Opinion: COP28 Climate Conference Not Only the Super Bowl of Wokeness and Virtue Signaling — It is Doing Genuine Damage

The annual U.N. Climate Conference is well underway, and once again, Joe Biden’s administration is making costly climate promises.

It is tempting to dismiss COP28 as a meeting of blowhards signaling their virtue. However, that would be ignoring the substantial damage to the U.S. by the costly and unrealistic climate policies of Joe Biden’s White House.

The administration’s “leadership” on phasing out fossil fuels currently provides almost 80% of American energy and is a highlight of COP28 — policies making Americans poorer and less secure.

Since Joe Biden took office, prices in electricity have soared 24%; during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office, when average electricity prices declined.

COP 28 has had its light moments. Some 80,000 attendees are participating, with a substantial number traveling by private jets spewing emissions. Over the weekend, some planes were frozen to Munich’s icy runways as global warming was trumped by blizzards and unseasonable cold blanketing much of Europe.

Overall, the event is being held in Abu Dhabi. This nation produces significant amounts of oil, and hosted by Sultan Al Jaber, head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

In the meeting’s lead-up, leaked briefing documents revealed Jaber plotting to use his position as host to negotiate new gas and oil deals with foreign governments, even while the central theme of COP28 was to phase out fossil fuels.

Worse yet, a video from two weeks ago surfaced Monday, during which Jaber questioned the whole premise behind abandoning gas, coal, and oil. “There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says the phaseout of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5,” said Al Jaber. He was critical of the questioner and said he had anticipated a “sober and mature conversation,” not an “alarmist” one.”

Joe Biden’s White House embraces climate alarmism and sends several officials, including Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, Climate Czar John Kerry, and Vice President Kamala Harris, to COP 28.

The alarmists will eagerly wave the white flag on behalf of U.S. taxpayers, surrender one of our nation’s geopolitical advantages — abundant, reliable, and cheap fossil fuels — and attack “issues related to the nexus of climate and … gender, global health, subnational diplomacy, youth and more,” according to the State Department.

In her opening remarks, Vice President Harris repeated Biden’s conviction that climate change poses the most significant existential threat to our country and promoted what she said was almost $1 trillion in new spending by the White House for its climate agenda.

In the meantime, John Kerry, former Secretary of State, proposed shuttering all U.S. coal-fired power plants, which currently produce 20% of our electricity, substituting renewables like wind and solar power.

Kerry’s pledge ignores several abandoned and expensive wind projects because they are unfeasible. Only recently, Danish wind-power giant Orsted dumped two wind farms in New Jersey; other projects in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have also been dropped. Wind projects aren’t just failing in the United States. They are also being put on the shelf in the Netherlands, Norway, and the U.K. 

That isn’t the only promise made by Kerry; he also vowed a crackdown on methane emissions produced by U.S. gas and oil producers. The Independent Petroleum Producers of America, representing independent and small oil companies, said the new rule from the White House could cause almost half of our country’s U.S. low-producing wells to be shuttered. The wells account for around 8% of America’s oil output and 8% to 10% of natural gas production.

Who didn’t join dozens of nations that pledged to reduce methane leaks or phase out coal? India and China.

India is the globe’s third-largest carbon emitter and burns a record amount of coal, providing around 75% of its electricity. Recently, India’s government announced plans to add 17 gigawatts of coal-based generating capacity over the next 16 months, is described by Reuters as “its fastest pace in recent years.”

In addition, the Financial Times reported last week that India aims to triple its underground coal mining output by 2028, while woke participants at COP28 seek to destroy financing for future coal projects.

But why would India oppose international pressures to expand its coal industry? Well, it’s simple: Narendra Modi’s government has put India on a rapid growth trajectory. To achieve that, it needs power. India is now the fastest-growing large economy and the world’s most populous country. It is the second-largest coal producer, following China. 

While making polite indicators about climate change, Modi has stressed the need to provide energy security for his country. Recent elections, during which his party swept three of four Indian states, show that Modi’s priorities remain popular.

China has joined India in resisting international pressure to cut back coal consumption. The country produces more energy-related greenhouse gas emissions than South America, Europe, North America, Central America, and Africa combined. Although China has made increasing its renewable energy a substantial goal — China is now installing as many wind and solar installations as the rest of the world combined — the country continues to mine and burn coal. As the New York Times reported recently, officials in China have defended the coal-fired plants “as needed for energy security,” echoing India’s Modi. President Xi Jinping is dealing with a faltering economy and refuses to add additional speed bumps.

Enthusiasm for President Biden’s climate agenda — for irritating mandates on gas stoves, ceiling fans, other daily-use items, and unpopular electric vehicles — will continue to plummet as electricity prices rise.

In 2024, voters could decide spending a trillion dollars on climate projects that could boost Americans’ cost of living is a bad deal, allowing a more gradual transition to clean energy is more sensible.

Voters could decide Biden’s climate promises are one-speed bump too many.