In a rare instance of mainstream media sanity regarding climate policy, Tilak Doshi, writing for Forbes, underscores how climate policies affect the most vulnerable, especially in Africa, unintentionally worsening their situation by limiting access to clean energy and water. Here’s an excerpt:
‘Climate impacts hit the world’s poor the hardest’. By sheer dint of repetition in countless ‘expert’ reports and mass media articles, this line in the climate change narrative has become a truism. According to the International Monetary Fund, “by hitting the poorest hardest, climate change risks both increasing existing economic inequalities and causing people to fall into poverty”. The World Economic Forum states that “the lowest income countries produce one-tenth of emissions, but are the most heavily impacted by climate change”.
It would seem straightforward that resolving the ‘climate change’ problem would serve the poor the most, given that they are the hardest hit. But, by a tragic turn of irony, moves to ‘fight climate change’ are precisely what is hurting the poor most. It is not ‘climate change’ but the policies adopted in response to it that are the problem afflicting the poor the most.
‘Fighting climate change’ – which for most Western politicians and policy makers means achieving the “Net Zero [carbon emissions] by 2050” policy target of the UN Paris Agreement – has thus also become a fight for the world’s most poor and vulnerable. That the climate industrial complex claims the interests of the world’s poor within its ‘Net Zero’ agenda is a powerful lever in public relations.
The call to ‘save the planet’ includes, by definition, ensuring the welfare of the world’s poor. But making the fight even more so about helping ‘the most vulnerable’ gives the narrative of ‘fighting climate change’ a philanthropic edge. Philanthropy is universally admired, like Mother Theresa. It is a particularly attractive hobby for the rich who have made their fortune and want to ‘give back’ to society. Thus, Bill Gates’s or Michael Bloomberg’s self-proclaimed philanthropic interests in the global poor, public health and climate change. …
In 2019, out of the world total of almost 760 million people without access to electricity, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for almost 590 million or approximately 78%. Without electricity or clean fuels such as natural gas, keeping warm (or cool), getting drinking water, cooking food cleanly and getting enough light to read after the sun sets is not possible. …
It has always been the poor that have been affected by the weather throughout human history. With dilapidated housing, inadequate clothing, and poor nutrition, they are naturally those who are most vulnerable to the vagaries of nature. Before modern industrial civilisation could provide electricity and clean fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to most of the population, being able to heat (or cool) the home, to cook food without polluting indoors and to maintain adequate shelter against extreme weather (like storms, hurricanes, floods, etc.) was a daunting challenge for the world’s poor.
By describing ‘weather’ as ‘climate change’, policy emphasis is put on mitigation rather than adaptation to reduce the impacts of future climate change on human welfare. The implicit assumption behind mitigation is that greenhouse gases are the primary driver of climate change and trying to ‘fight climate change’ by reducing GHGs should be the overriding priority for policymakers from Germany to South Africa. Governments should shun using fossil fuels and multilateral development agencies including the World Bank have long since stopped supporting investments in fossil fuel projects in developing countries. …
If the first sleight of hand is to call ‘weather’ events as ‘climate change’, a second is to treat ‘renewable energy’ as a ready and viable (‘cheaper and cleaner’) substitute for fossil fuels. The most critical factual assertion of the policy push for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions is that of the plunging costs of wind, solar and battery technologies. These technologies, it is asserted, can rapidly replace fossil fuels which currently account for over 80% of the world’s primary energy supply. This assertion undergirds the entire edifice of claims by ‘Net Zero’ advocates such the IMF, the WEF, the IEA and the World Bank regarding the ‘Net Zero’ future. Take away the supposed cheap and effective ‘renewable energy’ offered by the wind, solar and battery technologies, and green policy advocacy collapses into the rubbish heap of history.
Worth reading in full.