Energy market is shifting, but not because of UN climate conferences


National Post, 16 November 2017

It is devilishly difficult to predict the future of energy markets even a few years out, let alone a generation or two hence

COP23 wrapped up in Bonn this week, the annual jamboree for the international climate class. It’s an article of faith among them that man-made climate change is an apocalyptic threat. And it is a faith, much like Justin Trudeau recently praised the Governor General’s “faith in science.” There are true believers in lab coats too.

“COP” stands for Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The framework is now 25 years old, and the apocalypse is apparently closer than ever. So officials the world over convene every year to ratchet up the urgency. Bonn is the 23rd time they have done so. A few years back, Canada’s delegation to COP21 numbered in the hundreds.

Every so often the COPs conclude a big agreement on emission targets, as they did in Kyoto 1997 or in Paris 2015. Countries like Canada and the United States then ignore the targets. At COP23, the Trump administration was regularly denounced for saying that they would not meet their targets. Canada won’t, but doesn’t declare as much, which is how polite people do it.

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