World leaders descend upon Glasgow for COP26 at the end of the week to exert their western arrogance upon the rest of the world, without a thought of the 1 billion people still living in energy poverty today.
These people are forced to cook with wood and dung in their homes, leading to indoor air pollution that kills about 4 million per year, making it the deadliest environmental problem facing the world today – 2,667 percent more deaths per year than those attributed to climate change.
They meet on the heels of the President of Uganda making a powerful statement that “Africa can’t sacrifice its future prosperity for Western climate goals” and Ministers from the G- 24 labeling net-zero goals “anti-equity.” They have a point, too. When did we start caring more about molecules than we did people?
According to their millions of stakeholders, you might be surprised to learn that climate change ranks as the 13th most important Sustainable Development Goal at the United Nations (out of 17).
Nonetheless, fear-based propaganda has been so effective that 56 percent of young people now think humanity is doomed because of climate change. According to a major study of 10,000 people across ten countries, 45 percent of 16 to 25-year-olds said climate-related anxiety and distress is affecting their daily lives and ability to function normally.
Is this the impact climate leaders want to have – scaring the living daylights out of young people and causing mental distress so that people care about your cause?
“Existential” is the word typically used to describe climate change. It is an adjective “relating to existence, especially human existence.” As Vox writes, “there’s a standard meaning of that phrase: that it’s going to wipe out humanity. Civilization will topple, and famine and natural disasters will pick off the survivors. Cockroaches will reign on earth – or maybe they won’t, since there’s a mass insect extinction underway.” Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, attempting to out-climate the field of 2020 presidential hopefuls, said climate change “is the existential threat. It is the one that threatens all life on this planet.”
Instead of describing what Climate Change is, The Economist described what climate change is not. “It is not the end of the world. Humankind is not teetering on the edge of extinction. The planet itself is not in peril.”
Showing complete disregard for suffering today, climate leaders work to solve for potential suffering tomorrow. They mandate rich-nation values upon cultures that have other priorities, like ending poverty, and ones that don’t share similar values at all. For example, climate funding is now channeled through agencies that require gender equality and other prerogatives of wealthy nations.
Climate leaders, like Al Gore, have weaponized FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). To recruit believers to the climate cause, Gore is quoted saying, “we need to create fear!” as he lobbied the likes of the late Hans Rosling. What’s worse is that they seem to have portrayed the problem in such an extremist way that they’ve convinced a growing army of climate warriors that terrorism is justified as a means to an end.
In the United States, The New Yorker has platformed a terrorist – Andreas Malm. Malm has published a book titled, How to Blow Up a Pipeline, and “insists that the climate movement rethink its roots in nonviolence.” When asked if he was planning an act of terrorism, Malm replied, “if I was planning things, I wouldn’t tell you.” Facebook and Twitter have also platformed Malm’s calls for violence and destruction while Amazon is promoting and selling his book.
And the silence from climate leaders, like Biden’s climate advisor John Kerry, feels deafening. Consider that, on September 31st, Tracy Stone-Manning, Biden’s appointment to Director of the Bureau of Land Management, was confirmed by Congress despite proof that she was involved in eco-terrorism and lying under oath. Their collective hypocrisy is repulsive.
Real climate leadership looks different. It cares about people’s suffering and seeks to improve the human condition. As the United Kingdom restarts coal-fired plants to keep the lights on in Glasgow and European energy costs soar to record levels, world leaders would be wise to start listening to the energy experts who predicted this global energy crisis instead of those who created it.
We need leaders who refuse to use click-farming hyperbole that risks people tuning out altogether; more importantly, we need leaders who prioritize people over molecules.
Robert Hefner V is a fifth-generation energy expert from a family that has influenced the energy policy of multiple presidential administrations dating back to the 1930s. He is an investor, author, speaker, and consultant.
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