Ø Christopher Monckton of Brenchley reports from the first Russian Cities’ Climate Forum in Moscow
The Al Gore Effect wasn’t working. Instead of the snow and frost that usually accompanies global warming conferences, the sun was shining brightly and the temperature was north of 100 °F. Inside the lofty, Tuscan-Doric Manège in the shadow of the Kremlin, where entire Imperial cavalry regiments had once exercised their horses, it was cool, for its Spanish architect had known how to keep a building cool without artificial air-conditioning. You want Green buildings? Ask a Classical architect. We get taught how to keep the air circulating.
Russians won’t be taken for a ride: The Imperial Riding School, Moscow
The Manège, now used as an exhibition space, is a remarkable building 600 ft long by 150 ft wide, with the roof ingeniously constructed so that it requires no internal support across the entire span. However, instead of the 2000-strong mounted regiment that once exercised there, there were 2000 representatives of city governments from all parts of Russia, pestered by the usual assortment of overfunded profiteers of doom from the West.
What the Western climate Communists had not appreciated, however, is that, totalitarianism-wise, Russia has been there, done that and gotten the tee-shirt. It would not be fair to name anyone from the tired gathering of pietistic fatheads from enviro-fascist groups at the conference, for the truth is that – greatly to their surprise – they found that they and their vicious notions of total State control and 100% enforced “renewables” at five or six times the market price for proper electricity were not in the least welcome.
On the first day, I attended a plenary session at which, one after another, several members of the Russian Academy of Sciences stood up and presented scientific results demonstrating that the “science” – if one can call it that – is not “settled”; that every major aspect of the climate Communist Party Line is in doubt; that the doubt is sufficient to require that Russian cities should not gallop towards the insane policies that most scientifically-illiterate Western countries had been feeble-minded enough to espouse; and that, in any event, the cost of the Party Line was so excessive as to be unaffordable.
The biggest cheer of the day went to the formidable Academician Nigmatulin, a redoubtable 75-year-old veteran of the Communist regime, who, in a thunderous sergeant-major’s parade-ground yell, brought the audience to its feet with his peroration to the effect that “The problem for Russia is not global warming. It is profiteering priests of the new religion, bloated bureaucrats and dithering democrats.”
The “new religion,” of course, was the naïve belief in catastrophic manmade global warming. The “bloated bureaucrats” were those who have profited by vastly expanding their empires through carbon accounting, power-price rigging and environmental over-regulation.
But what was this about “dithering democrats?” I asked another academician, who had better remain nameless. “Ah,” I was told, “many of us feel that in the days of Communism, for all its faults, the regime understood the importance of funding fundamental science, and we are not sure that the current administration has the same understanding.”
The Russian Academy is housed in a monstrous concrete tower in the center of Moscow. The academician told me Mr Putin wanted to take it over and use it as offices for the rapidly-expanding administration of the federal government, but that he had found he could not do so without primary legislation in the Duma because Stalin had donated the building to the Academy as an outright and irrevocable gift.
In a few weeks’ time, the Academy will be holding perhaps the most crucial elections since its foundation. There are two main factions: those who believe the Academy should stand up to the Federal government and insist on proper funding for theoretical science, and those who believe that its only hope of survival is to accommodate itself to the wishes of the current administration.
Most of the academicians, however, were agreed that global warming was nothing like the problem it had been made out to be. In a round-table session on whether “renewable” energy was a good idea, an earnest Western climate Communist (“I’m a climate scientist, you know, really”) who had until recently been in charge of the Paris climate agreement under the unlamented redistributist Cristiana Figueres, lectured the academicians on the need for cities like Moscow to adopt “100% renewables”.
Academician Krilov, sitting directly across from this reptilian bureaucrat, looked at him as if he had crawled out from under a stone (which, in a very real sense, he had). “Let me make it clear”, he said, “that just 3% of Moscow’s electric power comes from ‘renewables’, and the cost of that small percentage has proven to be disproportionate. We do not propose to punish our population by an unduly rapid expansion of needlessly costly methods of generation.”
Powerhouse of learning: the Russian Academy of Sciences [synthart.livejournal.com]
From my end of the round table, I delivered the body-blow to the eco-Communist. “Does the panel not agree with me that ‘renewable’ energy has four mutually-reinforcing problems: low energy density, high cost per TWh delivered, intermittency, and very high environmental damage per TWh generated?”
Academician Krilov nodded vigorously. Next to him, Dr Kulbachevsky, the head of the Moscow environment department, did his best to keep a straight face.
The reptilian Communist blurted out that fossil fuels caused environmental damage too – Deepwater Horizon, coal-dust pollution, blah, blah. I cut him off. “The internationally accepted economic metric,” I said, “is the cost of environmental damage done per terawatt-hour generated. On that basis, ‘renewables’ are – by an extravagant margin – the dirtiest methods of generating power on the planet. Birds and bats smashed out of the sky by windmills (14th-century technology to solve a 21st-century non-problem), or fried by solar collectors; vast acreages of pristine landscape irrevocably destroyed; savage working conditions for lithium miners in Tibet and the Congo, about which nearly every Western Communist pressure-group is tellingly silent; entire water-tables polluted for thousands of square miles with the acid leachate from the lithium-extraction process; landscapes festooned with needless power cables; fatal floods killing tens of thousands as hydro-electric dams fail. No one but a madman would advocate 100% ‘renewables’, or even 1%.”
Academician Krilov nodded again. This time, there was also just the trace of nod, and almost the trembling hint of a wink, from the impressively impassive Dr Kulbachevsky. The reptile from the UNFCCC slithered out and slunk away, never to be seen again. He knew he – and the UN’s Communist empire-builders – were, for once, well and truly beaten.
Next, I was invited to attend and speak at a round-table discussion on the implementation of the UN’s ghastly “sustainable-development goals” in cities. I started by sounding a warning about the temptation to scatter taxpayers’ money to the winds without counting the cost on the specious ground that any money spent on making global warming go away must be money well spent. I gave the striking example of the London free-bicycle scheme, which had been introduced by the then Communist mayor, Ken Livingstone. The capital cost alone, I said, had been so huge that each of the 5000 bicycles that had been put on to the streets had cost $26,000. Considering how few people actually used the bicycles, it would have been cheaper to give each of them a Rolls Royce and a chauffeur.
This point struck home. For Moscow had recently introduced a copycat bike scheme, with costly and ugly docking stations, and armies of polluting trucks daily transporting the cycles from where they had been left to where the bureaucracy guessed they might be wanted next. The emissions from the trucks, on their own, comfortably exceed the emissions saved by the small number of cycle journeys undertaken on the scheme’s machines.
Hot onions: St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, basks in rare 100 °F warmth
I was followed by yet another blithering Western Communist, who had set up his own pressure group, entirely funded by taxpayers, of course, to advance the destruction of the hated capitalist West via the environmentalist back door using global warming as the chief pretext. He was horrified that the organizers of the Moscow conference had been open-minded enough to have all those skeptics from the Academy and even from overseas giving speeches suggesting that there might be any question at all about the Party Line. After my surgical, ten-minute presentation, he waffled for 25 minutes about the need to ensure that women and people of every race took their full part in environmental decision-making.
He was still at it when I left to attend a spectacular evening of Classical music under an energetic and dazzlingly competent 25-year-old conductor at the city opera house. As I left the conference, most of the audience had gone to sleep, and the few who were still awake were reading their emails on their cellphones.
At Western climate conferences, one expects outbursts and demonstrations from climate Communists. At the Moscow conference, there was only one outburst, right at the beginning, and that was from a young Muscovite who pointed out to the Mayor, who was giving his civic welcome at the time, that the world was not warming at anything like the predicted rate.
One further indication of how Russia – at every level – is resisting the blandishments of those whom Roy Spencer has justly described as the “climate Nazis” came when I gave my own plenary presentation, in which I said that a strikingly elementary error of science, first perpetrated 120 years previously, had led to absurd exaggerations of the amount of warming to be expected from doubled CO2 concentration.
So simple was the error that I was able to describe it to the full satisfaction of the audience in just ten minutes. Before going to the conference, I had expected to receive the usual rough ride. Yet I got the only standing ovation of the conference, and the ovation came – startlingly – from the young people who were present.
Afterwards, I asked a couple of them why they had been pleased with what I had said. “Well,” said one of them, “you were the only Westerner who sounded as though you knew what you were talking about, and you gave us the only positive speech of the entire conference. Though we are too young to know what living under Communism was like, we have heard your Western Communists and how they believe in the system that failed so cruelly here, and we do not like the way they are using the environmental movement to disguise their hatred of capitalism and to advance a purely political agenda calculated to harm Russia.” Spot-on, on all counts.
I was astonished. One has become so inured to the relentless indoctrination of young people in our own schools and universities that it was a glorious delight to discover that in former Communist countries such as Russia that dismal species of totalitarianism, even when artfully dressed up in environmentalist fig-leaves, no longer holds the slightest attraction for young people. What they want, whether the UN likes it or not (and it doesn’t), is a climate of freedom. And, if the speeches of the Academicians are anything to go by, they’re going to get it. Climate Communism? Ex-Communist Russia just isn’t buying.