Bonn COP23: Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Guest Post

“I’ve got good news and bad news.  Which do you want first?”

“The bad news?  OK”. If all countries abide by their Paris commitments to cut greenhouse gases between now and 2030, global temperatures will still rise by 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, dooming the planet.

Yup, the ramifications are truly disastrous – sea level rise will inundate significant areas of land drowning cities and much fertile land, storms, hurricanes, deluges, droughts, wildfires, heat waves, more extreme events, loss of life, loss of animal species, dangerous diseases rampant, millions dying, crop yields collapse, loss of coral reefs, increase in anxiety and depression, the Cape Verde turtles will stop mating…if that is not enough to scare you into action nothing will.  It’s not just bad news, it’s really bad news.  

The good news??  Well, other than a little sea level rise none of its happened yet.  In fact after 40 years of saying it’s going to happen the ‘bad news’ is sounding more and more like ‘fake news’.

The United Nations Environment Programme has calculated that the Paris agreement will provide only one-third of the greenhouse-gas emissions reductions needed to keep temperature rises less than 2 degrees.  According to the report, unless global greenhouse-gas emissions peak before 2020 carbon-dioxide levels will soar beyond the 2030 targets.  They are pessimistic about hitting their target.  Poor petals.

This was the week’s bad news delivered to 25,000 politicians, bureaucrats, greenies, lefties who jetted into Bonn for six day’s partying and conferencing burning up those dreaded fossil fuels and extending their much feared carbon foot print.  They are so worried about our failing to meet the UNEP targets they have decided to have another picnic – next year it is in Poland, the pretty city of Katowice, the cultural and social centre of that country.  It is really nice these earnest harbingers of doom get to enjoy life swanning from enjoyable place to place so they can repeat the mantra and keep us harangued about saving fossil fuels.

There are some rather delicious ironies involved.  The USA didn’t turn up at Bonn.  Trump has much more useful things to do.  Yet the USA has reduced its carbon emissions way more than any other country.

According to the U.N. there are currently 273 gigawatts of coal capacity under construction around the world and another 570 gigawatts in the pipeline, representing a 42 percent increase in global coal energy production. Given these facts, the idea global coal use is going to decline in the next two years is laughable.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage who fought against the Te Kuha coal mine at Westport as a twigs and feathers do-gooder, now has to decide whether it should go ahead using a tiny fraction of the DOC estate.   On the basis of the virtue signaling and naive commentary from the new government expect a “no”.  Undoubtedly saving the planet by leaving coal in the ground will be her rationale.  So little old NZ will be doing the ‘right thing’ while the rest of the world laughs and walks all over us.

Even the Germans who have long been the earnest but hypocritical voice for the environment in Europe are increasing their coal fired energy production.  And Poland, hosts for the next happy clappy get together of the earnest and the stupid has heavy commitments to increasing coal use.

One of the ‘victories’ from the Bonn soiree was the setting up of a grouping of nations as the Power Past Coal Alliance (PPCA).  Sounds rather formidable?  Sure.  The zealots involved were elated and went home excited but spent after their achievement.  What did not seem to dawn on them is that none of the 10 biggest coal consumers or producers joined up (they represent 80% of coal consumption).

France and the UK, two proud founding members of this august body who want to power past coal actually increased coal usage in 2017 and most likely will in 2018 as nuclear power generators need refurbishing and close down for many months.

China, who the socialists and anti-Trump brigade want to foist on us as the new world leader in international affairs has been under-reporting its coal use and under-stating its future usage.  Who would have ever guessed??  Their coal use is up 3.5% on a massive base and will climb even higher as the ‘one new coal-fired power station opened a week’ comes on stream.

So Bonn now gets flushed down the same sewer pipe as Paris, Marrakech, Lima, Cancun, Doha, Durban, Copenhagen and others.  All hot air.  All promises and little delivery.  All great fun in exotic locations.   All threats and no actual facts.  All hype and hypocrisy. All future predictions and no checking earlier predictions.  All self appointed and eager buoyed by naivety and a handful of well funded pseudo scientists.

Meanwhile back in reality…CO2 emissions rapidly increase the greening of the planet, crop yields hit new records, poverty reduces, global health improves, a billion people move out of poverty, life spans rise, child mortality rates are halved, standards of living go up, the ozone hole is going, Kiribati and the Maldives survive, no climate refugees have arrived, the Arctic Ice is growing, New York isn’t inundated, the Great Barrier reef coral is restoring, polar bear numbers are up to their highest level (eat that, Mr Gore!), we are eating shellfish from the Gulf of Mexico following the oil rig disaster, cyclone numbers continue downward, the 102 climate models divergence with actuals grows worse, the Himalayan glaciers survive, wildfire numbers and extent are down 15% since 1950, they still swim on Miami beach, Greenland hasn’t melted, and on and on.  False alarmist predictions that keep the university coffers full, keep the media agog with wild stories, keep students on the street protesting, keep Al Gore in a lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.

Sun’s out, nice warm morning; I am off fishing.

Que sera sera.


-Name withheld by request

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