Home Commentary How the fossil fuel elites promote global warming

How the fossil fuel elites promote global warming

As we start into the year 2024 after COP28, there is a very troubling realization that the future stability of planet Earth’s climate is under the control of very few powerful people.

They are the few money moguls and politicians of nations that control the fossil fuel industry. They are so influential they were able to influence a change in the words of the final statement of the almost 200 international COP28 national delegates.

The key phrase in the statement of commitment by all nations was changed by the producers and major users of fossil fuels from “phasing out fossil fuel” to “transition away from fossil fuel.” This last phrase is weaker and less urgent.

Many protested but in the end, the delegates called it a historical breakthrough. It was, they said, the “beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era.” In all the previous 27 meetings of COP (United Nations Climate Change Conference), phasing out was not on the table.
In the Philippines, some energy corporations are seriously investing in renewables, thanks to Republic Act No. 9513 of 2008 giving tax breaks to investors. More should take advantage of this law.

The government gives incentives for the development of renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydro, etc. New coal plants are on hold. An experimental compensation deal, called The Coal to Clean Credit Initiative (CCCI), is ongoing called.

Fossil fuels are the main source of energy to generate electricity for the world’s industrial economy. They are the main cause and source of CO2 emissions that cause global warming and ever-increasing deadly and destructive climate change. 

Was COP28 really the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era? It is unlikely. The pledges and promises are unenforceable. The fossil fuel lobby and corporations are giving lip service to the lofty goals of the climate conference. 

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It is hard to believe that the oil corporations and oil-producing nations would “transition away” from such a rich source of revenue, the basis of their political and economic power. It’s like asking a jewel trader to throw all his diamonds into the sea one by one. For them, the only thing that makes sense is money and lots of it.

Climate change activists and environmental and climate scientists have been forecasting climate disasters for 30 years. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, “a one-degree global change is significant because it takes a vast amount of heat to warm all of the oceans, the atmosphere, and the land masses by that much.

In the past, a one- to two-degree drop was all it took to plunge the Earth into the Little Ice Age. A five-degree drop was enough to bury a large part of North America under a towering mass of ice 20,000 years ago.”

The United Nations World Meteorological Organization confirmed that this year 2023 the world reached 1.4 degrees C of warming above pre-industrial level. The year 2023 has been the hottest ever in human history.

This is because the uncaring politicians and their tycoon cronies in the fossil fuel business are in denial and block every move to “transition away” from fossil fuels worldwide. 

For them, it is a battle for their economic survival. For the climate activists protecting the planet, it is the survival of life on earth.

Yet, there is little we can do but protest and force governments to legislate a phase-out of fossil fuel against the politicians and their corporate backers’ personal interests.

During the COP26 summit in Glasgow two years ago, the call was for the end of government subsidies to fossil fuel corporations. The pro-fossil fuel corporations lobbied to change the wording to the statement of commitment from “end subsidies” to “reduce cash subsidies” by national governments to their cronies in the oil exploration and distribution industry.  

Also, it seems they changed “phase out” subsidies to “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies.

There is no such thing as an “inefficient” subsidy. Such massive payments from pro-fossil fuel-paid politicians ensure their reelection by “donations” to their reelection campaigns by the “captains of industry.” They help each other. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” as the saying goes. 

In COP28, it was glossed over. Since then, worldwide subsidies to the oil industry have increased from US$2 trillion to US$7 trillion. China alone spent US$2.2 trillion on subsidizing oil companies. However, almost all oil-producing nations do it. It just needs the scratch and scrape of a pen on paper by an energy minister to his crony who is the CEO of an oil corporation and it is a done deal. 

All this is a monumental act of hypocrisy and a gross contradiction. For them, COP28 is just part of the global game of “say one thing, but do the opposite,” and drop another billion dollars to their share value or money in their bank account. 

Ordinary people have little knowledge or awareness of how powerless they really are to direct and control what happens to them and their families and property because of the increasing global warming of the climate due to corrupt deals of the politicians with the fossil fuel corporations (FFC). 

The last 28 COPs have not reduced emissions of deadly CO2 that is causing global warming. It is steadily increasing. Research by NASA and other scientists as of December 2023 shows that global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry totaled 37.15 billion metric tons (GtCO₂) in 2022.

However, now in 2023, emissions are projected to have risen 1.1 percent to reach a record high of 37.55 GtCO₂. Since 1990, global CO2 emissions have increased by more than 60 percent.

The growing frequency, greater intensity, and more destructive climate disasters are upon us already. The Philippines is a climate disaster zone. Worldwide, they are driven by increasing temperatures, drought in some nations, typhoons, floods and snow storms, and wildfires in others. Food production is greatly reduced also due to the loss of biodiversity and many species of insects and animals are going extinct. 

The Philippine archipelago is blessed with natural resources ideal for renewable energy production: sun, wind, geothermal, hydro, and biomass. They just need to be harnessed extensively to produce all the electricity needed for Filipinos to have low-cost electricity. 

Despite a law to encourage such investments (Republic Act No. 9513), progress is slow due to government corruption. It is alleged that some government regulatory agencies are denying permits and demanding payoffs. 

There are 28 coal-fired plants in the Philippines, many are somewhat new and the 25-year life span has a long way to go for most before they can be phased out and the investors get their money back with profit. New ones are on hold, thanks to the global and local outcry against more Philippine coal plants. 

To approve a new coal plant now after COP28 commitments would be a disaster for the reputation and trustworthiness of the Philippine government and the captains of Philippine industry among international investors. 

However, new deals to promote renewables and retire coal plants are through a new approach called The Coal to Clean Credit Initiative (CCCI). This is a new initiative by a group of experts and Ayala’s ACEN group of energy companies.

They are being advised and encouraged by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. ACEN will soon announce its progress in working out the world’s first coal-to-clean-energy project in the Philippines. May renewables increase three-fold and soon.

Irish Father Shay Cullen, SSC, established the Preda Foundation in Olongapo City in 1974 to promote human rights and the rights of children, especially victims of sex abuse. The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of LiCAS.news.

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