President Joe Biden is sending a team of show horses to the UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, next month to show the world that the U.S. is a leader in climate policy.
Thirteen cabinet members and high-ranking officials, and possibly the president himself, will be part of the delegation. CNN reported that it will be a “show of strength,” a “show of force,” and a “showcase” of the president’s “whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis.”
However, there’s a hitch in the president’s plans for this chorus line of climate affirmers. The House and Senate still haven’t agreed to the “decisive action” the White House wants to show off in Glasgow.
Senate Democrats told CNN they’re “anxious” about whether Congress will pass “critical climate investments” in time for the big summit.
“Critical climate investments” means whatever they want it to mean, but it probably means your tax dollars will be spent on things that have no effect on the climate. The hope is that modeling good behavior will encourage other countries to follow our example.
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However, a significant number of elected representatives in the United States are not onboard. They may have taken Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s point when he warned in remarks on the Senate floor last week that Democrats are fighting for “jacking up Americans’ gas bills and utility prices in order to turn 49 other states into California.”
It’s a reminder that, although Gov. Gavin Newsom and others routinely brag that California “leads” on green energy and climate policies, other states aren’t following. California, with its mandates for more solar and wind energy, frequently has problems with what energy regulators call “resource adequacy.” As a result, California leads all other states in electricity imports, and even so we run so close to the edge that blackouts are an ever-present threat.
“Democrats want to force electric utilities to model their grids off of the high-cost, blackout-prone system that liberals have set up in the state of California,” McConnell said, “And at the same time, Democrats are also pushing a brand-new natural gas tax that they call a ‘methane fee.’ It’s a natural gas tax.”
But Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, speaking to CNN, said he thinks it is “critical that we go to Glasgow with the package of President Biden’s proposals moving forward.”
Suppose the Democrats get what they want, and they go to the UN climate summit with their “leadership” on climate. Then what?
Then the world has plans for your money. For several years, the UN has been promoting the idea of “climate justice.” This “looks at the climate crisis through a human rights lens,” a UN blog post explained in 2019, “on the belief that by working together we can create a better future for present and future generations.” The former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, was quoted explaining that climate justice “insists on a shift from a discourse on greenhouse gases and melting ice caps into a civil rights movement.”
Some people think climate justice requires the southern border of the U.S. to be permanently open to “climate refugees” from Central America. That’s the general idea expressed in a recent essay for Zócalo Public Square titled, “What Does the U.S. Owe Climate Refugees?”
“Central Americans are paying the price for anthropogenic climate change they didn’t cause,” author Michael B. Smith argued, while “since 1750, the U.S. has emitted almost twice as much [greenhouse gas emissions] as the rest of the world combined.” He wrote that the U.S. is responsible for “breaking” the climate, and therefore, “we have a special obligation to support and welcome” climate refugees.
This could get expensive. The World Bank has estimated that 143 million people will be climate refugees within 30 years unless the world takes drastic action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
If climate activists genuinely wanted to cut greenhouse gas emissions, they could always support increased use of nuclear energy and the construction of more dams for large hydroelectric projects. But they don’t. They support solar, wind and wealth transfers.
As the Senate Minority Leader observed, Californians are experiencing skyrocketing costs and blackouts due to “leading” on climate by demonizing oil, gas, nuclear energy and hydroelectric projects in favor of less reliable solar and wind power. High energy costs raise the price of transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, water and everything made or moved in the state. When the cost of living goes up, poverty goes up. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s calculations, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation when the cost of living is taken into account.
And the world has plans for whatever spare change you have left. The United Nations Environment Programme issues a yearly “Adaptation Gap Report” to let “the rich countries” know how much they should be paying to help the rest of the world adapt to climate change. The 2020 report, issued last January, says the global cost of adaptation will be up to $500 billion by 2050. Maybe sooner. According to one report, developing nations have already requested $373 billion in climate financing.
President Biden, who wants the IRS to watch your bank transactions of $600 or more to make sure you’re not cheating on your taxes, is about to give billions of dollars of your tax money to other world leaders to spend on “adaptation.”
The show must go on.
Susan Shelley is an editorial writer and columnist for the Southern California News Group. [email protected]. Twitter: @Susan_Shelley.
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