By Matt Patterson, November 5, 2021
Editorial credit: rafapress / Shutterstock.com
Earlier this week, an estimated 400 private jets carrying leaders from around the world descended upon Glasgow, Scotland for the COP26 United Nations Climate Summit (in what undoubtedly could have been hosted as a Zoom meeting). The conference attendees have urged the world to lower carbon emissions. President Joe Biden, who has recently apologized to the world for the United States’ exit from the Paris climate agreement, and his entourage will reportedly generate 2.2 million pounds of carbon getting to Glasgow due to four planes, the Marine One helicopter, and vast motorcade on the ground.[i]
In lecturing to the conference, President Biden said that climate change is “the challenge of our collective lifetime – the existential threat to human existence as we know it. And every day we delay, the cost of inaction increases. So let this be the moment that we answer history’s call here in Glasgow.”[ii] This comment comes less than two months after his pleading with OPEC and allies to boost oil production to tackle rising prices and three days after his administration urged G20 countries to ramp up energy production amidst record-high natural gas prices.[iii]
Yet the hypocrisy only gets worse.
The Secretary General of United Nations, an organization which inexplicably allows China to sit on the Human Rights Council,[iv] said that Texas must end its reliance on oil and gas production to “remain prosperous in the era of climate change.”[v] UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had quite a bit to say about the United State’s largest energy producer:
If Texas wants to remain prosperous in 2050 or 2070, Texas will have to diversify its economy and Texas will have to be less dependent on oil and gas. Texas is prosperous today because Texas is based on what was the main factor of what was wealth and power in the last century. Oil and gas. What we are seeing is, with things changing, the green economy will tend to be preponderant in the future.[vi]
Mr. Guterres, who led the Portuguese Socialist Party from 1995 to 2002, seems to conveniently omit two important facts when pointing the finger at the Texas energy sector. First, Texas is the United States’ largest producer of wind energy and produced about 28% of all U.S. wind-powered electricity in 2020.[vii] Not only is the state diversifying its energy portfolio through wind and solar technology, but, as TxEnergyProject has detailed, the oil and gas industry is constantly developing new innovations that reduce emissions without depleting production.[viii] Furthermore, the “green economy” that Mr. Guterres references hasn’t exactly been working wonders recently in Europe. Facing an energy crisis, leaders across the continent have resorted to begging Russia to produce more coal and have even reopened several plants, a move that flies in the face of UN climate goals.[ix] China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon, is currently faced with electricity shortages of its own and is ramping up its coal production to exceed that of Western Europe.[x] If Mr. Guterres believes that “time is running short” to avoid a climate catastrophe as he said last week, perhaps he should focus his attention on Beijing instead of Beaumont.
Fortunately for Texas, the future of the state’s energy industry is not dictated by a group that most closely resembles the world’s hall monitor (and not a very good one, at that). The future of energy in Texas will be determined by the free market, innovation, and the needs of its people. Attempting to meddle in the business of Texas while ignoring the glaring realities of horrible energy policies around the world proves that the UN’s climate charade is less about the environment and more about politics. Texas has and will continue to do its part to reduce emissions and to work toward cleaner energy production. For example, Texas has shown a 32% decrease in ozone from 2000 to 2020 (decrease in harmful air pollutants), which is the 10th largest decrease in the United States over that period. Additionally, of the 20 states with the highest fossil-fuel fired power plant nitrogen oxide emissions, Texas ranks 8thlowest in emissions per capita.[xi] Keep in mind, Texas is the 2nd most populous state in the U.S. and is also the largest energy-producing state. These successes, along with private sector innovation that TxEnergyProject has highlighted previously, show that Texas is working diligently toward a cleaner environment without radically upending the energy sector. If world leaders truly want to decarbonize, they could start with the hot air they perpetually blow at these climate conventions. Besides, what is the UN going to do if Texas does not divest from fossil fuels? Sanction Israel again?
[i] https://torontosun.com/news/world/oh-the-hypocrisy-private-jets-pack-scotlands-climate-conference [ii] https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/01/politics/us-president-cop26-climate-opening-remarks/index.html [iii] https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/biden-urges-g20-leaders-to-increase-energy-production-as-coal-oil-crunch-continues [iv] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/CurrentMembers.aspx [v] https://www.wfaa.com/article/tech/science/climate-change/united-nations-to-texas-curb-reliance-on-oil-and-gas-to-remain-prosperous-in-era-of-climate-change/287-a7622d6e-e4cc-43c6-9936-30835e6c23ca [vi] Ibid. [vii] https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=TX [viii] https://www.txenergyproject.org/post/energy-innovation-leads-the-way [ix] https://www.newsweek.com/gripped-energy-crisis-europe-breaking-climate-promises-coal-gas-1637291 [x] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/28/business/energy-environment/china-coal-climate.html [xi] https://www.tceq.texas.gov/airquality/airsuccess/airsuccesstxcompared