COP26 officially ended this weekend with progressives blasting the final agreement for watering down language intended to phase out coal. The Cop26 Coalition called the deal an “utter betrayal” while a Guardian columnist called it a “suicide pact.”
Yet, for far-left climate activists, their disappointment at COP26 may give way to disaster. A looming energy crisis in Europe, inflation in the U.S. and a policy renaissance on the right could mark a turning point in the debate about climate change and reverse a three-decade trend that has seen progressive voices dominant the climate conversation.
In Europe, the green transition has encountered a cold reality that intermittent energy sources like wind and solar still need the support of continuous baseload power sources like coal, gas and nuclear. One problem for Europe is natural gas prices are six times higher than they were last year. Meanwhile, Europe is increasingly relying on Russian natural gas which is significantly dirtier than American natural gas. This policy isn’t just bad for the environment but extremely dangerous from a national security perspective. Europe’s energy policy is now indirectly financing Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s border.
Europe has handed Vladimir Putin a powerful form of leverage. Bloomberg reports that “Just a few major pipelines stand between hundreds of millions of people in the European Union and total energy collapse. This vast and—for now, at least—stubbornly indispensable infrastructure carries a dark secret into the heart of what’s supposed to be the first continent to reach the post-fossil fuel era.”
Europe’s carbon emission shell game that is designed to pacify “green” activists at home while shifting carbon emissions abroad is unraveling. This winter, it will be hard for a progressive movement that prides itself on advancing environmental justice to remain credible if its policies are increasing energy prices for poor people and enriching regimes dedicated to oppressing people. And, in the U.S., it will be even harder for far-left members Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to convince their colleagues that the U.S. needs to “catch up” to a European approach that isn’t working.
If Europe’s woes weren’t enough to thwart the American left’s ambition for a Green New Deal, Senator Joe Machin (D-WV) again stalled that agenda last week by sounding the alarm on inflation. Machin tweeted, “By all accounts, the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not ‘transitory’ and is instead getting worse.”
Fortunately, Republicans aren’t merely positioning themselves to capitalize on progressive failure but are wisely advancing principled solutions. COP26 featured a strong Republican delegation that included Representative John Curtis (R-UT), chair of the Conservative Climate Caucus, Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Garret Graves (R-LA) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA). These members traveled to Glasgow to strengthen the bonds between conservative leaders abroad in counties like the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and others.
The same day former President Barack Obama said he welcomes “any faction within the Republican party in the United States that takes climate change seriously” C3 Solutions was hosting a Climate and Freedom Symposium that included senior Republicans in the U.S. and conservatives abroad. We’re grateful for Obama’s welcome and would encourage him to read British Parliamentarian Liam Fox’s speech at our symposium.
For progressives, winter may be coming. But for conservatives who have recommitted themselves to policies that work in the real world, such as innovation and economic freedom, it may soon be morning again in not just America but the world.