issues on the agenda. Those issues will play no role in the management of climate by any government, just efforts to redistribute wealth through extortion. We do not expect future Conference of Parties to come to an end. COP 27 and COP 28 are surely on the horizon. It is too much fun for too many bureaucrats. Drama, showmanship and politics aside, what will the conference really be about?
According to the formal agenda and the comments of the organizers, there are four key agenda topics and, arguably, one central objective not formally specified on the agenda which on the face of it all fool folks into thinking this is real intergovernmental negotiation. It will however remain a joke when the thousands of bureaucrats head for home. It has been such in the previous 25 meetings.
The first agenda topic is to “finalize the rules of the Paris Agreement” of 2015. This innocuous-sounding item in fact involves two rather important questions. The first is whether, and how, to set up formal administrative arrangements that will require the parties to the Agreement to be more “transparent”. That entails establishing mechanisms whereby countries will be required not only to track and report to the United Nations bureaucracy on their greenhouse gas emissions, climate action and funding but also to submit to regular “multilateral assessment” of their performance, the results of which would be made public to praise or embarrass countries as the case might be. The second question concerns how a new “carbon markets” system will work. That system is intended to provide a means whereby both governments and companies can fund emissions reductions in other countries and get credit for it at home. There is a high risk of double-counting and cheating. The real goal is to advance the development of a world governing body to “coordinate” and guide individual countries’ actions.
The second and third agenda topics are closely linked. One deals with how to finance climate adaptation measures in developing countries and how to reimburse them for the “loss and damage” they have suffered as a result of the climate changes allegedly attributable to the use of hydrocarbons by the developed countries in the past. Keep in mind that the damage was and is Zero .
A second concern is how to finance more climate action, with a focus on the developing countries. In other words, the issue is money. The developing countries want the wealthier countries collectively to pay at least $100 billion per year into a fund that will finance emission reduction projects in the poorer countries, agree on a process for increasing that total after 2025, and pay “reparations” for the damages already done or anticipated in future.
What are these lunatics smoking? There are a few leaders who will pay in to the fund in order to virtue signal like Obama in the past and perhaps Biden in the future to appease their Marxist followers. Few others have the money or need for their countries support. A paper prepared by the UN’s developing countries arbitrarily laid out what they believe each developed country owes the undeveloped.; this totally unsupportable document insists that $80 billion per year is required from the United States for increased climate aid. The countries of Africa have demanded $3 trillion. China would not have to pay; in fact, it would qualify as a recipient. The sane world is no longer taking any of this seriously.
The fourth agenda item concerns how to “transition to a decade of action”, which is code for supplementing agreements among governments at the global level with other arrangements to promote partnerships and pledges, notably multi-country declarations (i.e. to phase out coal, to defund oil and gas, to prohibit sales of internal combustion vehicles, etc.), public-private partnerships, municipal-level cooperation, and others. The goal is to create institutional arrangements that will commit all parts of society. This sounds terrible for our futures but none of this can ever happen. It is really as Shakespeare said “sound and fury signifying nothing” except fun and games for the thousands of the world’s useless bureaucrats.
While it is not formally on the agenda, the parties will not be able to ignore the elephant in the room, which is the continuing growth in global GHG emissions due to increasing populations and economic growth in the developing countries. Based on present trends, 2021 will mark the second largest growth in global emissions in history. Both the International Energy Agency and the United States Energy Information Administration, the two most authoritative energy market forecasters in the world, have recently projected that global emissions will grow, not decline, from now to 2050. The UN staff, in its analysis of the updated emissions reduction plans to 2030 submitted by the Parties to the Convention, found that, if every planned action were taken, global emissions in 2030 will be 16.3% above 2010 levels, not 45% below, as the more radical climate campaigners claim is necessary.
The other “elephant” is the near-global crisis in energy markets which is driving electricity and natural gas prices in Europe to unprecedented levels, causing chaos in coal markets in Asia, and risks leaving millions of people freezing in the dark this coming winter. Much, although not all, of the blame for that can be placed on climate policies.
The reality is that the conference will probably flounder on the financial issues alone. With 100,000 people marching in the streets, and millions more watching at home, the stage managers will have their hands full trying to deliver a “happy” ending. Get your popcorn ready.