Big oil and its operatives controlled the Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences of the Parties (COP) process from the earliest days, in no small part by tweaking the underlying language on how the process proceeds. Bill, you may recall Don Pearlman, the Patton-Boggs lawyer always lurking in the shadows chain smoking at the various meetings - doing the bidding of invisible clients? Mohammad Al Sabban, Saudi Arabia's longtime rep at the talks, gloats about all of this in a memoir he wrote. Now it's just out in the open with UAE as host. So glad I've stopped traveling to these circuses.

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In other news, Vladimir Putin will be hosting a conference on the growing threat of despotism, the US House of Representatives will hold a 3-day symposium on meeting legislative goals, and the Pentagon will release a series of podcasts on runaway spending for military hardware.

BTW, I read somewhere that Chicago asked Al Capone to host a conference on reducing crime in the city. Mr. Capone rejected the offer, however, saying it must be some kind of joke. Turns out even Al Capone wasn't hypocritical enough to accept.

My, how things have changed.

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The first question I asked when I saw COP28 was to be held in the UAE was, why there? I imagine there was a lot of behind-the-scenes "diplomacy" to make that happen.

What chills is the utter lack of understanding, on the part of these people, is the fact that they themselves will not be immune to the effects of climate change. Perhaps they think they'll be gone by the time the worst of it hits, having enjoyed a glorious fossil-fuel life. May they be reborn as newts.

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The big oil subterfuge is a clear and present danger, but worse are the world’s neoliberal politicians preaching their lies about the benefits of unregulated, small government capitalism. The world’s voters, especially here in the United States, better wake up and reassess their ideologies, or I’m afraid this planet we call home will no longer be able to support democracy and civilization as we know it.

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Bill, either I misread the following or Guterres is two-faced:

<<Guterres swallowed hard and said “I can’t believe it’s true.”

But of course he can, and so can anyone else>>

Perhaps you could clarify

Andy makes a good point, validating my dismay with UNFCCC COPs. I’ll be watching to see if the 190-odd nations stand together and initiate a rebellious movement you hint at.

As for the melting of the polar ice, I have become convinced that our collective failure to bring atmospheric CO2e back down to the <350 target Jim Hansen suggested over 15 years ago foretells humanity’s inability to save ourselves.

From 2012 when I retired until 2017 when Rex Tillerson retired and joined the Trump administration, I tried every conventional and unconventional innovative trick in the book to convince—by logic, morals, shame and even in Denton County Small Claims Court—Rex (the “top dinosaur”) Tillerson to behave like the Eagle Scout and BSA President he so proudly touts. (TellRex.com)

And since then, my daily efforts to sway decision-makers have not moved the needle. What makes us think anything we attempt will influence the state, national, international and UNFCCC COP leaders make truly effective policy to lower the temperature of the atmosphere and oceans?

I don’t know what to say either ... well ... except ... we need to take a quantum step out of our current way of thinking into a new paradigm of extraordinary triage intervention to cool the Arctic, Antarctic, atmosphere and oceans to curtail the dying throes of Mother Eaarth.

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Thank you as always Bill. My SS audience is women (empowering us through collaborative negotiation) and I connect the dots regularly between patriarchy and fossil fuel (the need to dismantle both -- So parallel really) But, as a mom, I am constantly aware of how ironic -- all the intense effort I expended to birth and raise healthy great kids only to be leaving them and their generation and beyond a planet that will be very difficult. I am SO FURIOUS!!

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Why are we surprised at the behaviour of anything to do with oil? You only have to read ‘The Prize’ by Daniel Yergin to know what corrupt people were and are involved. Global business and the people who run it are corrupt, however our modern world runs because of them! The only change will be if it benefits them. Or a major ecological disaster that directly causes permanent damage so bad that they cannot continue to function. I am reminded of the disaster movie, “Day after Tomorrow”, aptly named but missing the subtitle, ‘never comes.’ Because that is the attitude of the powerful people who have and will make the problem for the future generations after they have gone. Yes, I am a cynic so prove me wrong!

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I saw an article recently about China's massive buildout of renewable energy plants. They're investing heavily in solar and wind farms and are reportedly on track to displace a significant portion of their reliance on coal. Not replacing coal, but demand should start dropping.

Oddly enough, this gave me a bit more hope about COP28. The reality is we live in reality. Which is to say Big Oil underpins modern convenient lifestyles and is not going away soon, no matter how hard we ask. I think our best chance is to outbuild the existing fossil fuel infrastructure with renewable non-polluting green energy infrastructure. The only way to beat the Oil Co.'s is to outcompete them in the market, because in the world we live in, the market decides winners and losers.

Having the COP in the UAE is an opportunity to go head to head with the adversary and see where we stand. Al-Jaber is head of their renewable energy operation as well as ADNOC, I believe. The strategy should be to start making deals they don't want to refuse.

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No duh. And here’s the thing. There is virtually nothing you can do to affect oil and gas (or coal) production coming out of the Middle East, China, Russia, South Asia, Africa and South America. Even if Exxon, Chevron, Shell, BP, and Total magically disappeared, no one is going to stop these countries and regions from producing as much oil, natural gas and coal as they can sell. The only thing that will change things is if the all in cost of renewable energy (including necessary storage when there is no sun or insufficient wind) falls below the all in cost of carbon based energy. You could of course tax carbon to increase the cost of carbon based energy, but that is not going to happen in the producer countries in the developing world and is politically difficult in the developed world. And you could of course subsidize renewable energy, which is politically difficult anywhere. So the reality of what is happening needs to be clearly understood and we cannot live in a fantasy world where key carbon energy producing nations and regions are going to voluntarily reduce their energy production. I’m sorry if people don’t like reality but such is life.

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We’re highly confident you’ll be similarly outraged when a COP is eventually held in China and it does precisely the same thing wrt wind and solar, Bill.

Sure of it.

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In any case, all you folks, including this arab turd, are serving energy and economics and not the planet. Bill Mckibben himself a pathetic ranting salesman of green energy deals. So Get Lost Yet Again!

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Thank you for keeping the facts flowing. Honestly, I read the (apt) line about drug dealing and I thought, "After all this time, where are the surgeon general warnings?" Surely there's enough evidence by now for the FDA to start putting warning stickers on gas tanks.

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Hard to give a heart to such a heartbreaking post, but I’m so grateful for this newsletter. Thank you, Bill.

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Bill, yesterday in my comment I stated:

<<“Andy makes a good point, validating my dismay with UNFCCC COPs. I’ll be watching to see if the 190-odd nations stand together and initiate a rebellious movement you hint at.”>>

I had intended to suggest the following, but got distracted:

To quash the Global Oil “Syndicate” insidious intentions to hook developing nations on the financial reliance and physical infrastructure of Oil & Gas, the transparent metric we need to establish and monitor to ensure enforcement of a steady abandonment and decline is “Number of Refineries Retired.”

What prompted me to serendipitously come up with that metric was the Hansen et al December 3, 2013, paper* that called for a 6% annual decline in CO2 emissions. I asked Jim at a NE CCL conference in Nashua NH if he meant a straight line decline over 16 years or an asymptomatic reduction 6% of each previous year’s emissions—he responded the latter. Much has changed in the decade since.

At that time, there were about 750 refineries and 2300 coal-fired power plants. Do the math. I created two hashtags to sum it up:

#RetireRefineries #OnePerWeek

My engineering mind concluded that to achieve the asymptomatic decline, we’d best set our sights a bit higher and aim for a 16-year decline to zero.

Well, here we are a decade later, with 2030 and 2050 targets of 50% and 100% decline aspirations. That’s about a 10% annual decline over the next 6-7 years continuing at about 10% annual decline over the ending 20 years!

Initially that could be simplified as:

#RetireRefineries #SixPerMonth

To be effective, this is what the movement would have to demand as I see it. If COP participants fail, extraordinary intervention will be warranted/required—or “indicated” to save the patient in doctor speak.



* Assessing "Dangerous Climate Change": Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature (3 December 2013, Hansen et al.) Bit.ly/Hansen3Dec13

Excerpt (page 2) : “Cumulative fossil fuel emissions through 2012 are 370 GtC and increasing almost 10 GtC per year. The current emission rate would need to decrease 6% per year to limit emissions to 500 GtC. If reductions had begun in 1995, the required reduction rate would have been 2.1% per year, or 3.5% per year if reductions had begun in 2005. If emissions continue to grow until 2020, reductions must be 15% per year to stay within the 500 GtC limit, which emphasizes the urgency of initiating emission reductions.”

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That the UAE’s COP President and the Saudis have shown themselves to be “almost cartoonishly villainous” is partly a consequence of their never having to be accountable to any voters. They are a caricature of the adage that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is true of both autocratic OPECkers and rapacious fossil fuel industry leaders in the U.S. & elsewhere. They are killers of people, planet, and democracy.

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This is madness -- thank you Mr. McKibben for this excellent update about global climate politics. All the rich men (of which we have too many) want money and money only, at any price, and the rest of us have no choice but to try and stop them.

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