COP28 and the scourge of eco-imperialism • Watts Up With That?


By Paul Homewood

From Spiked:

It feels like at COP28 the delusions of Western greens finally crashed against the shores of reality. The luxuriant doom-mongering of privileged eco-warriors who insist the world will end if we don’t phase out fossil fuels was confronted by a truth no reasonable person can deny: that fossil fuels remain vital to human life. In the gleaming oasis of Dubai it became clear that oil, gas and even coal are not going away anytime soon, however much the Gretas of the West might want them to. Why? Because – brace yourselves – India, China, Brazil and other nations are not prepared to sacrifice their economic health at the altar of our deranged anti-modernism.On the surface, COP28 was like every other UN climate-change conference of recent years. There was the usual hypocrisy. Kings and sultans flew in on private jets to wag a collective finger at the rest of us for our eco-sins. There was the foot-stomping of pampered greens who think the final agreement didn’t go far enough. ‘This text is bullshit’, they chanted, outside the conference venue. (How did they get to the Arabian desert? Not by bicycle.) And yet those who looked harder, beyond the decadence, will have glimpsed one of the key clashes of our time – a global conflict of interests that is likely to shape humanity’s future. That’s the clash between Western ideologues who are exhausted with the modern world and developing nations who want in on the modern world. Between our misanthropic turn against the Industrial Revolution and their longing for such revolutions.Most of the coverage is focusing on the final agreement. Some say it’s radical. This is ‘the first time’, says an excitable BBC, that a COP has ‘taken explicit aim at the use of fossil fuels’. Others say it’s disappointing because it only talks about ‘transitioning away from fossil fuels… in a just, orderly and equitable manner’. That’s a far cry from the ‘phaseout of fossil fuels’ eco-activists wanted to see. The absence of a promise to phase out such fuels is a ‘tragedy for the planet’, wails the Guardian, next to a photo of green activists blubbing outside the conference venue.

Yet it pays to look at why the idea of a ‘phaseout’ was, well, phased out. It’s because winding down fossil-fuel use would be suicidal for the developing world. It’s all very well for Westerners whose Industrial Revolutions took place 150 years ago to dry heave at the sight of coal-fired power stations, but for billions of people such stations are the difference between life and death, light and dark, food and no food. In admirably restrained language, African diplomats said at COP that ‘the idea of a fossil-fuel phaseout [is] unworkable’. A Bolivian official, speaking on behalf of a bloc that includes India, China and other large developing nations, went further: we cannot accept the targeting of ‘any sources of energy’, he said (my italics). ‘Any phaseout or phasedown… is unacceptable to us.’


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