The Green Farce at Katowice

It is tempting to dismiss the just-ended environmental circus at Katowice as mere additional demonstration of Charles Mackay’s ‘madness of crowds,’ syndrome, but this would mean missing its intensely political nature as a frontal assault on capitalism and the last great hope of the Left to do away with the hated free market. COP-24, as the Katowice cabal making the rules and declarations is known, was but the 24th iteration of the United Nations Climate Change Conference that was originally dedicated to fighting global warming until the name became inconvenient when temperatures refused to cooperate with the mantra. It is already clear that COP-24, like most of the previous confabs, will do nothing more than punt fighting the promised doom of us all to a future date.

Nonetheless, there is a qualitative difference to the latest green failure from previous times which give us reason to hope that it won’t be long before this latest exercise in environmental mimicry bites the dust for good. It was expressed in the refusal of the U.S. under President Trump to admit that America is evil incarnate and the refusal of developed nations to increase its emission targets. It is, therefore, worthwhile to recapitulate how we came to this point.

It all started back in 1995 and received its present shape when a ‘protocol’ was concocted by the environmental extremists running the U.N. at Kyoto in 1997. Then in 2015, in Paris, concrete steps in fighting global warming in the future were agreed upon. To come to an agreement, however putative, the organizers had to reconcile three types of countries with very different, if not irreconcilable, interests. Rich countries, countries that have a chance of becoming rich, and countries that were poor and are likely to remain so. And they did it brilliantly!

From the rich, who felt guilty for being rich, they extracted penance in the shape of promised payments for “adaptation, mitigation and compensation.” To those rapidly developing countries such as China and India, who are also the biggest polluters, they gave carte blanche to continue polluting to their hearts’ content, and to the poor they offered ‘money for nothing,’ as the song goes, and lots of it. The Green Climate Fund (to be funded by the rich) was supposed to distribute $100 billion per annum alone. Instead, it is now in a freefall.

As an additional hook for eager ‘environmentalists’ from the third world and elsewhere, they also offered an all-expenses-paid vacation to hardship locales like Paris, Cancun and Buenos Aires. No wonder prime venues for environmental activism such as Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Ivory Coast have responded so generously by sending 406, 237, and 191 delegates to Katowice respectively.

All of this virtue-signaling - some naysayers call it hypocrisy - was going along splendidly until reality interfered as it often does. No sooner did President Obama, who actually believes that the U.S. is rich because others are poor, finish his tenure did President Trump pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, which probably dooms it.  Germany, this paragon of supposed ecological virtue, lavishly subsidized renewable energy until it managed to achieve the highest cost of electricity in Europe ($0.33 vs $0.13 in the U.S.), threatening its standards of living and industry both. At the same time, it failed to reach its loudly proclaimed emissions goals.  Then President Emmanuel Macron of France, yet another great green wannabe, vowed to raise sharply the price of fuel, only to beat an ignominious retreat when the unwashed known as the people inexplicably rebelled.

How could that be when we’re swamped virtually on a daily basis with IPCC scary reports and scenarios of doom dreamed up by computer models? The answer is actually simple: It is green energy that is inefficient, unreliable and unsustainable, and more and more people know that, despite all the propaganda the U.N. and governments worldwide can dish out. Facts are stubborn things, it is said, and so they are. In 1971 13% of primary energy was renewable, in 2016, nearly 50 years later, it is 14%.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies ( he could be reached at

Image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art, via Wikimedia // CC BY-SA 1.0