We have a global climate crisis, what are different countries doing?

The UK Parliament was the first in the world to declare a ‘climate emergency’, followed quickly by the Irish Dáil. Spurred on by the multi-national forces of David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, our politicians are finally doing something. But if this is a world-wide crisis, what are other countries doing? Let’s take a look.

Germany shows sacrifice

Germany is fighting climate change on an industrial scale. They have sacrificed much of their once beautiful countryside in a bid to save the natural habitat. 30,000 wind turbines now stretch across the German landscape, the largest of which is 246 metres high, placed in the middle of the great forests of Gaildorf. Our European neighbours show that industrialising nature is the best way to save nature from effects of industrialisation.

In the cities, German consumers have pioneered ‘ethical’ shopping by choosing to pay some of the highest electricity prices in the world. To date, €500 billion has been channelled from the German population into the Energiewende programme, one of the world’s greatest experiments in wind-generated price inflation.

Cynics point out that CO2 emissions from Germany have not reduced for many years because wind power is unreliable, nuclear is being de-commissioned and coal increasingly fills the energy gap. Whatever the real effect on CO2, the German experience shows us that we must pay a high price to stop the climate changing. Sustaining ever increasing energy costs is the price of sustainable energy.

China is the master of climate diplomacy

China is taking a very different approach. Following years of economic hardship throughout the Maoist years, China has massively expanded the use of fossil fuels to drive economic growth. However, the Chinese are keen not to embarrass the Germans and other Western leaders. So, Chinese leaders attend UN Climate Change conferences and willingly sign joint declarations against CO2. They have become the world leaders in ‘climate diplomacy’. By supporting “common but differentiated climate change goals based on respective capabilities” the Chinese help Western politicians save face on the world stage.

Although climate-denying cynics point out that China currently emits more CO2 than any other country, is building hundreds of new coal-fired power stations across the world and doubling the number of airports to 450, China is 100% totally committed to signing pieces of paper at UN Climate Change conferences.

China has a developed a unique role in opposing climate change by keeping a straight face when Western politicians declare that we only have 12 years until the apocalypse. However, Xi Jinping does allow himself to smile at Western politicians when they line-up for UN Conference photoshoots.

The U.S. reduces the wrong CO2

Climate denier Donald Trump is happy to embarrass the Germans. He withdrew the United States from the Paris Accord on Climate Change in 2015 and curtailed the implementation of policies to reduce carbon emissions introduced by President Obama. This was a catastrophic blow to the international effort to prevent global warming. But Donald Trump has a dirty little secret. The United States is accidentally making the greatest worldwide contribution to the reduction of CO2. In the past 14 years, U.S. CO2 emissions have fallen more than any other country, due to the decade-long boom in shale gas replacing coal-fired power stations.

If this secret were to become public, it would undermine the demand for carbon taxes, massive lifestyle changes and subsidies for Green projects. We must continue to ostracise Donald Trump and oppose the evil of shale gas ‘fracking’.

Australia exports CO2

The Australian government is torn between the desire to make money from coal and iron ore and the purifying feeling that comes from being climate change campaigners. In response, they have pioneered an innovative scheme to rid their country of CO2, by exporting it to developing nations. By ramping up the price of electricity and replacing coal-fired power stations with intermittent energy sources, they now enjoy blackouts in their electricity system. Polluting energy-intensive industries, such as aluminium and steel, are being driven out of business. Australia simply exports the iron ore and coal to China, where the steel is now produced.

This dramatically reduces the Australian production of CO2 enabling them to become ‘world leaders in de-carbonisation’. De-industrialisation and outsourcing CO2 is one of the quickest ways to reduce CO2 emissions.

There are many ways we can respond to the climate emergency. Whichever way we choose, we must pay the price.

© Andy Shaw, 3rd August 2019