The Glasgow climate conference has been the best reality TV since Married At First Sight.
The French have played the role of the spurned lover, Malcolm Turnbull is still gossiping about double crossing years ago and China is threatening to quit unless someone pays them $1 trillion.
It is easy to conclude that these international jamborees are just hot air not delivering any real results. If only that were true.
Global climate conferences have not helped reduce carbon emissions – they have increased by over 40% this century – but they have helped transfer wealth and industry from the woke west to the rising countries of the east.
In Glasgow this week, the Australian Government has trumpeted the fact that our emissions have fallen, even while our economy has grown. This hides the ugly details though. As we have reduced our emissions, we have sent manufacturing jobs overseas. In fact, since 2008 our carbon emissions have fallen by 22%, and our manufacturing output has fallen 13%. If we aim for net zero emissions, we will get net zero manufacturing.
We are now more vulnerable because we make less in Australia, a weakness exposed by the coronavirus.
This impact can be seen across the world.
The United Kingdom’s carbon emissions have fallen by 30% since 2004, and their manufacturing industry has declined by 4%.
Data from the World Bank shows that every 10% decrease in carbon emissions, decreases your manufacturing industry by 4%, according to a simple linear regression.
Western countries have not stopped consuming manufactured goods, they have just stopped producing them. The west’s backslapping at reducing emissions is hypocritical and empty.
China’s carbon emissions have grown by 3 times since 2004, and their manufacturing industry has grown by over 6 times. And now China is demanding $1 trillion from the rest of the world to reduce its emissions.
Their shameless blackmail can at least be understood because they realise that reducing emissions comes at the cost of weakened industrial strength.
The world has always been dominated by the countries that can produce the most stuff.
With more of the world’s industry moving to East Asia a new world order is emerging in our backyard and we are more exposed to its growing pains than most.
Conflict often emerges as newly empowered countries jockey for prime position.
It happened as Europe industrialised and experienced over a century of the worst wars in history from the Napoleonic to World War II.
Perhaps that won’t be the experience of Asia but there are plenty of flash points here, from the South China Sea to the Himalayan and Hindu-Kush ranges.
Our basic problem is that we still conceive the “world” to be the North Atlantic where are our history and culture is from. Rather than become woke though, we must become awake. Awake to a new world that is emerging on our doorstop whether we like it or not.
The Glasgow Conference also reminded me of a different TV show – Monty Python’s classic Upper Class Twit of the Year competition.
The contestants – who have clearly inherited their wealth not earned it – compete in events to establish which of them is the most stupid.
The winner is Gervase Brooke-Hamster from Kensington, who successfully shoots himself before all of his fellow silver spoon competitors.
It is an apt metaphor as the woke west resembles an ungrateful inheritor, moronically wasting his parent’s fortune decorating the castle, while the walls and moat decay.
And, like the Monty Python skit, the winner of this perverse competition will be the country that commits economic suicide first.
We might owe our history to Europe but we should not tie our future to their naïve obsessions like net zero emissions.