Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
My week at the United Nations Climate Summit has come to end as a CFACT Senior Fellow and I’m “homeward bound” (to quote Simon and Garfunkel) via the Saudi Arabian capital. The CFACT team remains on the ground for the upcoming second and final week of COP27. I offer below several summary observations about week 1 at COP27.
CFACT is a rare but vital presence among the massive collection of climate alarmists who gather at COP 27. They are often put off-guard by our tough questions – especially the manner with which we at CFACT challenge their orthodoxy. The climate faithful clearly do not expect any dissent. There exists in Sharm el-Sheikh pervasive “climate groupthink”.
Not surprisingly, COP summits provide little opportunity for actual real debate on climate issues. Absent CFACT and its allies, it probably wouldn’t exist at all. But on the good side we are able to crack through , and it is my assessment that some progress is being made – albeit slowly.
There is time for occasional audience participation at the end of a panel discussion (for those who can stay awake), and then there’s the stopping by the many pavilions on display by attending nations to chat with delegates. There, some panelist bureaucrat or activist blithely claims that the planet is warming by multiple degrees decades into the future or that we should spend trillions of dollars trying change the weather. Everyone nods in agreement…until we challenge them.
Despite the obstacles of getting our CFACT message out in such a dark place, progress is being made little by little.
We bring up things like drastic, expensive societal changes being proposed have huge ramifications. The poor and working class are and will be hurt the most. Less fossil fuel use and more wind, solar and electric (battery-powered) vehicles will do little to cool the planet. And the idea that other planetary, natural phenomenon impact the climate should be considered (they are not considered since it would blow open how unrealistic is this entire climate crusade by zeroing in solely on greenhouse gases).
We also have them ponder that absent in any discussion of climate mitigation and “decarbonization” is the elephant in the room, that is, China, Russia and even India are not going along. In fact, the leaders of two of these nations blew off attending COP27 and India’s prime minister said his nation plans to burn coal at least until 2040 – all of which negates any pinprick climate efforts in Kenya, Qatar, the U.S. and the world over.
Another point of realism missing that CFACT points out is the wildly unrealistic cost estimates of global decarbonization at $2 trillion annually for the next seven years, according to a recent UN-supported study (something even John Kerry acknowledges). The most climate-friendly northern hemispheric governments of developed nations, chiefly the Biden administration in the United States, could never deliver a fraction of this amount. The money does not exist and won’t be forthcoming any time soon, no matter the attempt by southern hemispheric nations attempts at shaming the developed world.
Finally, we remind COP27 delegates there is no acknowledgement of the previous 26 climate conferences and the litany of doomsday climate predictions gone bust. Climate speakers, from heads of state, UN officials, celebrities and activists offer no reflection, much less embarrassment, for alarmist falsehoods to the 1990s and prior. The climate goalposts for the imminent catastrophe simply get moved to the next decade, and the beat goes on.
I finished my week in Egypt with an observation I noticed on the first day I arrived: namely, COP27 spared no comforts for its elites while us peasants had long lines for bread and water. This included the multitude of high-ranking government officials transported to and fro by private jets and gas-guzzling SUVs. Throughout the week, every indoor space was duly air conditioned, though November in Egypt is quite bearable at 75 to 80 degrees. Yet all doors on these makeshift buildings remained wide open for coming and going – meaning plenty of AC energy every second of each day was blowing outside and wasted.
It was a subtle reminder that those hosting these UN Climate Summits are completely impervious with respect to their hypocrisy — sacrifice for thee, not for me.
- Peter Murphy is Senior Fellow at CFACT. He has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy, both in the non-profit sector and in government in the administration of former New York Governor George Pataki.
- He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the NY Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal.
- Twitter: @PeterMurphy26 Website: https://www.petermurphylgs.com/
November 12, 2022