And so it starts. It’s that time of year again. The cheap Halloween tat made in China is already being replaced on the shelves of shops by cheap Christmas tat made in China, thanks to the UK’s brilliant policy of exporting its manufacturing, jobs and greenhouse gas emissions to countries with lower environmental standards, then transporting the goods in question half-way round the world to sell in UK shops. It’s also the time of year for something else. And so, while the tsunami of propaganda in the UK mainstream media which accompanied COP26 in Glasgow has not been seen this year, the usual suspects are certainly doing their best to crank things up ahead of COP 27. With deliberate timing, reports and studies are being released to generate “news”, and with great predictability, the Guardian and the BBC are duly providing the headlines.
Over recent days, the BBC has given us the following headline: “COP27: Climate change threatening global health – report”. Never knowingly outdone where climate alarmism is concerned, the Guardian goes one better with “Global health at mercy of fossil fuel addiction, warn scientists – Reliance on oil and gas worsening climate impacts and compounding food, energy and cost of living crises”.
I suppose it could be said that I’m being a little unfair in criticising the BBC and the Guardian for their sensationalist headlines, given that both are about a report in the Lancet, which itself doesn’t shy away from an OTT title: “The 2022 Global Report of the Lancet Countdown – The health of people around the world is at the mercy of a persistent fossil fuel addiction.”
It strikes me as a highly political piece of work. To take just one of its claims, repeated by the BBC:
Heat-related deaths globally have increased by two thirds over the last two decades, it finds.
No mention, however, is made of the fact that many more people around the world die of extreme cold than of extreme heat, nor that warming in recent years has consequently saved more lives than it has cost.
I was going to spend some time seeking to analyse (and, ideally, debunk) the claims in the Lancet, but having been busy with other things over the last few days, I have been too slow out of the blocks. Instead I refer readers to two excellent articles which have done the job for me – first, “Climate alarmism is bad for your health – The world is getting healthier and wealthier, despite what the doom-mongers claim” by Laurie Wastell at the Spiked website; and Paul Homewood’s piece on 28th October.
State of Climate Action 2022
Next up is the Guardian again, this time with its take on the “State of Climate Action Report 2022”, conveniently issued on 26th October by the World Resources Institute, just in time to drum up a few headlines ahead of COP27. The World Resources Institute seems to be a marvellously wealthy organisation, as is apparent from its 2021 Report. Many of the usual climate-concerned lobby groups, billionaire philanthropists and foundations are listed among the major donors (minimum donation $750,000). UK taxpayers will be particularly pleased to see two separate branches of the UK government up there among the big-hitter donors – BEIS and Defra. However, I digress. The Guardian’s take on its report is a headline telling us: “Cut meat consumption to two burgers a week to save planet, study suggests – Climate crisis report says ‘we are not winning in any sector’ as experts call for urgent action on fossil fuels”
The researchers found a gloomy picture, with just over half the indicators well off track and five heading in the wrong direction.
The indicators of most concern were the use of gas, which is increasing rapidly at a time when it should be reduced in favour of renewable energy; steel-making, where emissions-reduction technology is not being adopted fast enough; journeys taken in passenger cars; the rate of loss of mangrove forests [they obviously haven’t read Mangrove Mayhem]; and emissions from agriculture.
…Bill Hare, the chief executive of Climate Analytics, which also helped to produce the report, cautioned over the increasing use of gas for electricity generation around the world…
…The analysis concluded that far greater investment was required to shift the global economy to a low-carbon footing: about $460bn a year for the next decade in additional funds would be needed, and governments must also stop their favourable treatment of fossil fuels.
And of course:
The report’s findings will be presented to governments at the COP27 UN climate summit, which begins in Egypt next month.
The report was written by Systems Change Lab, and its section on the WRI website tells us that it is:
a collaborative initiative convened by World Resources Institute and Bezos Earth Fund. Systems Change Lab supports the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions and works with key partners and funders including Climate Action Tracker, ClimateWorks Foundation, the Global Environment Facility, Just Climate, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the University of Tokyo’s Center for Global Commons, among others. Systems Change Lab is a component of the Global Commons Alliance.
It’s always nice to see a key report going in front of a “vital” COP meeting, having been prepared by a group of disinterested people with no axe to grind…
They introduce themselves with this analysis:
The world stands at a crossroads: continue to invest in yesterday’s economy — a decision that will intensify climate change, accelerate biodiversity loss and deepen socioeconomic inequities — or embark upon a great global reset that will lead humanity toward a more sustainable, prosperous and just future for all. While the latter path is the obvious choice, actions to date have largely failed to spur change at the speed and scale needed to mitigate the global crises we now face.
I suppose we can’t complain that they don’t tell us up front what their agenda is.
‘We need to get China’: John Kerry calls for return to bilateral climate talks
Another Guardian article from last week gives prominence to John Kerry and his views.
John Kerry has urged China to return to the negotiating table with the US on the climate crisis to kickstart stalled global progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The special envoy on climate to the US president, Joe Biden, said: “China is 30% of all emissions. We need to get China.”..
…The failure of the world’s two biggest emitters to cooperate has created problems for global climate action. “Absent China, are we getting the best hope for where we want to try to go? Not, not in my judgment,” Kerry told the Guardian in an interview. …But Kerry said China had in effect stopped negotiating with the US on climate issues, as well as on other matters. He said: “It’s been impossible, really. China has pulled out of the talks for now.”..
And that really is the nub of the matter. China, and many other major greenhouse gas emitters, aren’t interested in the agenda, other than to the extent that it suits their agenda, which is obviously to weaken the western economies while not weakening their own. So far they’ve done a very good job of persuading many useful idiots in the west that they’re playing ball on climate change, and thus giving encouragement to the developed western world to continue committing economic suicide, while exporting jobs, manufacturing capacity, and emissions to China. John Kerry isn’t stupid. One might have hoped that the reality of the situation would have dawned on him by now.
COP27: Prioritise climate or face catastrophe – UN chief
Another BBC article, providing yet more hype, was written under the above heading last week. It runs over the same old ground:
Countries must re-prioritise climate change or the world faces catastrophe, the UN chief has told BBC News.
Secretary General António Guterres was speaking in New York ahead of a major climate conference in Egypt…
…He also called on the US and China to work together at the conference, saying the world relies on their leadership. In August, China said it was ending co-operation with the US on climate change after a leading US politician visited Taiwan.
“This is the defining issue of our time, nobody has the right to sacrifice international action on climate change for any reason,” he warned.
He doesn’t seem to have cottoned on yet to the reality of the situation, either.
Carbon emissions to peak in 2025 in ‘historic turning point’, says IEA
Meanwhile, back at the Guardian, publicity is given to the fantasy views of the International Energy Agency. Its name may create the impression that it is perhaps part of, or linked to the United Nations, that it is an authoritative, objective organisation, interested only in offering impartial advice to the developed and developing world. However, as its website makes clear, that isn’t actually the case:
Created in 1974 to ensure the security of oil supplies, the International Energy Agency has evolved over the years. While energy security remains a core mission, the IEA today is at the center of the global energy debate, focusing on a wide variety of issues, ranging from electricity security to investments, climate change and air pollution, energy access and efficiency, and much more…
…While energy security remains a core mission, the IEA has evolved over the years, adapting to the transformation of the global energy system. Today, the IEA is at the heart of global dialogue [sic, it seems more like a monologue] on energy, providing authoritative statistics and analysis and examining the full spectrum of energy issues, advocating policies that will enhance the reliability, affordability and sustainability [sic] of energy in its 31 members countries and beyond. …
…The modernization of the IEA was structured under three pillars: strengthening and broadening the IEA’s commitment to energy security beyond oil, to natural gas and electricity; deepening the IEA’s engagement with major emerging economies; and providing a greater focus on clean energy technology, including energy efficiency.
In other words, it is now a powerful lobby organisation, committed to ending the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Everything it says needs to be interpreted in that light. For instance, things like this (which make it clear where it stands on the climate change debate and especially the debate on related policy issues):
He also dismissed criticism from some climate deniers that spending on clean energy had contributed to higher energy prices, saying that argument was “hiding who sparked the energy crisis, which is Russia”. The IEA found that higher shares of renewable energy were correlated with lower electricity prices.
“None of the government leaders complained about too much clean energy,” Birol said. “They complain that they don’t have enough clean energy.”
There’s just one problem with that. It isn’t true. Visit the BBC Market Data page on its website, and you see that the price of gas started to rise dramatically before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and although that invasion certainly created massive upward pressure on the price of gas, it peaked in August, since when it has more than halved, and is now less than it was during a pre-war peak in December last year.
Prices are a function of supply and demand. If you don’t constrain demand, while constraining supply by telling suppliers that there is going to be no market for their products and that they will be left with stranded assets, then you really shouldn’t be surprised if they cease to invest in new sources of supply at the previous rate. In that scenario, prices will rise. And that is what has happened.
Funnily enough, as recently as 28th July 2022 the IEA issued a press release with the heading “Global coal demand is set to return to its all-time high in 2022”. Its Oil Market Report from September 2022 tells us that despite covid restrictions continuing to depress the Chinese economy, “world oil demand is forecast to grow by 2 mb/d in 2022 and 2.1 mb/d next year.”
Climate crisis study finds heatwaves have cost global economy $16tn
Still with the Guardian, we find a report on a study released, with impeccable timing on 28th October, with the heading “Globally unequal effect of extreme heat on economic growth”. The Guardian tells us that “[h]eatwaves brought on by human-caused climate breakdown have cost the global economy about $16tn since the 1990s, according to a study”. What the study actually says is:
Cumulative 1992–2013 losses from anthropogenic extreme heat likely fall between $5 trillion and $29.3 trillion globally.
If I had more time, I would try to analyse that claim in depth. Suffice to say that I’m not convinced by an estimate whose upper end is almost 6 times higher than its lower end, with the Guardian plumping for a figure just under the half-way point for its headline. Read the Guardian article, and one can’t help suspecting an agenda behind it.
World close to ‘irreversible’ climate breakdown, warn major studies
The final Guardian article in this round-up tells us that:
All three of the key UN agencies have produced damning reports in the last two days.
And who are the key agencies and what do they say?
The UN environment agency’s report found there was “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place” and that “woefully inadequate” progress on cutting carbon emissions means the only way to limit the worst impacts of the climate crisis is a “rapid transformation of societies”.
Current pledges for action by 2030, even if delivered in full, would mean a rise in global heating of about 2.5C, a level that would condemn the world to catastrophic climate breakdown, according to the UN’s climate agency. Only a handful of countries have ramped up their plans in the last year, despite having promised to do so at the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow last November.
The UN’s meterological agency reported that all the main heating gases hit record highs in 2021, with an alarming surge in emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Key reports published in the last two days, eh? Science, or politics?
And, by the way, if all the key indicators remain so depressingly and relentlessly negative after 26 COPs to date, at what point will they accept that the whole jamboree is a waste of time and money that achieves nothing other than to release a lot of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere while tens of thousands of people jet around the world every year to party and to pontificate?
Should they stay or should they go?
The BBC has been lamenting for some time that our new monarch is no longer to attend COP27, given its political nature and the fact that he is no longer monarch-in-waiting. Still, it found what it evidently regards as good news in its article headed “King to hold event to mark COP27 summit he will miss”.
The King is to host a pre-conference reception at Buckingham Palace next Friday, bringing together 200 business leaders, politicians and campaigners.
Other than to mark the end of the UK’s hosting of COP26 we are not really enlightened as to the purpose of this meeting and what it is supposed to achieve. Nor are we told what will be the carbon footprint associated with it.
Yesterday, the editorial in the Observer, the Guardian’s Sunday sister paper, described UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision not to attend COP27 as “shameful” and a “disgrace”. It lectured us to the effect that “Britain started this crisis; it should be helping end it”. It worked itself up to a rousing peroration in the final paragraph:
We should be clear. The UK cannot sideline the unfolding climate catastrophe on the grounds we have more important things to do. Britain began this whole grim story. We created the Industrial Revolution and were therefore the first to burn coal – and later on, oil and gas – in vast amounts to power our way to global domination in the 19th century. The first significant additions of man-made greenhouse gases to the atmosphere emanated from this country. For its leader to shun this responsibility is an embarrassment and a disgrace.
There are a few problems with this tub-thumping, of course. The fact that Britain was the first to the industrial revolution doesn’t mean that other countries wouldn’t have gone down the same road had we not done so. It also ignores the fact that the UK is nowhere near the leading cumulative emitter of greenhouse gases, and it ignores the fact that the UK has probably reduced its emissions (admittedly in large part by exporting them) more than any other nation. Nor is an explanation offered as to what exactly is the difference to the outcome of COP27 that we can anticipate if our Prime Minister does attend the jamboree.
Given today’s development, it may prove to be more than a little embarrassing that they chose to add this sentence:
The fact that the nation’s environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, has also dismissed Cop27 as “just a gathering of people in Egypt” underscores the blinkered incompetence that lies at the heart of the current administration.
Why should that be embarrassing? Well, the favourite climate pin-up of the Guardian and the Observer, their regular go-to for a quote on everything climate-related, Greta Thunberg, has just spoken in terms that suggest that she rather agrees with Thérèse Coffey. Just 24 hours or so after the Observer editorial appeared, the Guardian produced another article with this headline: “Greta Thunberg to skip ‘greenwashing’ Cop27 climate summit in Egypt – Swedish climate activist says the UN’s climate conference will be ‘used as an opportunity for leaders and people in power to get attention’.” It edits her words so as to be slightly less embarrassing, but the Independent isn’t so reticent, with its more dramatic headline: “Greta Thunberg says Cop27 a ‘scam’ that provides platform for ‘greenwashing, lying and cheating’.”
Greta Thunberg has described climate summits such as the Cop27 conference taking place in Egypt next week as a “scam” that is “failing” humanity and the planet by not leading to “major changes”.
The Swedish activist said people in positions of power were using the high-profile gatherings for attention and were “greenwashing, lying and cheating”.
“As it is now Cops not [sic] are not really going to lead to any major changes, unless of course, we use them as an opportunity to mobilise,” she said…
Activists must try to “make people realise what a scam this is and realise that these systems are failing us”, she added.
And, not for the first time, I find myself in surprising agreement with Greta.