Newsom, Xi AWOL at Scotland Climate Conference

November 5, 2021 Updated: November 6, 2021

Commentary

At the last minute, Gov. Gavin Newsom canceled his much-anticipated trip to COP26—the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. The world’s fifth-largest economy, California, went unrepresented by its leader. So too the first- or second-largest economy, depending on how it’s figured, as Chinese President Xi Jinping also stayed home.

There’s a close relationship between the two economies, as shown by the California-China Climate Institute established in 2019 by former Gov. Jerry Brown at Berkeley’s School of Law and College of Natural Resources. Back when he was governor, Brown showed the seriousness of his “climate change” principles by always flying to climate conferences on private jets.

Russian President Putin also stayed away. President Joe Biden did attend, and when not sleeping through presentations, he attacked Xi and Putin for skipping out. Biden said, “The fact that China is trying to assert, understandably, a new role in the world as a world leader—not showing up, come on, big mistake.” Tuesday was the day Biden’s Democratic Party lost a major election for governor of Virginia.

The United States, Russia, and China also are the world’s top nuclear powers. Meaning, they decide their own policies.

And on Tuesday in Glasgow, Biden announced a major crackdown on methane production—only in the United States, of course. The White House Fact Sheet from Nov. 2 read, “President Biden is unveiling a U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan that redoubles efforts from across the government to dramatically reduce U.S. methane emissions, cut consumer costs, protect workers and communities, maintain and create high-quality, union-friendly jobs, and promote U.S. innovation and manufacturing of critical new technologies.”

The Biden administration also is going to skirt Congress by imposing new regulations. Appearing on MSNBC, White House National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy promised—I’m leaving in the verbiage about “investments” so you can read how these people think—“Well, what I would say is there’s room for regulation. But this package, this framework that the president is looking at is all about investments. It’s not about penalties. It’s all about how we use our economic muscle to move forward and, again, win the jobs of today and the jobs of the future. So, they can talk about regulation all they want. There’s a place for it. We’re going to use it. Because there’s opportunities that can’t be captured otherwise. But right now, if you look at this framework, you don’t see regulations and rules. You see opportunity after opportunity.”

It’s the old trick of “creating” jobs in a favored sector by taxing and regulating an unfavored sector. The result always is fewer jobs, especially for the middle class.

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis in Glasgow

The highest-ranking Californian to attend was Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis. On a Tuesday panel, she said Newsom’s executive order to end all sales of carbon-powered cars by 2035 is “already reshaping the future of our light-duty vehicles and commercial vehicle travel” across the world.

Except, as I reported previously in The Epoch Times, the Anderson Economic Group just produced a study that found, “Electric vehicles can be more expensive to fuel than their internal combustion engine counterparts.”

Yesterday a corroborating study arrived in my mailbox. In the December 2021 issue of Motor Trend magazine (not yet online), editor Angus MacKenzie wrote, “According to researchers at Britain’s University of Cambridge, building an EV produces 30 to 40 percent more emissions than building a conventional car. Most of the increase comes from battery production; minerals such as lithium and cobalt currently require energy-intensive mining techniques and long supply chains, and today’s battery factories have very high carbon footprints.

“Over time, the researchers say, the greater efficiency of EVs during their active life cycle will more than offset that increase, regardless of how the electricity is generated. But they concede there could be a temporary increase in overall carbon emissions until there are enough EVs on the road traveling enough miles to tip the balance.

“And even then, unless you use electricity generated from water, wind or solar sources, the first law of thermodynamics still applies: EVs are powered by energy derived from a heat engine.”

MacKenzie reported global EV use was 10 million in 2020. The International Energy Agency expects there to be at least 145 million by 2020, possibly 230 million. “Over the same time period, say MIT researchers, the number of vehicles with internal combustion engines is expected to increase from 1.2 billion to between 1.8 billion and 2.0 billion.”

His conclusion: “For all the recent and forecasted future progress on the EV front, we’re still going to be pumping an awful lot of carbon into the atmosphere.”

The Oligarchs Have Landed

Another problem is all the multi-billionaire oligarchs pushing a green economy—making a profit for themselves—also generate a massive “carbon footprint.” In addition to their multitudinous mansions and island hideaways, they fly everywhere in private jets.

The Daily Mail reported: “Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ £48million [$64.8 million] Gulf Stream has led a 400-strong parade of private jets into COP26 including Prince Albert of Monaco, scores of royals and dozens of ‘green’ CEOs—as an extraordinary traffic jam forced empty planes to fly 30 miles to find space to park …

“Conservative predictions suggest the fleet of private jets arriving for COP26 will blast out 13,000 tons of carbon dioxide in total—equivalent to the amount consumed by more than 1,600 Britons in a year….

“Mr. Bezos—who regularly lectures the world on climate change—arrived in Glasgow fresh from celebrating Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ 66th birthday on a £2 million-a-week superyacht off the coast of Turkey in an event that generated fresh claims of green hypocrisy. He reached the boat by helicopter, according to reports….

“President Biden alone will generate an estimated 2.2 million pounds of carbon to reach the summit, thanks to a fleet of four planes, the Marine One helicopter and an enormous motorcade including The Beast and numerous SUVs.”

Great Britain hasn’t suffered so many foreign planes invading since the Goering’s Luftwaffe attacked during the 1940 Battle of Britain.

As to Bezos, he just donated $500 million to a “renewable energy push.”

Not Much Will Be Done

The fact is not much will be done after this conference. First is the problem that it’s questionable there is any extreme climate danger. What if the problems we’re facing can be worked out over the coming decades by adapting Fourth Generation nuclear power and more fuel-efficient carbon-based vehicles?

Then there are the economic problems in the two largest greenhouse-gas producing countries: China and India. CNN Business reported from Hong Kong, “Flooding in northern China is hitting a major coal production center hard, sending coal prices soaring and complicating efforts by Beijing to tackle ongoing power shortages.”

If Xi lessened his heavy repression of civil liberties, it would be easier to find solutions to these problems, because the free flow of information would produce needed debate. But that’s not the policy he’s following. In any case, it’s obvious China is seeking more coal-powered energy, not less.

As to India, the BBC reported, “More than half of the country’s 135 coal-fired power plants are running on fumes—as coal stocks run critically low. In a country where 70 percent of the electricity is generated using coal, this is a major cause for concern as it threatens to derail India’s post-pandemic economic recovery.”

India is a democracy, so they are having lively discussions on how to solve this problem. But they, too, are not near ready to cut back on using coal-power plants.

In the end, Newsom was right to stay home. His re-election bid arrives next year, and not too many California voters are Glaswegians.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Seiler
John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary to California State Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at johnseiler.substack.com