Rupert Darwall writes from Madrid to Real Clear Energy The Business of Climate Change. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Saving the planet takes money, and lots of it. Money is both the theme and the subtext of the latest round of UN climate talks being held here—a vast river of cash flows through the UN climate process. Formally, the meeting is about nailing down one of the more obscure provisions of the Paris Agreement: Article 6, which provides for market-based instruments so that countries can trade their way out of their decarbonization commitments. Billions of cross-border dollars and transaction fees hang on the outcome.
With the negotiations concerning mind-paralyzing definitions of interest only to the most intrepid climate geeks, business and finance leaders could wind up taking center stage. When they first started coming to climate conferences, it was to observe and advise. Now it’s to show-and-tell their green virtue. “Momentum is there,” declared Paul Polman, the former Uniliver CEO. “Climate change is the biggest business opportunity of all time.” We’re close to several policy tipping points, he suggested.
The EU is about to approve a massive Green New Deal. Michael Bloomberg’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TFCD) encourages companies to make voluntary climate-related risk disclosures. Draft EU regulations, meantime, could pave the way for mandatory climate disclosures that would force investment managers to justify their investments against climate and environmental benchmarks. Businesses are transitioning to “net zero,” Polman claims—meaning zero carbon emissions. They’re so far advanced that at this point, it’s only governments holding them back.
Peeling away the hype reveals a very different picture. Companies promising to cut their carbon emissions rely on offsetting—that is, paying for their consumption of hydrocarbon energy by supporting projects that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, such as renewable energy. If companies were genuine in their commitment to tackle climate change, though, they would develop zero-carbon baselines for their own activities.
A growing number of companies boast about the proportion of wind and solar in their energy consumption. These claims rely on an entirely legal accounting fraud that says that renewable electricity can be stored; the physical reality is that electricity is consumed the instant that it’s generated. In peddling the falsehood that business and households can depend on anything close to 100% intermittent renewable energy, companies are misleading the public.
Rather than demonstrating a genuine – and painful – commitment to radical decarbonization, business leaders’ public professions of climate awareness reflect a confluence of interest between, on the one hand, corporate public-affairs departments steeped in doctrines of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and, on the other, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). It’s a collusive process. The more environmental reporting requirements, the greater the importance of CSR in corporate hierarchies, the more work there is for external environmental consultants—and the greater the leverage NGOs wield over corporations.
Then there’s the psychology of herding, whereby CEOs are fearful of being hung out to dry if they don’t sign the latest statement pledging their company to save the world from climate breakdown. All this might remind readers of two groups in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: the Moochers, comprising, in this example, the craven CEOs and their in-house CSR crowd; and the Looters, the environmental NGOs.
Their ultimate victim is capitalism, the only economic system ever to have produced durable, transformative economic growth.
Madrid also marks the debut of finance ministers at UN climate talks, with the formation of a coalition of finance ministers for climate action. Under their Santiago Action Plan, over 50 finance ministers, including most from the EU, pledged to incorporate climate-change considerations into economic policy and seek “analytical expertise” to put their economies on the path of “inclusive economics, social, and wider restructuring.”
The first rule of economic policymaking is that any government intervention in the economy involves trade-offs.
In the case of decarbonization policies that drive up energy costs, “net zero” means zero growth. The en masse capitulation of finance ministries before the altar of climate change sends a negative signal about future economic growth. Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN climate-change convention, has already sent out invitations to finance ministers to attend next year’s talks. Once on the climate bandwagon, it’s almost impossible to get off.
Then there are those desperate to get on the climate bandwagon and never get off. Anyone who has attended a UN climate conference will have noticed that some of the best-dressed participants are from Africa’s poorest nations, some with chunky Rolexes on their wrists. The UN makes sure that they suffer no hardship from their climate-change-fighting efforts. The Daily Subsistence Allowance, once handed out in envelopes with $100 bills, is now disbursed in its plastic equivalent of Swiss value cards. NGOs, whose role at climate conferences is to act as the spontaneous expression of civil society, are also eligible. Unsurprisingly, youth NGOs want to get in on the DSA act, too.
The incentive this creates is to make the UN what its critics always accuse it of being: a talking shop. According to one estimate, participants in the Article 6 discussions have already spent 70,000 hours failing to define what a “market instrument” is. Why decide, when another comfortable meeting in another expensive city beckons?
When it comes to Article 6, rich nations want tight rules to ensure that their money won’t be used to fund phony emissions cuts. Environment ministries in poorer nations naturally see Article 6 as a stream of funding that will flow through them. In principle, though, it’s hard to see how an emissions market can work as intended, when developed nations with hard caps on their emissions can pay to outsource their cuts to nations with no caps and no rigorous inventory of greenhouse gases.
Back in the U.S., some 80 business leaders have signed a statement urging the U.S. to remain in the Paris Agreement, with its commitment to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels. Anyone who has looked at the numbers and what they entail in terms of global emissions cuts knows that this is next to impossible. It’s conceivable that global greenhouse-gas emissions will plateau, but steep cuts to “zero” aren’t going to happen. But America must have a seat at the table, comes the response. Perhaps, then, to show that they have some skin in the game, these business leaders should endure thousands of hours of meetings trying to decide what a market instrument is.
Bill Gates on Financiers Climate Fantasies:
Background from Previous Post: Why Al Gore Keeps Yelling “Fire!”
Some years ago I attended seminars regarding efforts to achieve operational changes in organizations. The notion was presented that people only change their habits, ie. leave their comfort zone, when they fear something else more than changing their behavior. The analogy was drawn comparing to workers leaping from a burning oil platform, or tenants from a burning building.
Al Gore is fronting an agenda to unplug modern societies, and thereby the end of life as we know it. Thus they claim the world is on fire, and only if we abandon our ways of living can we be saved.
The big lie is saying that the world is burning up when in fact nothing out of the ordinary is happening. The scare is produced by extrapolating dangerous, fearful outcomes from events that come and go in the normal flow of natural and seasonal climate change. They can not admit that the things they fear have not yet occurred. We will jump only if we believe our platform, our way of life, is already crumbling.
And so we come to Al Gore recently claiming that his past predictions of catastrophe have all come true.
J.Frank Bullitt writes at Issues and Insights Gore Says His Global Warming Predictions Have Come True? Can He Prove It? Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
When asked Sunday about his 2006 prediction that we would reach the point of no return in 10 years if we didn’t cut human greenhouse gas emissions, climate alarmist in chief Al Gore implied that his forecast was exactly right.
“Some changes unfortunately have already been locked in place,” he told ABC’s Jonathan Karl.
“Sea level increases are going to continue no matter what we do now. But, we can prevent much larger sea level increases. Much more rapid increases in temperature. The heat wave was in Europe. Now it’s in Arctic. We’re seeing huge melting of the ice there. So, the warnings of the scientists 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, unfortunately were accurate.”
Despite all this gloom, he’s found “good news” in the Democratic presidential field, in which “virtually all of the candidates are agreed that this is either the top issue or one of the top two issues.”
So what has Gore been predicting for the planet? In his horror movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” he claimed:
Sea levels could rise as much as 20 feet. He didn’t provide a timeline, which was shrewd on his part. But even if he had said 20 inches, over 20 years, he’d still have been wrong. Sea level has been growing for about 10,000 years, and, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, continues to rise about one-eighth of an inch per year.
“Storms are going to grow stronger.” There’s no evidence they are stronger nor more frequent.
Mt. Kilimanjaro was losing its snow cap due to global warming. By April 2018, the mountain glaciers were taking their greatest snowfall in years. Two months later, Kilimanjaro was “covered by snow” for “an unusually long stint. But it’s possible that all the snow and ice will be gone soon. Kilimanjaro is a stratovolcano, with a dormant cone that could erupt.
Point of no return. If we have truly gotten this far, why even care that “virtually all” of the Democratic candidates have agreed that global warming is a top issue? If we had passed the point of no return, there’d be no reason to maintain hope. The fact Gore’s looking for a “savior” from among the candidates means that even he doesn’t believe things have gone too far.
A year after the movie, Gore was found claiming that polar bears’ “habitat is melting” and “they are literally being forced off the planet.” It’s possible, however, that there are four times as many polar bears as there were in the 1960s. Even if not, they’ve not been forced off the planet.
Also in 2007, Gore started making “statements about the possibility of a complete lack of summer sea ice in the Arctic by as early as 2013,” fact-checker Snopes, which leans so hard left that it often falls over and has to pick itself up, said, before concluding that “Gore definitely erred in his use of preliminary projections and misrepresentations of research.”
Unwilling to fully call out one its own, Snopes added that “Arctic sea ice is, without question, on a declining trend.” A fact check shows that to be true. A deeper fact check, though, shows that while Arctic sea ice has been falling, Antarctic sea ice has been increasing.
Finally — just for today because sorting out Gore’s fabrications is an ongoing exercise — we remind readers of the British judge who found that “An Inconvenient Truth” contained “nine key scientific errors” and “ruled that it can only be shown with guidance notes to prevent political indoctrination,” the Telegraph reported in 2007.
Gore has been making declarative statements about global warming for about as long as he’s been in the public eye. He has yet to prove a single claim, though. But how can he? The few examples above show that despite his insistence to the contrary, his predictions have failed.
Even if all turned out to be more accurate than a local three-day forecast, there’s no way to say with 100% certainty that the extreme conditions were caused by human activity. Our climate is a complex system, there are too many other variables, and the science itself has limits, unlike Gore’s capacity to inflate the narrative.
Lest anyone think this is all about altruism, Al Gore is positioned to become even more wealthy from the war on meat.
Generation Investment Management is connected to Kleiner Perkins, where former Vice President Al Gore is one of its partners and advisors.
Who’s Kleiner Perkins? It turns out they are Beyond Meat’s biggest investor, according to bizjournals.com here. Beyond Meat is a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown. The company went public in May and just weeks later more than quadrupled in value.
Yes, Al Gore, partner and advisor to Kleiner Perkins, Beyond Meat’s big investor, stands to haul in millions, should governments move to restrict real meat consumption and force citizens to swallow the dubious substitutes and fakes.
If taken seriously, the World Research Institute Report, backed by Gore hacks, will help move the transition over to substitute meats far more quickly.