The link between climate and poverty

The climate alarmists are practically giddy over Pope Francis’ recently released “climate encyclical” — remember, these are, generally, the very same people who dis the church and its position on abortion, the origin of life on earth, and the definition of marriage. Even Al Gore, who admits he was “raised in the Southern Baptist tradition,” has declared he “could become a Catholic because of this Pope.”

Not surprisingly, Carl Pope, who served as executive director of the Sierra Club for 36 years, chimed in. He penned a piece published on June 22 in EcoWatch in which he bashes “American conservatism” and positions the papal publication as being responsible for a “new dynamism” that he claims is “palpable.”

“It is more a gale than a fresh breeze,” Pope exclaimed, “when the most ground-breaking pope since John XXIII links poverty and climate.” In his post titled “How Pope Francis’s Climate Encyclical is Disrupting American Politics,” Pope pronounces, “Something fundamental is shifting this summer in political and cultural attitudes around the climate.”

The former Sierra Club director then goes into a litany of news stories to support his position. Included in his list: the recent agreement from the “world’s major industrialized nations” to “Phase Out Fossil Fuels by 2100” — which is more rhetoric than reality.

In his claim of colliding “new realities and social change forces,” Pope never mentions the polling indicating that after the most extensive and expensive global propaganda campaign, fewer people are worried about a warming planet than were 25 years ago. Nor does he acknowledge that, according to Harvard Political Review, the vast majority of Americans — even those who agree that “global warming is a proven fact and is mostly caused by emissions from cars and industrial facilities such as power plants” — are still “unsupportive of government measures to prevent climate change that might harm the economy.”

And “harm the economy” it does — which is why, despite the G7 non-binding “agreement,” many European counties are returning to fossil fuels and retreating from renewables — led by German capacity payments to keep coal-fueled power plants open.

On June 19, in PV Magazine, Stelios Psomas, policy advisor at the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, laments Greece’s “policy U-turn towards lignite.” Psomas said, “All [the new government] is concerned with is how to promote power generation from fossil fuels e.g. new lignite power stations, new gas pipes and exploratory drilling for oil. So far, it has shown no interest at all for renewables energy.”

In May, Greece’s Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, sent a letter to the European Commission “requesting permission to reactivate and prolong the life of Ptolemaida 3” — an “old technology” coal plant. Among his arguments, Lafazanis cited “the country’s ongoing recession, which has prompted the need to maintain household heating costs as low as possible.” Greece is also due to start construction any day on Ptolemaida 5, a new lignite-fired power station in Northern Greece.

Greece’s return to coal is due, according to Lafazanis, to the intermittency of renewable power, which endangers the country’s “energy security,” and to economic concerns. The Greek photovoltaic industry is “now preparing for the worst.”

Similarly, Poland is also seeking exemptions from “the European Union’s rules on reducing carbon emissions because the nation’s energy security and economic development depends on coal,” BloombergBusiness reports. Poland has previously received concessions from the EU climate policy. The new governing party, Law & Justice, is planning a strategy for the economy that “rejects the dogma of de-carbonization.” On, Ben Garside predicts, “it may become more tempting for Polish governments to try to opt out of the [climate] laws altogether.”

Following elections in the United Kingdom that gave the conservative Tories a decisive majority, Britain’s energy policies are changing. While, so far, claiming to stick to its carbon targets, the new government will focus on minimizing costs.

In an editorial prior to the elections, The Guardian framed the party differences this way: “The Tories have cast off their green disguise. They will end subsidies for onshore wind power and rely on the market to bring down prices, they are enthusiastic about fracking and they want to build more roads. … The Greens, of course, remain committed to creating a zero-carbon economy, even if that is at the cost of economic growth.”

As predicted, the new Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, announced an end to onshore wind subsidies, which “will save hundreds of millions of pounds.” She acknowledged that ending the “subsidy scheme” meant about 250 projects, totaling about 2,500 turbines, are now “unlikely to be built.”

The change in the government’s attitude toward wind energy, which was part of the Conservatives Manifesto, is likely the first of many to come in the weeks ahead. The Manifesto pledges to:

* Keep energy bills as low as possible;

* Halt the spread of onshore windfarms;

* Back a significant expansion in new nuclear;

* Continue to support development of North Sea oil and gas and the safe development of shale gas; and

* Not support additional distorting and expensive power sector targets.

In The Telegraph, columnist Fraser Nelson reports that, after taking stock of what has been learned in the past five years, Rudd intends to take the summer to come up with “a proper Tory plan” — which, like the wind subsidy decision, is expected to follow the Manifesto and keep energy bills as low as possible.

Once again, economics are an important factor. Nelson states the following as a problem with climate-driven energy policy: “the fact that at least 15,000 British pensioners die of the cold each winter. It’s a staggering death toll, which has been greeted with a shrug for far too long. But this, too, is ending. The notion of ‘fuel poverty’ is being more widely recognized — and green subsidy is compounding the problem.”

In Germany, Greece, Poland, and the UK, fossil fuel has reemerged. However, in Ethiopia, according to Pope, they are willing to reduce projected 2030 carbon pollution by 64 percent. The caveat? “If climate finance is made available.”

Yes, there is a “link” between poverty and climate. The green energy favored by the Pope, Carl Pope, and other climate alarmists threatens energy security, harms the economy, and creates fuel poverty that kills thousands of people each year.


The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program, “America’s Voice for Energy”—which expands on the content of her weekly column.

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