COP28 climate conference is not just the Super Bowl of virtue signaling. It’s doing real damage

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It is tempting to dismiss COP28 as the Super Bowl of virtue signaling. But that would be to ignore the massive damage being done to our country by the unrealistic and costly climate policies of the Biden White House. The administration’s wrong-headed ‘leadership’ on phasing out fossil fuels, which currently provide nearly 80% of U.S. energy, is a highlight of COP28; their policies are making Americans poorer and less secure.   

To wit: since Joe Biden took office, electricity prices have soared 24%; during President Trump’s four years in office, average electricity prices actually declined. 

COP 28, the annual climate talkathon, has had its light moments. Some 80,000 attendees are participating, a large number of whom are traveling by emissions-spewing private jets. Over the weekend, some of those planes were frozen to icy runways in Munich as global warming was trumped by unseasonal cold and blizzards which blanketed much of Europe.   

Moreover, the event is being held in Abu Dhabi, a major oil producing nation, and hosted by Sultan Al Jaber, head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). In the lead-up to the meeting, leaked briefing documents revealed Jaber was plotting to use his position as host to negotiate new oil and gas deals with foreign governments, even as a central theme of COP28 was the phase-out fossil fuels. 

Worse, a video from two weeks ago surfaced on Monday in which Jaber questioned the entire premise behind ditching oil, gas and coal.  ‘There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says the phaseout of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5,’ Al Jaber said. He was also critical of the questioner, saying he had anticipated a ‘sober and mature conversation’ not an ‘alarmist’ one. 

The Biden White House embraces extreme climate alarmism, and is sending scores of officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Climate Czar John Kerry to COP 28. 

They will wave a white flag on behalf of American voters, eager to surrender one of our nation’s great geopolitical advantages — cheap, abundant and reliable fossil fuels — and also tackle, according to the State Department, ‘issues related to the nexus of climate and….gender, global health, subnational diplomacy, youth, and more.’  

In her opening remarks, VP Harris parroted Biden’s conviction that climate change poses the greatest existential threat to our country and touted what she described as almost $1 trillion in new spending approved by the Biden White House for its climate agenda.  

Former Secretary of State Kerry, meanwhile, committed to closing all U.S. coal-fired power plants, which today produce 20% of our electricity, and substituting renewables like solar and wind power. 

Kerry’s pledge ignores the collapse of a number of costly wind projects which have been abandoned because they are not financially feasible. Just recently Danish wind-power giant Orsted dumped two wind farms in New Jersey; other projects in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut have also been dropped. Wind projects are not just failing in the U.S.; they are also being shelved in the U.K, the Netherlands and Norway.   

That’s not the only promise Kerry made; he also vowed a sharp crack-down on methane emissions produced by U.S. oil and gas producers. The Independent Petroleum Producers of America, which represents small and independent oil companies, said the new White House rule could cause almost half our country’s U.S. low-producing wells to be shut down. Those wells account for some 8% of U.S. oil output and 8% to 10% of natural gas production

Here’s who did not join the dozens of nations pledging to phase out coal or reduce methane leaks: China and India.  

India, the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, is burning a record amount of coal, which provides roughly 75% of their electricity. In recent days, India’s government announced plans to add 17 gigawatts of coal-based generating capacity over the next 16 months, described by Reuters as ‘its fastest pace in recent years.’ 

Moreover, the Financial Times reported a week ago that India is looking to triple its underground coal mining output by 2028, even as the woke bankers at COP28 seek to squash financing for coal projects.  

Why would India buck international pressures to expand its coal industry? Because the government of Narenda Modi has put India on a rapid growth trajectory, and it needs power. India is now the world’s most populous country and fastest-growing large economy. It is the second-largest coal producer after China. While making polite noises about climate change, Modi has stressed the need to provide his country with energy security. Recent elections, in which his party swept three of four Indian states, show his priorities remain popular. 

Joining India in resisting international pressure to cut back coal consumption is China, which produces more energy-related greenhouse gas emissions than North America, South America, Central America, Europe and Africa combined. Though Beijing has made ramping up renewable energy a major goal – China is now installing as many solar and wind installations as the rest of the world put together — the country continues to mine and burn coal. As the New York Times reported recently, Chinese officials have defended the coal-fired plants ‘as needed for energy security’, echoing Modi. President Xi is dealing with a struggling economy, and refuses to add more speed bumps.

Enthusiasm for Biden’s climate agenda – for unpopular electric vehicles and irritating mandates on ceiling fans, gas stoves and other everyday items – will plummet as electricity prices continue to rise. 

In 2024 voters may decide that spending a trillion dollars on climate projects that could well boost Americans’ cost of living is a very bad deal and that allowing a more gradual transition to clean energy makes more sense. 

Voters may decide that Biden’s climate diktats are one speed bump too many.

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