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Retreat From Net Zero is Under Way

Around the world, the globalist climate change scam is on the skids says Ross Clark.

A new paper published by Net Zero Watch shows that governments worldwide are starting to ditch decarbonisation policies, as they seek to avoid electoral wipeout. Author Ross Clark shows that the economic pain inflicted by Net Zero policies has now become acute, and that voters are starting to rebel against them:

As you look across Europe, politicians who reject climate alarmism and Net Zero scaremongering are on the rise. The days of green radicalism, and other luxury beliefs, are on the wane. The political landscape will look very different by the end of 2024. 

Mr Clark shows that, in the face of voter unrest, targets are being watered down, delayed and discarded, as he catalogues examples from around the world.  And he argues that this is the start of a long road back to rational policymaking:

Net Zero was an attempt to defy the laws of physics and thermodynamics. It was irrational and bound to fail. Cannier politicians are starting to see its fatal flaws. The retreat has begun, and will continue inexorably for years to come. It's now just a question of how long it takes, and how much damage will be done to society before sanity returns.

The UN meetings on climate change have become renowned for their platitudes, with national leaders falling over each other to say what desparate straits the world is in, how we must decarbonise ever faster – before returning to their home countries and putting economic development well ahead of their promises to cut emissions. But the president of COP28 in Dubai in December 2023, Sultan Al Jaber, was unusually frank. Al Jaber, who also serves as the chair of Abu Dhabi state oil corporation, ADNOC, which recently announced a $150 billion investment to increase oil production by nearly 50 percent to 5 million barrels a day by 2027, appealed to former Irish President Mary Robinson: ‘show me a road map for the phase out of fossil fuel that allows for social, sustainable development…unless you want to take the world back into caves’.

Al Jaber was eviscerated for his comments, yet they were in tune with a silent majority. An analysis by the website Zero Tracker reveals that even countries with net zero targets are heavily resisting pressure to phase out exploration for and development of fossil fuel resources. There are 93 oil-producing countries that have net zero targets, but only six of them have plans to phase out oil. Only five out of 94 gas-producing countries with a net zero target have plans to phase out gas. As for coal-producing countries, only 65 of those with net zero targets have plans to stop production.

As always with COP meetings, the event ended with a communiqué promising that the world would try to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels – which is a long way from agreeing to phase them out by a certain date, as many activists demanded. After two weeks and several hundred thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide spewed out by private jets and the like, the 98,000 delegates who had signed up for COP28 had come up with nothing more than an empty promise. In fact, the list of countries with plans to phase out fossil fuels is showing few signs of growing. The new government in New Zealand has just reneged on the previous administration‘s pledge to do so. In Germany, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck recently announced that he may delay the country’s planned phase-out of coal by 2030 because of the energy crisis provoked by the invasion of Ukraine.

A little more subdued in criticism of Al Jaber was US climate envoy John Kerry, who said: ‘look, he’s gotta decide how he wants to phrase it, but the bottom line is this COP needs to be committed to phasing out all unabated fossil fuel.’ No wonder Kerry was a bit shy: during the conference, news came through that in September 2023 the US produced 13.2 million barrels of oil per day – more than any country had ever managed in history. Indeed, the US is fully engaged in a race with Gulf countries to get as much fossil fuel out of the ground as possible. In the US, the capacity for gas export 2 rose to 11.4 billion cubic feet per day in 2022, and is pursuing new capacity which would add a further 9.7 billion cubic feet per day.2 Europeans shouldn’t criticise the US, either – Kerry explained that a lot of the extra production was heading to Europe in the form of liquified natural gas (LNG) to make up for lost capacity from Russia. There is scant sign of the whole world joining Britain in setting hard targets to achieving Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions – a task which would require far more than just the end of fossil fuels because it would have to involve the wholesale reinvention of agriculture, and well as industries such as steel, cement and fertilisers. When the House of Commons committed Britain to achieving Net Zero by 2050 – without even a vote – it was in the hope that it would inspire other countries to follow suit. How is that going?

According to the ‘Net Zero Scorecard’ published by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, 26 countries have so far legally committed themselves to a target of reaching net zero carbon emissions, mostly by 2050, although Germany and Sweden have a 2045 target, Iceland and Austria 2040 and Finland 2035.3 A further 52 countries have got as far as putting a net zero target in a policy document, while the rest haven’t even got that far. Notionally, the Net Zero Scorecard shows some signs of progress, in that the number of countries with a net zero target in law has increased from 17 in 2021 – even if many of these countries are pretty small-fry, such as Luxembourg and Fiji. Yet the reality is that the whole project has stalled. While no country has yet rowed back on its net zero target, many of the interim targets have begun to be relaxed, as governments realise the sheer impracticality and cost of reaching them. What looked like hard promises are evolving into rather weaker intentions. The unelected supranational bodies, such as the UN, are pushing harder than ever. But as the big targets loom ever larger in the windscreen, the governments that drive global climate policy are beginning to twitch on the steering wheel, ready to swerve.

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