In case you missed it there was another one of those climate change summits last week. You know the ones that rich people fly to every year on private, charter jets to remind the rest of us to take the bus.
Their hypocrisy was not all wasted though. The 45,000 people that attended eventually ticked off on a 10 page "implementation plan". The plan had 15 "notes" (two of them with serious concerns), 10 "recognises" and "welcomes", 8 "emphasises", 4 "encourages", 3 "urges" and just 2 "resolves". There were no decisions, commitments or anything that would approach a binding agreement.
So this climate change conference finished like all the others. It ended with the whimper and veneer of a consensus and yet all the countries will go back home and do whatever they like.
I am being a little harsh. There was for the first time an agreement on compensating developing countries for the "loss and damage" associated with climate change. As the United Nations trumpeted in a press release issued after the conference "Governments took the ground-breaking decision to establish new funding arrangements, as well as a dedicated fund, to assist developing countries in responding to loss and damage."
The Australian Government has issued no official statements on this fund but they have apparently agreed to it. Our government has done so without telling us how much Australians will have to pay developing countries for our evil habits of supplying the world with cheap and plentiful coal and gas.
By the way, under this fund, China is defined as a "developing country". So we will have to pay them for climate change loss too even though China has emitted almost three times the amount of Australia's emissions over time. No wonder Xi Jinping was happy to meet Anthony Albanese in Bali last week.
While we have not been given the exact figures of this fund yet, a United Nations report has estimated that developed countries will have to pay developing countries A$3 trillion a year for climate "loss and damage".
So what will Australia's share of this bill be? A related climate fund for developing countries established in 2009 required Australia to contribute 2.7 per cent of $100 billion. Using the same share would require Australia to pay $81 billion a year to developing countries.
Australia's $80 billion, annual reparations bill would be more than the cost of Medicare and the NDIS combined and about double what we spend in defence.
Such a burden would bankrupt Australia and is made even more absurd given that climate agreements do not even require developing countries to cut their emissions. Under these proposed climate agreements, rich countries would pay poor countries to build more coal fired power stations.
Why should countries be "compensated" for developing their economies. Australia should take pride in how our coal and gas industries have helped bring billions of people in our region out of poverty. The evidence is clear.
Since the mid 1980s the amount of electricity generated by coal in the Asia Pacific has increased by over 6 times. Back in the 1980s more than half of people in the Asia Pacific lived on less than US$1.90 per day in today's dollars. Today that figure is less than 5 per cent.
There is no doubt that the provision of cheap and reliable energy to what were poor nations has improved the lives of billions of people. Australia's coal played a big part in this development especially in Japan, Korea and China.
The benefits of coal and gas are demonstrated by the extraordinary demand for them. Their price is not just at record highs, the price of coal and gas is multiple times the levels of previous records. This has meant that coal is now once again Australia's biggest export. King Coal retook his crown at around the same time as King Charles.
When you add in oil and gas, fossil fuels now account for 40 per cent of Australia's merchandise exports, a record high.
Talk is cheap and whatever countries might say at climate conferences, what they are doing is buying up more coal, oil and gas. As a country blessed with high quality fossil fuel deposits we should *welcome* this development, *urge* countries to invest in Australian mining and *commit* to supply the free world with the reliable energy they need to remain strong, resilient and independent nations.