The big news in the climate-change world came not from Davos this past week, although the sirocco of gaseous blatherskite pouring from the mouths of the assembled climatistas and rushing down the Swiss mountainside had to raise the temperature of all of Europe by a few degrees.
Al Gore was there, after all. The former vice president was in tip-top, oceans-are-rising form, calling the atmosphere “an open sewer” before expounding thusly: “We’re still putting 162 million tons [of greenhouse gas] into it every single day and the accumulated amount is now trapping as much extra heat as would be released by 600,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs exploding every single day on the earth.”
At which point he dropped into his best “He played on our fears!” voice and went all Old Testament on the assembly: “That’s what’s boiling the oceans, creating these atmospheric rivers, and the rain bombs, and sucking the moisture out of the land, and creating the droughts, and melting the ice and raising the sea level, and causing these waves of climate refugees!”
Rants like this probably won’t change many minds, but they seem to be working for Gore. He was worth $1.7 million as VP but rings the cash register now at a cool $300 million; lives in a Tennessee mansion that can probably be seen from space at night; and, by the looks of him, doesn’t miss many meals.
Nor is John Kerry the news. The Biden administration’s special envoy for climate, also at Davos, categorized the planet-saving quest of himself and a “select group” of like-minded, uber-sensitive climate snobs as almost otherworldly. “I mean, it’s so almost extraterrestrial to think about ‘saving the planet.’” Although you have to hand it to him: He did display an unheard-of degree of self-awareness (for a liberal) with this: “If you say that to most people, most people think you’re just a crazy tree-hugging, lefty, liberal, you know, do-gooder or whatever.”
Nor does the big news of the week concern our favorite Swedish climate activist and Time Person of the Year (2019), Greta Thunberg, possibly staging her own arrest outside a coal mine in Germany — although officials insist it was not a setup.
Nor does Vice President Kamala Harris’ moving disquisition on school buses at a climate-crisis event in Ann Arbor, Michigan, not unlike another deep dive into her love for the big yellow vehicles that she delivered in Seattle last October, take the top enviro-news spot.
Talk No. 1, last week, from Ann Arbor: “I’m excited about electric school buses. I LOVE electric school buses. I just love them! For so many reasons. Maybe because I went to school on a school bus. Hey, raise your hand if you went to school on a school bus!”
Talk No. 2, last October, from Seattle: “Who doesn’t love a yellow school bus, right? Can you raise your hand if you love a yellow school bus? Many of us went to school on the yellow school bus, right? It’s part of our experience growing up.”
Gore, Kerry, Thunberg, and Harris all had glorious moments in the environmental sun in recent days, but they’re not the big news. So, as long as no climate crazies have in the past few days “done their part to save the planet” by gluing their hands to the floor of a VW museum or to an airport runway, or by throwing soup on a van Gogh and gluing their hands to the wall afterward, let’s get to it.
The big environmental news of the past few days is a talk by Konstantin Kisin before the Oxford Union, in which he spoke truth to youth and laid bare the virtue-signaling nonsense of environmental enthusiasm.
In the course of a longer exposition on “woke” culture, Kisin put forth a hard truth about the future success of the climate-change lobby. After asking what people in Britain can do about the climate, he said this:
This country is responsible for 2 percent of global carbon emissions. Which means that if Britain was to sink into the sea right now, it would make absolutely no difference to the issue of climate change. You know why? Cause the future of the climate is going to be decided in Asia and in Latin America by poor people, who couldn’t give a s**t about saving the planet.… You know why? Because they’re poor!
Those concerned about climate are a relatively few, relatively rich people living in rich countries. Their behavior affects the climate not a whit, when considered on a planetary level. The billions who live in poverty in poor countries are responsible for the brunt of global emissions, but they don’t care about the climate and will not care about the climate until they’re not poor.
And how do they climb out of poverty? The same way America became prosperous — on the back of cheap and abundant energy. By tapping into the same oil and gas reserves that America, and the West, did to allow its populace to escape the chains of poverty.
Kisin asked his listeners to put themselves in the shoes of Xi Jinping. The current Chinese president, Kisin said, lived through the Cultural Revolution, saw his father imprisoned, his sister commit suicide. He himself lived in a “cave house” before, decades later, he “clawed” his way “up the bloody and greasy pole of Chinese politics to be the undisputed supreme leader of the very Communist Party that destroyed” his family. Xi knew that the main thing he had “to do to survive and stay in power is to deliver the one thing that the people of China want — prosperity.” Economic prosperity. Kisin asked, “Where do you think climate change ranks on Xi Jinping’s list of priorities?”
It is an act of extreme hypocrisy for Western elites to expect developing Third World countries — China, India, Brazil, Mexico, et al. — to rein in their emissions and thus deny themselves the energy apparatus that the West used to achieve its prosperity, to insist, in the name of saving the planet, that these Third World countries remain, in essence, Third World.
Kisin did reveal what he thought those in First World countries could do to curtail the negative effects of a changing climate, however:
There is only one thing we can do in this country to stop climate change. And that is to make scientific and technological breakthroughs that will create the clean energy that is not only clean but also cheap.