There is no way to remove fossil-fuel emissions from the world without causing economic chaos.
After just two days, the world has been drowning in COP26 climate hysteria delivered by politicians, corporate leaders and activists. Staying afloat through the onslaught, hanging on to lifeboats or, alternatively, fleeing killer wildfires and ideological dust storms, requires constant vigilance, awareness and an ability to distinguish fact from fiction and farce.
We begin with the farce, or in this case, f(arse) as staged by media climate star Greta Thunberg who led a group of teenage scientists in a rousing rendition of the latest hymn to a new world order. Under Greta’s musical direction the demonstrators chanted : “You can shove your climate crisis up your arse.”
Judging by Twitter reactions, the idea has wide support across the world from all sides of the climate policy debate.
From Greta’s inspiring call to action, we turn now to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s parade of banalities and fact-twisting justifications for his government’s plan to cap carbon emissions, cripple Canada’s fossil fuel industry and continue to ratchet up carbon taxes.
To support his policies, Trudeau played the heat and wildfire cards in his speech before the assembled leaders. Carbon emissions must be reduced down to net zero, he said, to make sure Canada and the world avoid future devastating heat and wildfires that destroyed the British Columbia town of Lytton. “What happened in Lytton can and has and will happen anywhere,” said Trudeau . “How many more signs do we need?”
Trudeau continued: “Canada is warming, on average, twice as quickly as the rest of the world. And in our north, it’s three times quicker. The science is clear: We must do more faster.”
Ah, yes, the science. The fact is that it is far from certain that Lytton’s destruction by wildfire is the product of fossil-fuel-caused climate change, that wildfires are increasing or that Canada’s temperature is rising faster than the world average.
The latest data on wildfires point in the opposite direction. According to the National Forestry Database , the number of wildfires across Canada has been in sharp decline for two decades, as has the forest areas burned by wildfires. The year 2020, in fact, produced the lowest number of fires in two decades (3,935 compared with 10,741 in 1998) and the smallest area burned (227,000 acres compared with more than 7.4-million in 1995).
The trend is down. The numbers for 2021 are not yet in, but an Alberta report Tuesday on wildfires said that the province’s wildfire season came to an end on Oct. 31 and, despite the dry weather, a total of 1,307 wildfires burned 52,955 hectares since March 1. In comparison, the five-year average between 2016 and 2020 was 1,123 wildfires that burned 317,326 hectares.
The heat wave that led to Lytton’s destruction is certainly a climate anomaly, but that does not make it a product of anthropogenic climate change. Massive heat waves and dust storms descended on Canada in the 1930s, long before the 20th-century adoption of fossil fuels as the world’s leading source of energy.
Trudeau’s reference to Canada warming faster than the world average is based on a misleading Environment Canada report last year. As Andrew Roman highlighted on this page at the time, scores of other countries also recorded higher than “average” temperatures, mainly because the global average includes temperatures across the world’s oceans, which account for 70 per cent of the earth’s surface.
The statistic is essentially meaningless. The objective, said Roman, is to politically manufacture an emergency to pressure “frightened voters (and their even more frightened children) to accept whatever measures the government may propose to reduce CO2 emissions.”
There is no room here to get into the rhetorical excesses — the contradictory presentation of fact, fiction and farce — from all the political leaders. UN Secretary General António Guterres managed to cover all three “f”s in his opening comments , including another arse reference, albeit indirect, as he sounded more like Greta than a mature political leader. “It’s time to say: enough. Enough of brutalizing biodiversity. Enough of killing ourselves with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet. Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves.”
Speaking of man-vs-nature, Canada’s own David Suzuki appeared on CBC Radio’s Sunday morning show to blast the whole COP26 process as a sham. Instead of fencing off nature, we need to fence off humans. Fencing off nature within parks and other reserves is not the answer. Praising Greta, Suzuki said, “The fences are the wrong way. We’ve got to fence human beings and keep us away” from nature.
In the world of the green — which is the model for COP26 — humans are not part of nature.
In the longer run, however, the fact that humans are part of nature may win out. The most powerful sign that fact will ultimately triumph over anti-human fiction came indirectly from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He pledged that India would aim to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2070 — a target so far off the 2050 COP26 agenda that the entire net-zero project appears destined to end with zero real action.
The facts behind the net-zero fiction is why COP26 will become COPOUT26. There is no way to remove fossil-fuel emissions from the world without causing economic chaos. India and other developing nations will not allow their economies to be crippled, nor can developed nations devastate their own economies while developing nations expand.