IPA Today

Get the Real Story on Glasgow and Net Zero

Written by
5 November 2021

Be sure not to miss out on the daily commentary on the Glasgow climate conference provided by the IPA’s Special Correspondent, Emeritus Professor Aynsley Kellow. [subscribe here]

If you’d been receiving the IPA’s Say No To Glasgow Bulletin with Professor Kellow’s commentary each day you’d know all about the cynical self-interest and lack of scientific integrity behind the international negotiations.

You would also have read a topical take by IPA Director of Policy, Gideon Rozner, who introduces each Bulletin, and relevant research on the science and policy questions behind Net Zero by 2050 from the IPA team including John Roskam, Dr Jennifer Marohasy, Daniel Wild, Dr John Abbot, and Cian Hussey.

With the Morrison Government committed and the mainstream media now cheerleaders for Net Zero by 2050, you need independent research and analysis now more than ever, to make sense of what is really happening.

You can read Professor Kellow’s contributions so far at the IPA climate blog, climatechangethefacts.org.au, or review the individual articles, below.

#1: Is Glasgow asking Australia to commit to the impossible?

The EU thus met its Kyoto target with ease – practically before it was set – and it proceeded to assume the high moral ground and lecture those like Australia that had a different set of interests.

#2 The Real Costs of Renewable Energy

Non-hydro renewables have indeed become much cheaper when measured by Levelised Cost of Energy, but what matters is the System Levelised Cost of Energy, and when this is considered, renewables cannot compete.

#3: Of Babushka Dolls and Chinese Puzzles

Russia has been careful to maximise Western European dependence on its gas exports, and a Net Zero world advantages China.

#4: Developing Countries May Sink Boris Johnson’s Net Zero Dreams

Finance for developing countries, recognition of cumulative emissions, and adaptation, are the three key issues being championed by the 24 states of the Like-Minded Developing Countries. They may cause the end of Boris Johnson’s dreams of glory at Glasgow.

#5: G20 Delivers Reprieve for Coal-Fired Power

Also watered down – significantly for Australia – was the attempt to secure an end to construction of coal-fired power stations by 2030.

#6: Bill Gates Jets Into Glasgow

Bill Gates pointed out he cost of subsidising countries to curb emissions was too great, said developed nations should focus instead on cutting the cost of green technology.

#7: Self-Interest Lies Behind UK Hit Job on Coal

Boris Johnson is leading a ‘bootlegger and Baptist’ coalition – with green zealots as the Baptists and the City of London financiers as the bootleggers.

#8: The Climate Emergency Wore Cashmere

The attempt to secure agreement to the 1.5°C target continued, as Greenpeace sought to convey the impression it had already been agreed to, rather than just identified as an ambition. Meanwhile, Princess Eugenie “visited a makeshift polar bear camp”, “wearing a midi dress by Gabriela Hearst”. Climate Emergency chic!

#9: Michael Bloomberg and the Dark Side of Climate Philanthropy

Michael Bloomberg, who in 2018 was appointed by Secretary-General Guterres as the UN Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, has been at Glasgow calling for an end to coal. He is also both a huge donor to anti-coal organisations and, it would seem, a beneficiary of their campaigns.

#10: How and Why the False Climate Consensus is Manufactured

Commencement of the second week at COP26 produced few highlights, but Barack Obama’s tendentious address has at least enabled today examination of how climate politics has polluted climate science and driven noble cause corruption.

#11: The Green Colonialism of Glasgow

The demands from developing countries are unsurprising, given the global north is asking them to forego the very kind of development that provided them with the wealth they enjoy. Thus Vijaya Ramachandran, of the Breakthrough Institute, has decried ‘green colonialism’ in an essay in Foreign Policy magazine. Ramachandran is particularly scathing of Norway which, he points out, is the most fossil fuel-dependent affluent country in the world.

#12: China and Big Corporations Beneficiaries of Climate Activism

For all the breathless reporting, we should remember the previous USA/China climate declaration in 2015 occurred just before a massive expansion in Chinese construction of coal-fired power stations both domestically and abroad. We also observe that the resource requirements of renewables (steel, cement, copper, etc) promise massive revenues for the likes of BHP and Rio, so selling (not closing) coal mines to free up cash for investment in such commodities is also good for business.

Professor Kellow also provided this wonderful history of how the West came to be obsessed with “Net Zero by 2050” as the means to (supposedly) limit climate change to no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The Dubious Origins of Net Zero

UN Secretary-General António Guterres wrote to every head of state demanding they set out plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. This provided the basis for every NGO and state that saw advantage in Net Zero by 2050 to demand that Australia and every other “recalcitrant” state fall into line with something that they never agreed to – and which lacks any sound scientific basis.

You can read more about the IPA’s work on the impact of Net Zero by 2050, and subscribe to the Say No To Glasgow Bulletin here, at www.ipa.org.au/netzero

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Scott Hargreaves

Scott Hargreaves is the Executive General Manager at the Institute of Public Affairs

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