The climate conference in Glasgow has failed

MOSCOW, 18 Nov 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute.

Last week, the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was held, and was preceded by the G20 summit. The leaders of Russia and China did not attend these events, which largely devalued the decisions taken at these meetings. However, the principal event of these two is the conference in Glasgow and this is quite obvious.

To consider this issue, we for the time being will leave aside conspiracy theories – for what purposes the climate change factor is used – and consider only the economic aspect. The methods by which the developed countries of the West propose to solve the climate issue have little to do with the struggle for ecology. It all comes down to limiting the economic potential of developing countries to “green energy” and emissions trading, that is, to money.

Developing countries understand this quite clearly and are not ready to accept their fate. “The most serious problem of these negotiations is the lack of trust between developed and developing countries,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres commented on the conference in Glasgow.

The developed countries of the West, although they have some advantage in technology, but the example of China, which for several decades caught up and overtook the main countries of the West, scared them a lot. The West will not stand up to competition with the emergence of new fast-growing economies, which is why the “climate economy” was proposed to the world, as one of the authors of the UN concept on achieving zero carbon emissions into the atmosphere by 2050, Rae Kwon Chung, called it.

US President Joe Biden is not shy about openly declaring that “a clean energy and zero emissions economy by 2050” is a chance to invest in the American future. His Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said: “We have roughly estimated this global transition, and on a global scale it will cost from 100 to 150 trillion dollars over the next 30 years. Climate change is one of the greatest economic opportunities of our time.

Western financial corporations have already introduced an ESG policy, which is understood as “environmental, social and corporate governance” and refuse to finance projects for the extraction of fossil fuels, giving priority to “green energy”. However, this is not enough for Western elites – all nation-states must accept the costs of the “climate economy”.

The World Economic Forum website states that “Glasgow should deliver an architecture, which includes sectoral net-zero agreements that bring government and carbon-intensive industry together in an unprecedented joint venture to reach net zero by 2050 at the latest”.

It should be understood that such ideas are far from fiction after the “Kyoto Protocol” of 1997, when countries agreed on trading quotas for greenhouse gas emissions. Then we also understood that it had little to do with ecology, but we accepted it for execution. In the conclusion of the Russian Academy of Sciences of May 2004 “about the position on the Kyoto Protocol problem” it was stated that the Kyoto Protocol has no scientific justification and will significantly limit the growth rate of Russian GDP.

However, at the conference in Glasgow, as was expected in one of the previous materials, no breakthrough happened. Few people know that due to disagreements between states on the issue of accounting for emissions, the development of the final document was delayed for a day. The architects of the 2015 Paris Agreement and representatives of Greenpeace have already announced the final text of the agreement as very weak, since it will not allow to contain the increase in global temperature by 1.5 C.

Of the most significant achievements in Glasgow, it can be mentioned that more than 100 countries have promised to stop deforestation by 2030 – this is the only agreement to which Russia has joined. The US and the EU have announced a global partnership to reduce greenhouse gas methane emissions by 2030. More than 40 countries pledged to abandon the use of coal, but the United States, Australia, South Africa and China did not participate in this, and India even managed to replace the wording in the text of the final agreement from “phasing out” coal to “phasing out”.

The head of the climate policy of the European Union, Frans Timmermans, generally expected that the countries participating in the negotiations would agree on the phased abolition of subsidies for fossil fuels. The absence of such a decision, he said, “would be an extremely, extremely bad signal”.

There are various reasons why the conference in Glasgow did not reach the fundamental agreements that the adherents of the “climate economy” expected. Of course, this is due to a sharp rise in gas prices in Europe, a general increase in energy demand in the world due to a partial economic recovery and general inflation due to trillions of injections of dollar liquidity by the US Federal Reserve.

There are many more reasons. However, the main one is that there is no longer a hegemon in the world that could impose rules of conduct on the world and monitor their implementation at will, as the United States did in 1997 by signing but not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Joe Biden’s popularity rating among Americans is setting new records for the rate of decline, which means that the chances of a Republican candidate winning in 2024 are proportionally increasing.

Republicans have traditionally lobbied for the interests of corporations extracting fossil fuels, this time their position is supported by a significant increase in gasoline prices, which is fundamental for the American “nation on wheels”. This means that the agreements reached within the framework of the “climate agenda” can be adjusted or even canceled by the next US president, since there has already been a precedent.

In general, the conditional “West” is no longer homogeneous. It is no coincidence that journalists noted that the EU leadership was silent during the conference in Glasgow. Even in the EU there is no single view on the fundamental things on the “climate agenda”. On November 8, German Minister of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety Svenja Schulze announced that she would not recognise nuclear energy as environmentally friendly. Three days earlier, the main candidate for chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, said that his government would advocate the mass construction of gas-fired power plants.

At the same time, France’s nuclear power plants are located just a few kilometres from the border with Germany, and its President Emmanuel Macron presented the France 2030 plan, where nuclear energy is one of the foundations. The UK also puts nuclear power at the heart of a strategy to achieve zero carbon emissions and gives 210 million pounds for Rolls-Royce to develop small nuclear reactors.

In the same United States, the recently adopted $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan provides for large public investments in nuclear energy. It is not even clear to an expert that this is an investment for decades, which means that “green energy” will not become the basis of energy generation in the world during this time.

Time is a fundamental factor for the “climate economy” proposed to the world. Thanks to the Federal Reserve’s economic stimulus and direct injections from the US government, consumer inflation accelerated to 6.2% in annual terms – a record for 30 years. If consumer price inflation in the United States were still calculated using the 1980 method, the official inflation rate would now be close to 15%, economist John Williams concludes. Inflation in the Eurozone is also hitting multi-year highs and the end of the unwinding inflationary spiral is not yet in sight.

In such conditions, imposing “green energy” on the population, for which it is necessary to pay more than for traditional energy, is fraught with social unrest. This is understood even in international investment funds engaged in investing within the framework of ESG policy. Time is playing against developed countries, provided that traditional energy is preserved in developing countries, since the period of easily accessible resources has already passed for developed countries.

Thus, the plans for the “climate economy” proposed to the world by the West are collapsing right before our eyes, and they have no other development concept. From this it can be concluded that the liberal ideology, where the “environmental agenda” is woven into the basis, becomes politically untenable.

There is already a trend towards socialists in Europe, which can be clearly seen from the last German election, further, in conditions of declining living standards and lack of resources, the population will be drawn to simple solutions offered by nationalists. It is possible to admit a mixture of nationalists and socialists, which in history is already well known as Nazism, but in today’s realities it will be called differently.

If it seems to some that I am exaggerating too much, then I suggest remembering how Greece was condemned in Europe five years ago for its inhumane treatment of migrants when they were trying to detain them, and the current situation on the border of Poland and Belarus. Similar statements from the EU leadership to Poland are no longer heard, on the contrary, words of support are being heard. Of course, all this will not happen in an instant, but gradually in accordance with the electoral cycles of the respective countries.

Many were encouraged by the statement of the head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley on the formation of a tripolar world: USA-​Russia-China. However, this is a statement of the current state of affairs, which will change with the aggravation of the global crisis.

Rising energy prices and a supply crisis due to supply chain disruption, multiplied by an inflationary spiral, will not bring anything good for most developed countries and the United States, in particular, in the next few years. This is not about increasing international influence, but about maintaining a stable situation within countries. Therefore, there will not be enough resources for external adventures.

It is now safe to say that China will not work for the “climate economy” when Xi Jinping was equated with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping at the recent CCP congress, which means that the road to a third term is open to him. Of course, the Chinese economy will also inevitably suffer due to the reduction of the usual sales markets, and the restructuring to new economic tracks will take some time, although the introduction of a standard for the state digital currency gives it some advantage, in this regard, the whole world will be in the role of catching up already in 2022.

Accordingly, during the period when the “elders” will be busy with themselves, it is obviously possible to unfreeze local conflicts that were stopped by the efforts of the founding countries of the UN, as well as military adventures of individual political regimes. In such circumstances, the UN will have little influence on anything, the old rules will not work, since there will be no one to monitor their compliance.

Such a situation in the world will last until the remaining countries are brought into line with their resource sustainability and self-sufficiency capabilities, and in some places the picture will look like “high tech low life” about as the founders of cyberpunk imagined it in the early 1980s. The experts of the RUSSTRAT Institute also wrote about this.

Further, there will be a search for a post-capitalist economic and political formation in the world, and even the one who finds this path first is not the fact that he will be the founder of a new technological way, since the starting positions will not be very high.

Naturally, all of the above will not happen suddenly and immediately, we will still get tired of promoting the “climate agenda” from “every iron” and ESG requirements when investing. However, the described scenario seems to me the most likely.

Institute for International Political and Economic Strategies – RUSSTRAT

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