This weekend, thousands of the world’s richest and most influential people will travel to Glasgow, Scotland, for the COP26 summit on Climate Change. Many of them will take private Jets, though the emissions from those will likely be dwarfed by the sheer quantity of hot air spouted from their mouths once they get there. One thing is certain: The conference will receive glowing media coverage. Once again, just like COP 15, and COP 18, and almost every other COP before it, we will be told that this represents a last chance to save the world.
Governments love these events. Media loves them even more. They are a chance for our Politicians to stand astride the world’s stage, making historic speeches on the very future of the planet. Every President and Prime Minister who attends will do so at least partially in the hope of having a Bill Pullman moment from “Independence Day” – the historic, never forgotten speech that arouses a slumbering world into action. Journalists will be there to cover “history in the making”. Thousands of Green Activists will attend to chant and cheer and take part in the vox pops that will appear on news programmes. Some of them will dress as vegetables. Others will hold signs depicting a world on fire. All will agree that this, right now, right here, is the moment to save the world.
Saving the world, of course, costs money. And the function of COP 26 is to decide how much saving the world must be done, and exactly how much western taxpayers have to give up to fund it.
The truth is that there is no saving the world. At least, not along the lines that the journalists and politicians attending COP believe there to be. In advance of the Conference, the world’s foremost Superpower, the USA, has already seen President Biden’s big Climate plan killed in the United States Senate. The Chinese, meanwhile, have pledged to reduce emissions…. By 2060. According to their very own projections, Chinese emissions will peak in 2030 – the very year when Ireland plans to cut its own emissions by an unbelievable and unachievable 50%. If cutting emissions is needed to save the world, then the world is doomed, and COP 26 is a sham.
But the show must go on.
If you are Irish, then over the next three weeks you will be treated to an unprecedented propaganda onslaught by media outlets which are heavily invested in the whole Climate boondoggle. Our friends at the Journal, for example, have received hundreds of thousands of euros from the European Parliament to run the Orwellian-sounding “good information project”, and intend to cover COP 26 “extensively”. Having received masses of funding to do so from the European Union, which has a vested interest in presenting the conference as a success.
RTE, meanwhile, has its own financial interests at stake. It is desperate for more licence fee revenue, and, in an overt attempt to get into the good graces of the Green Party, has pledged mega coverage of the conference and climate issues generally. You can be absolutely certain that the conference will be presented as a historic and monumental moment.
There’s nothing wrong, of course, with covering the COP 26 conference. We will do so ourselves, here at Gript, from an environmentally friendly distance. But covering the conference also means covering the basic truth: Which is that outside of the EU, basically no country on earth is willing or able to make the cuts in emissions which Green activists say are necessary to save the world. If the world is still here and basically fine in 50 years, it will not be because Green activists succeeded. It will be because they were wrong.
Look at the largest polluting countries: China intends to continue to grow its emissions at a historically unprecedented rate. Brazil intends to grow its agriculture sector and continue with deforestation. The United States has no plan to deindustrialise, and remains the most car-reliant society in human history. The developing world makes the case, convincingly, that it deserves a chance to grow and industrialise, and so it will continue to increase emissions.
Where is the global net zero coming from? Nowhere, is the truthful answer.
Even in Ireland, the figures are stark. The most environmentally zealous Government in our history has levied carbon taxes and carbon budgets, invested billions in clean energy, shuttered power plants, and announced plans to ban the diesel car. Even so, Ireland comfortably missed its most recent carbon emissions target, and is set to pay fines for it. Even with a full national lockdown for most of 2020, emissions fell by a mere 3% or so. Politicians are happy to delude voters that they have a plan to cut those emissions by half in eight years, but they simply do not have such a plan. It is a myth.
None of these facts – which are indisputable – will stop the grand fortnight of speechifying and nonsense that now awaits us. They will not stop the media presenting COP 26 as a magnificent success and a historic moment. Too much of society is invested in this narrative to turn back now. But people with the capacity for critical thought should be able to see through it.