Cop26 is a gigantic flatulent mess of incoherence and sanctimony: Ex-No10 Special Adviser STEVE HILTON claims our entire establishment has been possessed by an almost spiritual climate cult
The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,’ claimed America’s most prominent young Left-wing politician, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in January 2019. Now, according to her reckoning, we have barely ten years left.
The seemingly interminable frenzy of sanctimonious virtue-signalling, histrionic fear-mongering and shameless environmental hypocrisy is certainly doing its best to make the 12 days of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow feel like 12 years.
Just ask Joe Biden, who nodded off at the exact moment he was being told that this was the most important event in human history. How bad must the summit have been for the US President to turn his 85-vehicle gas-guzzling motorcade and fleet of four planes back over the Atlantic so he could rush home to see his fellow Democrats get a drubbing in state and local elections?
With Biden and other world leaders safely shuffled off the stage, the United Nations’ giant green jamboree enters its second week by no doubt getting down to the real business: a bunch of unscrupulous lobbyists and mobile phone-wielding activists cooking up ever-more ambitious schemes to pressurise big businesses to pretend to go green whether their customers like it or not, and forcing taxpayers to foot the bill through shady corporate subsidies extorted from feckless politicians too timid to stand up to any of the moralising eco-blackmail.
Boris Johnson hosted the Cop26 conference in Glasgow which was designed to raise the issue of climate change
Cynical? I’m not the only one. Saint Greta Thunberg herself pronounced the summit a flop. She said: ‘It is not a secret that COP26 is a failure,’ accusing participants of ‘greenwashing’ and adding that the whole thing ‘has turned into a PR event’. Never have I agreed with her more.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Vote Blue, Go Green.’ ‘Hug-a-Husky.’ Wasn’t the environmental agenda at the heart of David Cameron’s bid to ‘modernise’ the Conservative Party? And wasn’t I, as his special adviser in No 10, at the heart of that?
Well, yes. But the slogan wasn’t ‘Vote Blue, Go Dumb’.
I’m all for sensible policies that help protect the environment – just like pretty much every Conservative I know.
WE LOVE nature and understand and respect it a lot more than many of the Left-wing crusaders whose idea of the natural world is a pot plant on their balcony, and who need an app on their phone to tell the difference between an oak tree and a silver birch.
I agree that climate change is real, affected by human activity, and that we should take steps to fight pollution of all kinds and protect the Earth for future generations. I’m a strong supporter of the American Conservation Coalition, which mobilises the young around environmental action through common-sense, market-based and limited-government ideals.
I have regularly hosted Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the world’s leading environmental campaigners, on my Fox News TV show to make the case for practical solutions to climate change that avoid the kind of manufactured alarmism and reckless catastrophising by ‘climate’ zealots that has most normal people rolling their eyes and reaching for some coal to burn just for the hell of it
I have regularly hosted Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the world’s leading environmental campaigners, on my Fox News TV show to make the case for practical solutions to climate change that avoid the kind of manufactured alarmism and reckless catastrophising by ‘climate’ zealots that has most normal people rolling their eyes and reaching for some coal to burn just for the hell of it.
But the increasingly fatuous drivel served up by our leaders in the name of the ‘climate agenda’ – as they insist on calling it and which the Glasgow summit pushed to new heights of embarrassing incoherence – is not advancing the cause of environmental protection but harming it, and it’s time we said so clearly. Let’s start with the most obvious and egregious stupidity: the fact that Western countries, in the name of curbing carbon emissions, are clamping down on their own domestic production of fossil fuels while at the same time begging OPEC to pump more oil to fill the energy gap that has been the inevitable result.
In California, the ruling Democrats have moved to ban fracking and, over time, all oil and gas extraction – while increasing imports from Saudi Arabia! How does that help fight climate change?
Shipping accounts for more carbon emissions even than air travel, not to mention the fact that fracking is the main source of natural gas – which is far less damaging to the environment than oil or coal, producing around 60 per cent less carbon dioxide.
No matter, say the politicians. Let’s just get a pat on the back from the activist groups for ‘taking on the fossil fuel industry’. Who cares if it causes emissions to rise? And who cares if it empowers authoritarian dictators such as Vladimir Putin, now exploiting Europe’s self-inflicted energy crisis to bolster his power and play geo-political games?
This same disconnect between the self-righteous green groupthink and the real world applies to the fossil fuel alternatives that we are assured are ready to take on the role of powering our economies in the future. Wind ’n’ solar, wind ’n’ solar… they repeat it like a mantra at every opportunity. The problem is, nobody told Mother Nature.
Some countries have different uses of fuel according to the most recent research, pictured
What happens when there’s a ‘windless summer’ as Britain just experienced? We’re about to find out, and it may not be pretty. International energy experts are predicting dire human consequences as energy prices surge and the most vulnerable in society bear the brunt. Are excess winter deaths among our most old and frail really a price worth paying for some negligible or non-existent progress towards a ‘climate’ target?
Whether it’s wind or solar, in an age of supposed technological progress and ever-increasing prosperity, why on earth are we making ourselves more dependent on energy sources that are less dependable?
Year-round sunshine is, of course, one of California’s most famous characteristics. So it’s not surprising that solar power has grown to become one of the main components of the state’s energy mix.
What’s more surprising is that the population of California – the fifth largest economy in the world if it was a separate country, the home of Silicon Valley and all its innovation – is now forced to submit to rolling power blackouts and Third World-style warnings about not using air-conditioning in the heat of the summer. Why? Because the energy from solar power can’t be efficiently stored. As a result, much of it is wasted. Yet politicians, transfixed by the notion of ‘decarbonisation’, are not only forcing us to rely more and more on these power sources that are not reliable – they actually want to increase the demands on the electricity grid by making everyone drive electric cars. And here, too, the contradictions and calamities keep piling up.
The supply chain for these so-called ‘green’ technologies make an oil slick look clean. Ecosystems around the world are being devastated by mining for the ‘rare earth’ minerals that are a vital component in batteries for electric cars. Most solar panels are made in China where the main ingredients are slave labour and massive amounts of carbon-based energy in the manufacturing process.
The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,’ claimed America’s most prominent young Left-wing politician, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in January 2019. Now, according to her reckoning, we have barely ten years left
None of this is to say we shouldn’t pursue these alternatives, or that we shouldn’t expect them to improve their environmental impact over time. But the vapid simplicities of the climate activists often give a completely false picture. In fact, everywhere you look, the ‘narrative’ of the climate change movement seems to take precedence over facts and reality.
Nowhere is this more clear than in the demonisation of countries such as the United States (which actually reduced its carbon emissions under President Trump, largely thanks to his deregulation of the energy industry, leading to an expansion of lower-carbon natural gas) and the praise received by ‘green’ countries such as Germany, whose emissions have been rising as a result of Angela Merkel’s disastrous and impetuous decision to phase out nuclear power.
And this brings us to the most glaring lunacy permeating the Establishment’s climate dogma: the rejection of the most reliable, carbon-free source of power we have, nuclear energy.
At the Glasgow summit, nuclear power was literally banished from the high-profile public ‘Green Zone’ because it is despised by green activists. I understand the sentiment. A decade or so ago, I myself was strongly opposed to nuclear power, chiefly on the grounds that the industry was heavily dependent on government support, particularly with respect to the costs of managing nuclear waste.
But ten years on, it’s a different world. We’ve seen rapid advances in nuclear power plant design, efficiency and safety, including the development of a new generation of smaller reactors, and ‘micro-reactors’ that could offer decentralised power to individual communities. These are much cheaper and quicker to build than the giant lumbering nuclear power stations from the mid-20th Century.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology experts estimate the total carbon emissions of nuclear power, including all construction and lifetime costs, are a quarter of solar power. They require far less space and raw material than wind farms. Above all, they are cheap and reliable.
So you have to ask why our leaders are so obsessed with forcing us to switch to energy sources that are more expensive and less reliable – and not even especially green, when you take into account their life cycle. The inevitable conclusion is that some form of almost spiritual climate cult has taken possession of the political, media and business establishment. They say things that aren’t true, propose ‘solutions’ that won’t work, and ignore the ones that would.
Instead of presenting a realistic assessment of how the climate is changing, and the right balance between adapting to those changes and trying to slow them down – we hear preposterously exaggerated threats of planetary doom.
Do they even know what the word ‘existential’ means, as they casually inform us that life on Earth could soon come to an end (a prediction unsupported by any scientific evidence).
Instead of advancing serious policies that would provide reliable, cheap, low-carbon energy for their own citizens and the wider world, we see the laughable spectacle of shallow politicians, desperate for the approval of self-appointed green zealots, competing with each other to spout ever-more ludicrous targets and timetables, knowing perfectly well they’ll never be held accountable for them because they will have long left office.
We see the developed world pompously lecture poor countries, instructing them to sabotage their own economic progress and become more dependent on rich countries in a kind of grotesque eco-colonialism, while allowing China to flagrantly ignore climate priorities and commission a vast expansion of coal-fired power without paying the slightest price.
We see our own energy security undermined while we strengthen the hand of some of the world’s worst autocrats and dictators. We see higher taxes and energy costs imposed on those who can least afford it, but subsidies and handouts for big business and the rich.
The whole thing is a giant, flatulent mess of incoherence and sanctimony, and the only saving grace is that the ghastly Glasgow summit has helped everyone see it for what it is.
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