COP28: The conference on penance

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Dubai is currently hosting the 28th Conference on Penance (COP).

Well, that’s what the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change should be called.

It’s about penance for failing to meet the tenets underpinning the religion of climate extremism.

Talk in Dubai is about eliminating the use of fossil fuels, which among other things would mean no gasoline-powered vehicles, or natural gas appliances, and not using the resources that currently meet over 80 percent of the world’s energy needs.

It’s also fitting that this meeting on penance focuses on reducing meat consumption.

Then there’s the new loss and damage fund, which is just a mechanism for developed countries to pay reparations to developing countries for having had the audacity to use the energy needed to improve everyone’s lives, including the lives of those in developing countries.

If the Biden administration and others on the far left want to self-flagellate, then they should have the freedom to do so. But they shouldn’t develop central planning schemes to use the force of government to punish Americans and people from around the world for living in modern society.   

There’s a major underlying problem with all COPs. The focus is on how government can use its power to impose policies that will bring people down instead of identifying ways government can remove its obstacles so people can lift themselves up.

There’s no discussion or consideration of the loss of freedom, harm to the poor, or what it would mean if the energy rich were to join the ranks of the energy poor. The costs and tradeoffs associated with radical climate policies are rarely mentioned.      

We are seeing this at COP28. US climate envoy John Kerry spoke about never permitting a coal-fired power plant ever again anywhere in the world, but where is his discussion about how this will affect affordable and reliable electricity? Or how it will hinder developing countries from improving their standards of living?

There is talk of using government to radically transform food systems, with climate change taking center stage, while efficient food production and the importance of actually feeding people are treated as afterthoughts or just ignored. The Biden administration has already embraced transforming the US food system.

At COPs, as with radical climate change policies, there’s a lot of self-inflicted pain for little to no gain. 

Ostensibly, the objective for those concerned with climate change would be to mitigate the rise in global temperatures. But the climate change policies touted at COP28 would have little effect.

As the Heritage Foundation has pointed out using a clone of the US Energy Information Administration’s model, even if every Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country eliminated all of their greenhouse gas emissions, “the world average temperature increase would be mitigated by no more than 0.5 degrees Celsius in 2100.” 

If this unrealistic zero emission scenario would have such a minimal effect, then the policies being touted at COP28 would be miniscule at best. 

But some may argue that even if these radical policies don’t have a meaningful impact on temperature, the United States and other countries need to send the right message. We need to “do something.”

Countries reducing their wealth and prosperity isn’t going to help their citizens or put the world in a better position to address any environmental concerns. After all, the wealthiest nations have the best environmental records and their citizens have the means and ability to innovate and develop real solutions to genuine problems.

COP28 and future COPs shouldn’t be contests to decide who can punish their own people the most. There should be no more Conferences on Penance.

Instead, these meetings should identify how nations can continue to increase freedom so that to the extent climate change is a problem, humanity is empowered, and not constrained, from addressing it.