Another year, another climate scare, another COP. The 26th one actually! The first was held way back in 1995 when the planet only had 12 years left before being eviscerated in a fireball caused by human industrialisation and profligate use of fossil fuels. Funny that...26 years later I’m on my fourth electric blanket and nothing else has changed. Including the same hysterical climate alarmist claims preached every year that this well-worn UN carnival rolls around.
COP stands for Conference of Parties and that is a pretty accurate description because for the 30,000 or so politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, celebrities and environmentalists who fly in each year this is certainly a massive party and a chance to spend up large on fancy hotels and restaurants at the tax-payers expense.
Our own Climate Change Minister, James Shaw, is showing up in person...well more as a small team really, with about 10 other people to tell him where to go, what to say and to make his dinner reservations each night. That’s if anyone actually cares what little old New Zealand says when we account for an insignificant 0.17% of global emissions. Yes, that’s correct...I didn’t get the decimal point in the wrong place.
This year’s host city is Glasgow. Now, at this point I have to own up to being Scottish but I come from the drier side of the country which has a world-class historical city called Edinburgh, my home town. Glasgow is known more for its industrial past rather than its good looks. To be fair, Glaswegians are friendlier than their eastern counterparts and have a unique sense of humour…. if you can understand them, which is a challenge even for me.
Hopefully, Oor Jimmie will head out with his “Guide to the Glaswegian Vernacular” and mingle with the locals, ideally on a Friday night just after the pubs close. Greeting them with a cheeky “kia ora”, he may engage them in a climate debate and explain to them why they and their whanau are ruining the planet. After quite a few pints, this may not be received favourably by his audience and they may well decide to send him for a wee trip “doon the Clyde”. That would save one MIQ place!
Up to 400 private jets are flying to COP26, on top of the many standard airline flights carrying the tier-two bludgers. Reducing global emissions from flying will be high on the conference agenda but this has obviously escaped the attendees who can’t, or choose not to, see anything glaringly hypocritical in meeting to discuss this while adding significantly to the total at the same time. Ever heard of Zoom!! No, that’s not the latest high-speed private jet.
Boris Johnson is this year’s host leader so has to set a good example to the rest of the world. The UK has certainly invested heavily in wind, both onshore and offshore, to the point where it no longer sees the need to develop future North Sea oil and gas fields. In fact it got so carried away with its own green propaganda that it closed down its biggest natural gas storage facility. Then the wind stopped blowing for quite a few weeks and Boris was desperately trying to import power from his European neighbours while buying gas from Russia. Power prices spiked massively and several power companies had to be bailed out. The next few months could well be his winter of discontent, with Putin playing hard to get and twiddling with the gas taps. Boris looks and sounds like a clown but is supposedly intelligent and astute. I’m guessing his ego got the better of him and he was the source of this rumour because his actions on climate change would fit perfectly in any circus sideshow.
Prince Charles is leading the environmental charge on behalf of the Royal Family. Prince William, Kate and Sir David Attenborough will all be there in support. Hold on...sorry, DA isn’t a royal, he's only a national treasure. Charles has a special affinity with the environment. Just ask his plants...they talk to him every day! Unfortunately, years of Royal inbreeding has diminished the capability for rational thought, while reinforcing an inability to open “ones” mouth properly so that every word sounds like it’s gone through a mangle. Charles has been unwavering in his apocalyptic warnings over the past 20 years so that’s as good a reason as any to ignore them.
Greta Thunberg will be there, as usual, looking cross and causing lots of grown-ups to leave the room crying and feeling thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Greta is great isn’t she! Well, only in as much as great is an anagram of Greta...that’s as far as it goes! Spent a good chunk of her school years on strike attending climate protests. Clearly, missed all her science classes on climatology because she doesn’t half talk some crap.
The developing countries, led by China, India and Russia, love these conferences. They turn up, have a good feed, sleep in a comfy bed, then leave without having to commit to anything...other than trying their very best to try their best to show up next year. Instead, they usually ask for an eye-watering sum of money - I believe it’s….$1 trillion dollars (said in my best Dr Evil voice) this year, adjusted for inflation and colonialism - from the rich, developed countries, who have already used up shitloads of coal, oil and gas to become rich in the first place. There’s no way this will be coughed up and that’s just fine because the rest of the world can carry on developing their fossil fuels guilt-free and raising the standard of living of their own people.
COPs are strictly for the uber rich and powerful elites to strut and display their sanctimonious virtuousness. They’re an excuse to lecture everyone on how to “save the planet” while blatantly doing all the things that are supposedly verboten. Telling people to fly less, or give up eating meat, or buy an EV at twice the price, or pay double for your power because renewables don’t work nearly as well as conventional power is easy when you have more money than sense or are exempted by your own rules.
The truth is that the UN “solutions” to save us from climate change will very likely cause far more environmental degradation, economic suffering and lock developing countries into a future of poverty and need. In my book COP should stand for Consternation Over Pragmatism and Continually Over Promise, because that is the only thing you can be sure of and this year will be absolutely no different.
Derek Mackie is a geologist with a keen interest in current affairs.