István E. Markó*
If you think that the climate conference, to be held in Paris in December 2015 (COP21), has anything to do with climate or nature protection, revise your copy. You have it all wrong. Those who will be the first one to realize it, after unsuccessfully searching in the recesses of these future minimalists and non-binding agreements, that will nevertheless be presented as a great success for the environment and the climate, will be the ecologists and some environmental NGOs. The European Union already knows that these talks will be a failure. And make no mistake. Despite the already announced fiasco of this 21st big Climate Mass, it will be exposed to the general public as a real victory of the politicians who appear to have no other more urgent matters to tackle than worry about the possible climate there will eventually be in 2100. At this moment, representatives of different EU countries have lost faith in adopting more binding agreements on CO2 emission levels and they are attempting to find a honourable way out of the mess in which they dug themselves. Indeed, this whole climate circus has all to do with money and only money, with investments and subsidies, with national and global political power. More precisely, it concerns huge amounts of money transfers to emerging countries with, en passant, a small skimming by some and interesting returns on investment – plus benefits, of course – to the participating countries. There is no generosity or willingness to help in this money transfer, only cold harsh business. Let’s illustrate the point with the example of Mrs Merkel.
Germany promised India more than 2 billion euros to support projects directed to the use of solar energy and for the development of high-efficiency intelligent power networks to accelerate the transition of India towards sustainable development. This announcement, made during a recent visit of Angela Merkel in Delhi, led Prime Minister Modi to promise her that India, one of the dissident nations in the fight against CO2, would renew its efforts in this endeavour. Such an announcement appeared as a political victory for the German Chancellor who was trying to coax Modi and convince him to join the side of President Hollande during the COP21 climate meeting. However, and unfortunately for her, the Indian Prime Minister has no intention of slowing down the economic growth of his country and the figures he submitted to the COP21 invalidate his promise to Mrs. Merkel. India will hence act in a rational manner and thus improve the efficiency of his coal-powered power plants by implementing new technologies. Therefore, the CO2 emissions will continue to grow even though the rate of production of this greenhouse gas will gradually slow down. Who are the real winners of this pathetic German-Indian financial agreement: Indian firms that will perform market research (pocketing the usual backhander) and the German industry that will provide products and materials for all the photovoltaic equipment. Who will pay these two billion euros that will partly enrich the German industry almost as corrupted as the Indian one? German citizens. Via their taxes, of course.
The duplicity of the German electricity industry is truly a model of its own. Indeed, not only do they benefit from state subsidies, promised by the politicians to pursue the catastrophic German Energy Transition (EnergieWende), but they also have no qualms in increasing the energy bill of the German citizen who are thus paying twice for the same service. The German executives do not hesitate to risk the future of their companies and to put them in danger of bankruptcy – they are already losing a lot of money through the stock options – because they know very well that they will receive juicy state subsidies. This is the reason underlying the division of EON into two legally independent entities. This attitude irritates the energy enterprises in small countries that cannot play this rotten political race towards subsidies without immediate bankruptcy, resulting in conflicts at the EU Energy Council between Germany and the “East Countries” who are against more stringent regulations favouring renewable energies.
Hidden behind this climate circus, one can find large banks that have invested huge amounts of money in the renewable dream and who want to reap the juicy dividends that were promised to them. The carbon credits are only one of their new stock additions. Add to these players numerous multinational industries, involved in fields as diverse as chemistry, electricity and oil (yes, you read it right) and you start to get the picture. These companies have also relied heavily on the “all renewable”, the “green chemistry”, the “clean energy”, the “biofuels”, the total “decarbonisation”, anything that would allow them to benefit from the generosity of the states and take advantage of the scandalous subsidies offered recklessly by our political leaders. Who are the losers in this dirty game? We, the citizens!
Many European companies argue in favour of renewables and keep requesting more and more binding agreements on the matter. To save the planet ? Of course, not. These agreements should guarantee them huge financial benefits. They should also protect them against the consequences of the bad investments they have made in the renewable area that were poised to lead them in a negative financial spiral. Finally, stringent regulations favouring renewables should undermine the competition with the emerging countries. They are trying to avoid an inevitable “energy subprime”. Let’s take the example of Total, who has dropped all its solar activities and even closed its Belgian plant (http://www.journaldelenvironnement.net/article/total-et-gdf-suez-vont-fermer-leur-usine-solaire,29543) but who, surprisingly, still maintains its photovoltaic company in France (http://www.total.fr/ma-maison/solaire/panneaux-photovoltaiques.html). Why did they keep this business in France? Would Mr Hollande and his promises of financial deductions have anything to do with it ? I wonder.
BP (British Petroleum), like the farmers in the “corn states” who received huge subsidies based upon the US EPA biofuel policy, jumped into the race for biofuels subsidies to produce biofuels, even though this led to global chaos due to food price rise. They even went to the extent of changing their name for Beyond Petroleum (so sweet!). Despite their heavy investment in the “green dream”, BP has now abandoned this area completely. Unfortunately, Belgium, France and Germany still continue to provide subsidies for the production of biofuels even though it is easy to realize that it is a nonsense just by looking at the cost of a ton of CO2 : in the carbon credit trade market, a ton of CO2 sells between 6 to 8€ whilst that of a biofuel sells at 300€. Moreover, these biofuels are everything except “ecologic”. Indeed, bioethanol is produced by fermentation of cereals and everybody knows that fermentation generates huge amounts of CO2. Well, not everybody. Politicians don’t know about it. As for biofuel, they are only partially “bio” as they need methanol, prepared from methane, to react with vegetable oil to produce the said biofuel. Biofuels are thus generated from fossil fuels. Every chemist knows that. Politicians, again, don’t have a clue.
As for environmental NGOs, that bloom as snowdrops in spring and have a chronic need for financial resources, they relay the sacred words of the climate Mass, frightening innocent citizens and filling their pockets in the process. They do not hesitate to lie or amend the facts. With the help of climatologists dedicated to “THE cause”, they predict an apocalyptic future unless we abide by the rules of the new climate religion.
Finally, let’s remember that the demonization of CO2 began with Mrs Thatcher (who wanted to get rid of the National Coal Board, a state entreprise in charge of the coal mining industry and who was a real financial black-hole, sucking in huge amounts of state subsidies), that the +2°C ceiling, beyond which our planet would suffer irreversible damage, results from the pressure exerted by Angela Merkel on a group of German climatologists and that finally, the new chairman of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, a UN body), Mr Lee Hoesung, is also a member of the very discreet GGGI (Global Green Growth Institute, possessing diplomatic and legal immunity. One wonder why?), another offshoot of the UN, on which we should keep a particularly vigilant eye.
Climate change? A beautiful opportunity for industry to earn even more money on the back of a tired population that, ever so slowly, begins to emerge from its torpor and starts to free itself from the massive brainwashing that it had undergone since tens of years. When the mask will finally fall off, let’s bet that face underneath will look particularly hideous. Then, someone will have to pay the final bill. Guess who will?
* This text reflects the author’s personal opinion
Istvan Marko is a professor of organic chemistry at Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium.