December 6, 2023

COP 28

The Middle East plays host to its second straight U.N. climate conference… Dubai in the United Arab Emirates [welcomes] thousands of attendees for the 28th ‘Conference of the Parties’ of the U.N. climate conference from [last] Thursday until Dec. 12.” AP News

“The U.N. climate summit clinched an early victory [last] Thursday, with delegates adopting a new fund to help poor nations cope with costly climate disasters… The early breakthrough on the damage fund, which poorer nations had demanded for years, could help grease the wheels for other compromises to be made during the two-week summit.” Reuters

The United States committed Saturday to the idea of phasing out coal power plants… U.S. Special Envoy John Kerry announced that America was joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which means the Biden Administration commits to building no new coal plants and phasing out existing plants.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left calls for more ambitious climate goals, and criticizes the decision to hold the meeting in the UAE.

“The [loss-and-damage] fund can be understood as a form of reparations, infusing the countries suffering the worst consequences of climate change with cash from those most responsible. Researchers estimate that losses and damages so far in 55 of the most climate-vulnerable economies total more than $500 billion; initial pledges into the fund were in the hundreds of millions. The U.S. said that it intends to give $17.5 million…

“This COP may be the last chance for the world to make commitments to keep warming at a threshold where many of these island states could survive. Already, some islands are planning to need to relocate people. Tuvalu made a deal with Australia to accept 280 Tuvaluans a year… If warming is permitted to accelerate, plans like these would only become more expensive. And, eventually, the people living in these places would all have to go somewhere else.”

Zoë Schlanger, The Atlantic

“We can meet the challenge of slowing the planet’s warming. The societal capabilities to end the fossil fuel age — from technologies to regulatory systems — have existed for decades. The successful effort to save the ozone layer is a case in point. International cooperation, backed by strong scientific evidence and led by the nations most responsible, resolved this global problem…

“As with the ozone crisis, the solution to the climate crisis lies at the feet of those responsible. There should be no acceptable allowance for the wealthy producers of carbon pollution to continue to emit any of the greenhouse gases that are heating our planet faster than at any other time since the dinosaurs. We must end investments in carbon-polluting industries and ramp up investments to build clean energy systems…

“If there are to be targets for shaping a better climate future, they should be directed at the specific industries and nations responsible for polluting the atmosphere with fossil carbon emissions — and incentivizing them to replace carbon-emitting technologies with clean ones… The target for all developed nations should be 100 percent clean energy, with an agreed-on deadline — the sooner the better.”

Erle C. Ellis, New York Times

“The United Arab Emirates, a petrostate, is hosting the talks. The COP president is Sultan Al Jaber, the head of a renewable energy company and also the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. Appointing an oil exec to run global climate negotiations is not unlike letting the NRA facilitate a symposium on gun control…

“No surprise, then, that Al Jaber made some, well, stupefying comments, including that abandoning fossil fuels — which, again, should be the point of these talks — risks putting us ‘back into caves.’ He also claimed, falsely, that there is ‘no science’ supporting a total phase-out of fossil fuels… Observers are right to question Al Jaber’s intentions and the intent of this entire process. And the public could understandably be confused about whether these efforts are even worthwhile.”

John D. Sutter, CNN

From the Right

The right is skeptical of more ambitious climate goals, and calls for emissions reductions through private-sector innovation.

The right is skeptical of more ambitious climate goals, and calls for emissions reductions through private-sector innovation.

“Kerry’s pledge [to phase out coal power] 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…

“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… [China] produces more energy-related greenhouse gas emissions than North America, South America, Central America, Europe and Africa combined.”

Liz Peek, Fox News

“[Climate alarmists preach] one thing while doing another. When they were eventually able to take off from snowbound Europe, the various chief executives, nonprofit officials, green lobbyists, bureaucrats and others flew the several thousand miles in their private jets, churning more carbon into the air in a week than the average American, whom they like to lecture about his evil ways, does in a year…

“Meanwhile the real work—developing technology that runs on more sustainable energy, continues to cut the carbon footprint of traditional energy production and mitigates the effects of climate change—will get done by the capitalists whose economic system many in this crowd like to denounce as incompatible with a sustainable environment.”

Gerard Baker, Wall Street Journal

“While headlines tend to focus on stories of violent climate catastrophes and modeled worst case scenarios, the data reveal a far less frightening picture. Despite a drumbeat of stories this summer about rising heat deaths, higher temperatures also prevent cold deaths, and so far in much greater number. Globally, the result has been fewer overall temperature-related fatalities…

“Climate economic models all show that moderate policies make sense—initial carbon cuts are cheap and prevent the most damaging temperature rise—but net zero doesn’t. Averaged across the century, delivering the Paris climate promises would create benefits worth $4.5 trillion (in 2023 dollars) annually. That’s dramatically smaller than the $27 trillion annual cost that Paris promises would incur…

“For the world leaders assembling in Dubai who actually wish to help the world, a sensible alternative is ramping up research and development in low-carbon technologies to innovate green energy that will be cheap enough to outcompete fossil fuels. That would protect the economy and ensure clean energy’s adoption not only in rich, climate-concerned countries but in places like China, India and Africa.”

Bjorn Lomborg, Wall Street Journal

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