Christiana Figueres: Heavy Industry Dragging Down Green Progress

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, at the COP17 in Durban, South Africa, author UNClimateChange, source Wikimedia

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Paris Agreement Architect and Former UNFCCC head Christiana Figueres is disappointed at the ongoing failure of heavy industry to reduce their dependency on vast amounts of reliable energy.

INTERVIEW-Dirty industry undermines push to curb global warming – ex-UN climate chief

by Sophie Hares | @SophieHares | Thomson Reuters Foundation

Friday, 23 February 2018 16:45 GMT

“The United States is in a whopping collection of one country”

By Sophie Hares

TEPIC, Mexico, Feb 23 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Industry’s dependence on polluting fossil fuels is at odds with a “revolution” in transport and renewable energy, and could stop the world doing a crucial U-turn on rising emissions of climate-changing gases by 2020, a former U.N. climate chief warned.

We’re definitely not on track with everything to do with heavy industry that continues to depend on intense, high-carbon electricity, and we’re not on track with land use,” said Figueres, former executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“So what happens if we don’t get there is we increase our risk and increase the exposure to extreme weather events,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

A push by cities in the United States to join states and corporations in moving forward with action to tackle climate change is a counterbalance to President Donald Trump’s decision to pull his country out of the Paris deal, said Figueres.

The United States is in a whopping collection of one country, the only country in the world, that has said it would like to leave the Paris Agreement,” she said.

It has had a minimal impact internationally as no other country has decided to follow suit,” she added.

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I sympathise with Figueres.

You would think that if they put their minds to it, owners of say metal foundries would have found ways to process ore and melt metal which didn’t involve prodigious amounts of reliable energy, a solution more in tune with nature than all those dirty smelly factories, perhaps a smelting technique which involves concentrated positive thinking and a few wind turbines.

Clearly heavy industry bosses are just too lazy to think outside the box, to find the environmentally sensitive solutions our planet so desperately needs.

Update (EW): h/t Urederra Corrected Misspelling of Christiana’s name in the title and first paragraph

120 thoughts on “Christiana Figueres: Heavy Industry Dragging Down Green Progress

    • She knows without it she wouldn’t have a car to chaffuer her around in or 5 star hotels (contstuction industry) to stay in at the latest un conference or the planes that fly her there or the transportation industry that helps put food on her plate while she has dinners at these conferences aswell as the power stations to give her electricity for her overhead projector for her power point presentation. Perhaps she could help by staying home.

    • The only industry she knows about is industriously removing money from the rightful owners. Might be heavy lifting with the sacks of cash.

    • Figueres has no Skin in the Game. In fact, she has other peoples’ skin in the game.
      She, like so many of her cult, is more than willing to sacrifice your livelihood and conveniences for her agenda.
      It’s a difficult decision, but she’s a hero for being willing to make it. For you and the planet.

      • “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the industrial revolution,”
        “I am the daughter of a revolutionary and I feel very comfortable with revolutions,”
        Christina Figueres

    • It’s idiots like Figueres who have ensured our heavy industry has been outsourced to China, where environmental regulations are a lot more lax.
      End result more CO2 per unit of production.
      Out of sight, out of mind.
      Figueres certainly is out of her mind.

    • Ah, yes.
      Another “wise Latina”. We have one of those on the US Supreme Court.
      Reminded of the movie “Wise Guys”.

    • Do not bother, there is nothing there.
      I am still waiting for the flying car you could read about Popular Science.
      There will always be those who are interested in something but not interested enough to do the hard working to learn about the subject and then get practical experience.

      • Several years ago while attending a seminar held by NASA, a young bubbly 20ish woman was speaking and she commented. “When I was growing up I thought we’d have flying cars by now. What happened?”
        An older engineer in the audience quipped back, “Most people cannot navigate in 2 dimensions, we though it unwise to give then 3.”

    • “The West gains it’s prosperity by burning cheap coal so why should the developing nations be denied that right. It’s not fair.”
      Well here in the UK our swampy politicians have, over the years, ‘cleverly’ solved that problem by deindustrialising our economy using expensive, unreliable energy to do so. Now we are forced to buy things we used to make here from ‘developing’ countries like communist China which gets richer and more powerful while we get poorer and weaker, taking Britain from being the world’s predominate super power prior to World war one to where we are today.
      By the way, nice idea using coal burned per capita figures to compare the bad guys, the US, with the ‘good’ guys China. Slight problem though. How many people are there in China?
      Regarding electricity and food production note that coal produces not only cheap, reliable electricity but also a copious supply of natural plant fertiliser. Carbon dioxide.
      And if you’re telling us that carbon dioxide is a ‘pollutant’ because it will cause the Earth to warm to a measurable degree resulting in a climate crisis, next you’ll be telling us it’s a good idea to share cutting-edge technology with China!
      If Thorium-based energy really does turn out to be ‘cheaper than coal’ why the propaganda? Just get on with it and the market will do the rest.
      PS right now as the beast from the East kicks in here in the UK we could do with a little bit of that good old-fashioned global warming. I can’t wait for the winters to come once the modern grand solar minimum really gets going.

      • “Regarding electricity and food production – note that coal produces not only cheap, reliable electricity but also a copious supply of natural plant fertiliser. Carbon dioxide”
        Not only that, but “More than 75% of all concrete is made with fly ash”
        What will replace its beneficial properties (in the manufacture of all those wind turbine bases, for instance) if coal is eventually outlawed?

      • Yirgach. Every company will advertise that their new product is the best thing since sliced bread. The URL alone means I can’t trust anything they say.

      • There is a right way and a wrong way to burn coal. Large industrial plants with scrubbers and other advanced processes to eliminate sulfur and other emissions is the right way. Domestic burning, as in homes and other small scale applications, is what produced the heavy smog and soot that was harmful to health is the wrong way. Fortunately very little of the domestic burning is used today.

  1. I’m inviting Ms. Figueres to adopt a lifestyle that has zero dependence on the products of heavy industry. Cease and desist from any activity that involves any use of steel, concrete, aluminum, fiber optics, glass, or for that matter, since agriculture could be considered a heavy industry she should also rely on foraging and hunting in order to obtain food.

    • If someone would make that Reality show- I would pay big bucks to watch it!!
      We can call it “The Green Reality” Dump a dozen or so greenies into one of those remote parts of the world and video blog how long it is before they give up. Sort of like SurvivorMan without the skills.

      • Such baskets can be used to filter algae from the nearby river–there’s gotta be something to eat out there!

      • Make sure we do it some place where it gets cold in winter. They can grow food and collect firewood over the summer. Then we can place bets on what day the day of exposure, or just give up!

      • That is a best idea I have heard in a long time! Of course, you won’t get any volunteers, but it should be acceptable to force them (green bureaucrats) into participating in the show. I mean, they couldn’t complain about being forced in to doing something they don’t want to do. Could they?

      • Well, there is sort of such a show called NAKED AND AFRAID.
        I places 1 man and one woman in a remote isolated region of wilderness with only one cloth bag and one tool of their choosing…and nothing else. They then have to survive for 7 days before they move to the extraction point. But, they are survivalists not couch potatoes.
        It seems interesting until you realize there must be a camera crew there to record everything.
        Nope they certainly aren’t Les Stroud!

    • I take it that building wind or solar farms is not heavy industry.
      Cottage industry is fine but almost all require the input of the products of heavy industry, metals plastics, etc.

    • Perhaps putting her in a boat where her next meal is 100 miles away up wind, if there is any. And, of course the same for the next meal. —: might be a good idea.?

    • Indeed. I run across self proclaimed “nature warriors” “eco warriors” “whatever self congratulatory title” hypocrites on occasion. Quick to denounce the very things that make their lives possible, and give them a voice. There needs to be a catchy term for this particularly brainless hypocrisy.
      I have day dreamed of what a true “eco warrior” would have to be – all I can come up with is a really dirty, really hungry, practically naked, person roaming cross country (can’t use roads!) endlessly hunting and gathering.

    • She won’t get far without steel or bronze fastenings and a lead or iron keel. The world’s largest Viking ship is impressive. Wool and silk sails but modern safety gear to offset the original Vikings’ 50% survival rate on trips to Greenland and Newfoundland. A sobering statistic.

      • Such irony in the image of a woodsman harvesting timber to build Viking long ship… using a chainsaw.

    • Even wooden sailboats have stainless steel rigging and brass fittings.
      If you like working with wood, build a boat in your basement. If you like being out in nature with the wind in your face, a wooden hull is a bad choice.
      I keep my boat moored where the sailing is excellent. I drive there.

  2. Christina Figueres is a charter member of that rarified, international elite who believe it’s a moral imperative to bite the hands that feed you. Scoff at the “heavy industries” that provide your cheap food, refrigerators, textiles, earrings, wires, airplanes, roads, electricity, microphones, convention halls, and global media access. The UN chattering class’s job is to browbeat the rest of the world until we agree to reinstate mass peasantry, while you remain confident that the big shots will always be exempt from the poverty and heavy lifting you impose on others.

  3. ways to process ore and melt metal which didn’t involve prodigious amounts of reliable energy

    To wind up the fluffy little bunnies, why not just say:
    “ways to process metals that don’t involve energy”
    Similar at the top:

    the ongoing failure of heavy industry to reduce their dependency on vast amounts of reliable energy

    Make it:
    “the failure of industry to cease using energy”
    …….implication= “making things”
    IOW. Be disagreeable. Deliberately misunderstand them. Throw up chaff.
    Change the subject. Move the goalposts.
    After all, that’s exactly what they do.
    (Actually that’s the very basis of what is a ‘GSOH’ – something girls the world over are always on the look out for)
    Because, if they retort “Har har, dumbass skeptics now think we can make stuff without using energy, we knew they were dumb all along”
    Its then *them* that looks dumb because everyone knows that the skeptic position is that we *have* to use energy (to make stuff)
    The joke is on them and skeptics get the girls.

    • I believe that she has the argument on its head.
      It’s “renewable energies (and their acolytes) that are delaying and encumbering heavy industry”.

    • The failure to use pixie dust. Doesn’t this silly person realise that it takes energy to crush and melt ores.

  4. “The United States is in a whopping collection of one country” is in a whopping collection of its own – word salad. She’s been lying so much for so long that she can longer put her thoughts together coherently.

    • She goes on to say: “It has had a minimal impact internationally as no other country has decided to follow suit,”
      So I guess we didn’t need to be in the agreement anyway. So then why is it of any concern?

      • Figueres, in a moment of honesty, was quoted as saying: “It’s not about Global Warming, it’s about the destruction of Capitalism”
        IMHO Christina Figueres is Cruella Deville. Hide your Dalmations everybody.

      • More proof that it is all ‘symbolism over substance’ for the left. The US has withdrawn from the agreement, but is one of the few First World Countries that has actually surpassed its commitments under the agreement. Apparently it is more important to be signed on and failing, than to be doing your part but not in solidarity with the appropriate comrades.

  5. I just find it terrifying that this sort of malignant and dangerous ignorance finds a world stage to preach civilisation destroying nonsense on. This will end very badly and so far there seems to be little sign (apart from President Trump) of any world leader with the courage to face this all down.

    • “there seems to be little sign (apart from President Trump) of any world leader with the courage to face this all down.”
      Well, there were Harper and Abbott, for a while.

      • OK my apologies. But how few are willing to stand up in the political field compared to the brave scientists and activists in the climate realists ranks – people who put themselves and their careers at risk.

  6. Christina, talk less, act more.
    Just put your money (yours!) into some sort of intense, low-carbon electricity utility at similar price, and heavy industry will happily switch.
    Same for land use.
    I just hope you fail, so that CO2 concentration keeps rising until some downward trend in temperature occurs, which is bound to happen sooner or later. Then the theory will be proved wrong.

    • There already has been a downward trend of about 30 years, which led to the “We are heading into an ice age!” scare of the 1970s. Oddly enough, this was also the fault of CO2.

  7. The US is in a whopping collection of the only major economy that has reduced its emissions recently whilst the even more whopping collection of climate braggarts and alarmists like the EU , India and China have increased theirs.
    Is she not capable anymore of absorbing information. It happens to most of us eventually, unfortunately, but usually we are removed from positions of responsibility before we can do damage.

  8. I think the “global Warming” fraternity have achieved all they set out to do, haven’t they? It’s bloody cold in Britain and Europe. Even the Sahara Desert is covered in snow ! What more do they want? !!!!!

  9. Heavy industry needs to actually gear up MORE if they expect to achieve their clean energy plans with renewables. Wind takes 5X the concrete and steel required for a nuclear plant of similar capacity. Solar thermal is 10X. To build and then replace them will require concrete/steel production to go up by about 10%.

    • How dare you introduce facts, and meaningful cost comparisons? Are you trying to befuddle the Green Dogmatics?

  10. Clearly heavy industry bosses are just too lazy to think outside the box, to find the environmentally sensitive solutions our planet so desperately needs.
    From my collection of smart remarks and tag lines:

    Left-wing Liberal Democrats and the Main Stream media have no sense of numbers, science and reality. That’s why they think we can power the world’s economy on wind mills, solar panels, and squirrel cages.

  11. Actually she is referring to electrical power so this would not be a smelt but rather an electric arc furnace. As the point of gravity of steel production and heavy industry is shifting to Asia, the US power consumption in the heavy industry should shrink. What land use is she referring to? And what revolution in transport?, Do we have solar ships and airplanes? Wind powered railroads?

  12. A sister of the Marx Brothers. The UN won’t be happy until the world’s population is reduced to the lowest common denominator and they are in control.

  13. i think it likely Ms Figueres knows better, but believes her intended audience doesn’t. Contempt for the lumpenproletariat is common in her social group, and thus far, she has gotten away with her pronouncements.

  14. Australia tried using unreliable green energy in a smelting operation. As I remember from one of Jo Nova’s posts, when the power failed, the aluminum hardened in the pot, throwing workers out of a job for months, and causing huge losses, since once hardened, it cannot be remelted. So add the cost of huge backup diesel generators to the cost of metal smelting, and presto – the industry and the jobs go elsewhere (to another of what Ms. Figueres sees as unreasonable and backward, uncaring countries).

  15. Does this count as heavy industry?……
    WSJ today
    Miners in Indiana and other states are getting a small lift from global markets: American companies are shipping more coal to Europe and Asia, helping to stop the years long drop in the number of U.S. mining jobs.
    The latest job increase runs counter to the long-term decline in coal used to generate electricity in the U.S., as coal-fired power plants are closed in favor of plants that burn cheap, abundant and cleaner natural gas.
    Exports of U.S. thermal coal used by utilities rose 117% to 42 million tons last year. That more than offset the 11-million-ton decline in coal used at U.S. power plants, which fell to 667.5 million tons last year, from 678.6 million tons in 2016. Coal accounted for 30% of U.S. electricity generation in 2016, compared with nearly 34% for natural gas.
    The stronger export market is translating into a bump in coal-mining jobs. Last year, coal companies added about 1,200 jobs, a trickle compared with the 60,000 workers who lost mining jobs between 2011 and 2016.

  16. I note with interest that in her broadside about lack of US actions on the climate accord, that she omits the fact that the US is one of the few major industrialized country to reduce its carbon footprint, without the force of government or Paris treaty. Maybe she could convince Germany to investigate how we did it, or maybe she’ll just sprout wings.

    • So they want to use the ‘threat’ of a warmer, more benevolent climate to destroy the most benevolent form of an economic system, in order to achieve a colder climate with an economic system that has a 100% failure rate, and produced the greatest amount of poverty and human rights abuses the world has ever known.

  17. Exxon (and the other giant corporations) has a common interest with Russia in keeping the public unaware of the fact, that abundant, cheap energy is already available, in the form of ‘Fast breeder reactors’.See the documentary ‘Pandoras promise’,
    Has its own website, where you can learn more,
    If you are so inclined.

  18. “the only country in the world, that has said it would like to leave the Paris Agreement,”
    What about all those countries that never joined in the first place?
    What about all those countries that joined but aren’t required to do anything more than countersign the checks they are given?

  19. “You would think that if they put their minds to it, owners of say metal foundries”
    Christina and the other greens consider themselves to be the “idea” people.
    They come up with big ideas, then it’s up to the little people to figure out how to implement these big ideas.
    And if the little people can’t figure that out, then they just go out and get themselves some new little people.

    • Aesop had a fable about such fools.
      Its far easier to say “just put a bell on the cat” than to actually do it.
      We have a saying in our engineering circles regarding such ignorant ideas stemming from morosophs, they are called “bell the cat solutions”. Usually they are uttered with such disdain and begin with “All you need to do is…” with no ideas on how such a thing could be accomplished.

  20. Figueres is like many in the environmental movement: They believe industrial improvements are just a matter of passing a new law that requires something to happen. A significant fraction of modern Western countries really are that out of touch with what makes the world go round, and how we got here.

    • I’ve had more than one electric car enthusiast tell me that the perfect battery could be achieved within a decade if only they could get congress to pass a law requiring battery companies to make one.
      There’s also the case of refineries being fined for failing to use a chemical that nobody made.

  21. Now there is a woman whose ‘ carbon footprint’ went up to scale of a small town when she got her green job. So much time did she spend in the air if was not for the first class travel and five star hotels, it would be hard to see how she got any work done.

  22. “It has had a minimal impact internationally as no other country has decided to follow suit,” she added.
    She and her peeps were expecting US to pay for their party. They are really worried about it now. They know the Euros arms are too short to reach their wallets, and the Chinese do not give money to white people.

  23. If this nasty person got her way, and the citizens of the developed world could no longer afford to contribute to the tourist and free trade areas of Costa Rica, her family would quickly understand what the french aristocracy went through.
    Be careful what you wish for christina. The world economy you are fighting for is the exact opposite of sustainable.

  24. Well luv you could cut out the unnecessary metal earring adornments and replace the glass with a coconut shell or gourd and then you can start getting to work on the synthetic clothing and speaking of getting to work…

  25. I do recall that at the United Nations she actually said that she didn’t care if global warming was real, she just wanted the redistribution of wealth.

    • Charlie,
      I have heard similar but can’t recall where and when. Do you have the accurate quote or is it just what Tom in Denver quotes above.

  26. “It has had a minimal impact internationally as no other country has decided to follow suit,” she added.
    What’s she worried about then?

  27. Christina’s exit from the scene was a move that will be gathering momentum now that the US has pronounced on the silliness of this lemming thought process. At the moment they are all stunned into relative silence (The real manifestation of psychological Dеиуаl). The cities and states and industries indeed aren’t overturning Trumps policies. They are doing what they do until it costs them something -offering half hearted words. Maybe waiting for mid terms to see if democrats got game. The fat lady is running through her scales and waiting for the lights to go up.
    The researchers are re-researching the old warming chestnuts because there is nothing else they can do, particularly with shrinking funds for doing it and a palpable loss of heart for the game. Research that unravels the decades of confident huffery puffery is allowed to eat away at the edifice. The critical crisis being faced is existential for the old guard.

  28. I only rhetorically ask what is it about these efite elites that disdain the very industry that makes their life so incomparably superior than anything ever before. A complete detachment from the real world, flying between luxury hotels and condos in metropolitan cities on their private jets.
    They make me reach – for the pitchfork.

  29. Heavy industry needs reliable 24/7 power, as we saw with the South Australia blackout. The iron in smelting furnaces cooled and set solid, rendering the furnaces useless for future use.

  30. I wonder whether Figueres and the other Green dreamers who are so gung-ho about switching to alternate energies realize that to build just a single 5MW windmill requires more than 1000 tons of steel and cement, both of which are produced with the use of fossil fuels? Stanford economists estimate than in order to transition to totally renewable global energy sources would need 8.3 million of these machines besides hundreds of square miles of solar panels and much more investment in hydro dams and nuclear plants. Iron ically, the Greens are the ones most vehemently opposed to the last two, which are currently by far the most reliable of the renewables. Mind you, practicality and reality have never been the long suits of the environmentalists.

  31. “I am the daughter of a revolutionary and I feel very comfortable with revolutions,”
    Christina Figueres
    The tens or hundreds millions victims of the revolutions were much less confortable with the revolutions than you are, Mrs Figueres.

  32. China waiting with open arms and a free pass to belch CO2 with gay abandon.
    Europeans deserve to be stripped of their heavy industries for voting in politicians that support the UN and EU.
    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of idiots!

  33. BREAKING: US forecast to be world’s top oil producer by next year | TheHill
    if Trump goes ahead with plans to transform America into a fossil fuel hyperpower. Mann warns that by 2020 the climate crisis will reach the tipping point of no return where the climate will be chaotic and broken beyond repair; and the forces unleashed in the atmosphere will doom the earth to SIXTH EXTINCTION HELL..

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