So, right now (early December 2023) the delegations of various countries are meeting in Dubai, UAE at the COP (Conference of Parties) talks to pretend to try again--for the 28th time, now--to work out an international deal on what to do about global warming and the industrial greenhouse emissions that cause it. They should have just stayed home. As my friend, futurist David Houle, explained in his recent Substack column, COP28 will accomplish absolutely nothing, and it will be yet another embarrassing failure in a long line of embarrassing international failures to deal with climate change. At this point, after nearly 30 of these, it should be abundantly clear that international negotiation on greenhouse gas emissions is a pointless and failed approach. Moreover, continued attempts to reach such an agreement aren't only useless, but actually counterproductive. They have reached the point where they simply insult the intelligence of the public. It's hard to imagine a greater waste of resources than engaging in this ludicrous charade yet again.
I don't talk much about climate change anymore. This is my "new" blog, begun in winter 2023, and part of the reason I abandoned my previous one (on Substack) was because I wrote about global warming a little too much, and it became incessantly gloomy. (Please do not subscribe to my Substack blog. I won't be updating it). I find the subject triggering and infuriating, in part because of nonsense like COP28. Also, very few people like what I have to say about global warming. When I tell the unvarnished truth about what I think is coming as a result of global warming, out come the epithets ("Alarmist! Doomer! Communist!"), the talking points ("We shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater...", "Any progress is good..."), the condescension ("You know, you should stick to history...") or the rank, hostile, weaponized ignorance ("Climate change is the biggest hoax since...!"). As a result, I usually try to keep my thoughts on the subject closer to the vest than I used to. It's clear the world places no value on, and does not want to hear, what I have to say about it.
Still, due to the importance and increasing urgency of the matter--and its close relationship to history--I can't help speaking out about it once in a while. Global warming is, by a wide margin, the most important and urgent issue in the world right now. It's more important than Israel and Hamas. More important than Putin and Ukraine. More important than Trump's indictments or the 2024 election. More important than the economy, health care, police violence, racial inequality, immigration, AI, Elon Musk and X, or whatever celebrity or war criminal died this week. Over the next few decades, global warming is going to destroy, upend, scramble or abolish every major institution on the planet. Nothing will remain unchanged or untouched by it. No one seems psychologically prepared for this eventuality; perhaps there's no way to really be. But I think it is plainly true.
It's also plainly true that the governments and major economic institutions around the globe have elected, willingly and deliberately, to make humanity's transition out of a stable climate and into whatever comes after that as chaotic, violent, and traumatic as possible. The clowns and criminals meeting in Dubai this week aren't talking about the one thing we must do to deal with climate change--which is to destroy, dismantle and abolish the fossil fuel industry as quickly as possible. Terminating Exxon-Mobil, BP, Shell and the rest of these criminal industries, confiscating and redistributing every dollar of their wealth to rebuild the world's energy infrastructure on a renewable basis is the one subject that, if an international body was really serious about addressing global warming, they would be discussing. But that subject is absolutely inconceivable. In fact, the fossil interests are the single largest delegation at COP28 and have likely cut secret deals with the legitimate participants. This is why COP28 should never have gone ahead. Fossil interests have no voice and no place at the table when discussing climate change solutions--none whatsoever. Their participation in any forum dealing with the problem is inherently corrupt, illegitimate and destructive.
The truth is, however, every government meeting at COP28 is utterly beholden to fossil interests. Regardless of the severity of the global warming problem, there's not a government on Earth that's willing to terminate its relationship with fossil fuels. But that's precisely what must be done, because, no matter how much economic pain or human misery it causes, the alternative is always worse. If COP wants to talk about benchmarks and targets, they should be setting benchmarks on how many oil refineries will be shut down permanently in the next 6 months, how many coal mines will be permanently shuttered, how much natural gas will be taken off the grid, and how many millions of acres of ranch and pastureland being used for meat production will be reforested. These subjects, though, are non-starters at climate change negotiations. That's why COP 28 is a joke.
Longer term, if, as seems virtually certain, global warming remains unaddressed, the results are almost foreordained by a look at the historical record: violent upheaval, probably on a global scale. That generally means war, revolution and probably some combination thereof. As the governmental and economic structures of the world crumble rapidly under the pressures of mass climate migration, superstorms, unendurable temperatures, food crises, terrorism and military conflict, eventually a dictator, or several dictators, will rise to power in the chaos on a message of, "Follow me, because we're now in the final extremity and there's simply no other choice if the human race is to survive." In an article I wrote on my old (Substack) blog in 2021, I termed this person the "Lenin of climate change," not as a means of forecasting what ideology they might ascribe to, but as an analogy to the kind of radical leader that arises to solve problems that his or her predecessors deliberately left unaddressed. Let me quote the final paragraph of that article, which I still believe in more than two years later.
This is a historical truth I wish did not exist, a prediction I wish I didn’t have to make. As I said, I don’t want, like or relish this result. This essay doesn’t have a hopeful ending or a call to action. I’m not going to tell you to write your Congressman or buy a Prius or switch to a vegan diet because this is our last chance to stop the Lenin of climate change, because I don’t believe that. Our last chance to stop him was maybe about 15 or 20 years ago. He’s coming. I hope you look good in red.
That's where my thinking is at regarding COP28 this week. It will be, in the words of Greta Thunberg--one of the few people on Earth who is telling it like it is--simply more "blah, blah, blah." So, in a week or so, when U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres gives a press conference, looking dour while the headlines of the world play up the utter failure of COP28 to do anything substantive, and he says to the young people of the world, "I know you're disappointed, but keep fighting," just laugh at him. He's clueless. He doesn't get it, and he never will. COP28 is not just a farce, but it's a fraud and an insult. The governments of the world as they are currently constituted will do nothing about the climate crisis. The Lenin of climate change will, but neither you, or I, will like what he does about it one little bit. This is the choice the COP28 leaders have made for us.
The Value Proposition
Why should you be reading this blog, or receiving it as a newsletter? This is why.
☕ If you appreciate what I do, buy me a virtual coffee from time-to-time to support my work. I know it seems small, but it truly helps.
📖 You could also buy my newest book.
🎓 Like learning? Find out what courses I’m currently offering at my website.
📽 More the visual type? Here is my YouTube channel with tons of free history videos.