Expensive Climate Policies Sparked Chile Riots and #COP25 climate conference cancellation

From the unintended consequences department. The COP25 climate conference in Santiago Chile was cancelled, and now moved at the last minute to Madrid, Spain.

By: James Taylor

Climate activists and the United Nations are suffering a major black eye this week as protests and riots resulting from high energy prices have erupted in Santiago, Chile.

Chile, which will host a major U.N. climate conference in December, earned praise from climate activists for recently imposing a carbon dioxide tax on conventional energy sources and switching the Santiago Metro system to renewable power. Now, the people of Chile are rising up and firing a shot across the bow of other nations considering similar energy taxes and expensive renewable energy programs.

On Oct. 25, protestors took to the streets throughout Santiago in response to Metro fare hikes. The protests soon spread to other cities and led to rioting and at least five reported deaths. The Chilean government and the legacy media blamed the fare hikes on rising oil prices. But that isn’t true.

Oil prices aren’t rising. Global oil prices are currently 25 percent lower than they were a year ago and 37 percent lower than they were five years ago.

In Chile, gasoline prices reflect the lower oil prices. Chilean gasoline prices were $1.12 per liter in August (the most recent month for which data are available), compared to $1.28 a year ago. Five years ago, gasoline sold at $1.50.

Santiago Metro fares are rising, amid falling oil and gasoline prices, because government officials in 2018 traded out most of the Metro’s energy sources to wind and solar power from conventional sources. The Chilean government also hit the portion of conventional power that remains with new carbon dioxide taxes.

As a result, Chileans are now burdened by higher Metro fares reflecting unnecessary energy price increases. As Chileans protest, climate activists and their media allies want people to believe oil is to blame, rather than government climate programs that raise energy prices and impoverish people.

Unlike speculative climate change woes that never seem to materialize, carbon dioxide taxes and renewable energy mandates immediately and measurably raise living costs and reduce living standards. In the United States, people may have some concern about climate change, but polling shows most Americans aren’t willing to pay $2 per month to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

In Chile, where per-capita income is merely one-quarter of U.S. per-capita income, people are understandably even less willing to pay for carbon dioxide reduction. Moreover, Chile’s per-capita income is higher than that of most other Latin American countries, so people in other Latin American countries would be even more likely to rise up and protest economically destructive climate change programs like the ones imposed in Chile.

For United Nations officials planning the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) climate conference, scheduled for the first two weeks of December in Santiago, the protests are especially embarrassing. Last year’s U.N. conference took place in Poland, where government officials and the prominent Solidarity labor union have criticized costly U.N. climate programs. Solidarity even held a press conference at the U.N. event and issued a joint statement criticizing U.N. climate activism.

The December U.N. conference was originally scheduled for Brazil, but the Brazilian government strongly criticized U.N. climate activism and told the United Nations it no longer desired to serve as host.

The Chilean government offered to host in Brazil’s place, touting its carbon dioxide taxes, renewable-powered metro, and other activist climate programs. Yet, the world is seeing the Chilean population rioting in the streets as a result of those taxes and climate programs. This is the third major black eye for the U.N. Conference of the Parties in less than a year.

The Chilean protests, like the Yellow Vest protests that erupted in France a year ago, highlight how out of touch the international climate class is with the people they seek to govern and control. Faced with a choice between suffering certain lower living standards today or dealing with speculative climate change in the distant future, people wisely choose the latter.

That will continue to be the case until predicted climate harms actually materialize and negatively affect people, or until wind and solar power can economically compete with conventional energy. So far, neither has been the case.


James Taylor (JTaylor@heartland.orgis the director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute.

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41 thoughts on “Expensive Climate Policies Sparked Chile Riots and #COP25 climate conference cancellation

  1. Now That the jamboree has moved to Spain what will the silly little Swedish girl do? Not enough time to charter that boat.

  2. You’re right about the bus fare hike starting the riots, James Taylor. The bus fare hike was due to conversion of power sources and the masses didn’t care, they just didn’t want to pay more, especially, as you noted, petrol prices are basically down. I live in Argentina and am watching both Argentine and Chilean TV channels where they interview rioters live in the street. The two main themes stated by the rioters is a demand for “economic equality”, wherein those with more give to those with less, and retirement security, where the retirement programs aren’t providing enough money to continue their lifestyle. Chile has a culture close to USA and Canada, and this whole mess is quite alarming, ie, it could come to downtown New York City, and sometime soon.

    • Explains why Socialist AOC helped to run-off the 15,000 good paying jobs an Amazon HQ2 would have brought to her district. People living independent of government assistance tend to be independent politically.
      Socialists like AOC, Bernie, and Pocahontas are arsonist-firefighters. Their governance policies bring the economic conditions in order to light the fires of poverty and despair that they then want to be seen as riding to rescue to solve with gobs of OPM.

  3. You should be aware that at least some of the main-stream media have reported that the Chilean riots were due to income inequality and climate protestors (those protesting that government is not doing enough to combat climate change). I took their reporting with a grain of salt, as it seemed to me that protesters were protesting increased taxes and higher prices for commodities and energy due to the “climate tax”more than anything.

    • I’m Chilean and 99% of people here not even think about the climate change issue in the protests. Yes, there are some environmental activitists scattered around saying “the climate crisis is also a social crisis” or something like that, but they are tiny minority. Most people are protesting against inequality, the insane cost of living compared to wages, the pension system, etc. The only thing related to the environment that is kind of big is the water issue – we’re going through a drought – but not because of climate change, but because we know that huge agri-busissness and mining enterprises outright steal water, and hence have dried rivers and reservoirs…so it’s also to do with inequality, not climate.

      • Hello from Europe, could you please confirm (and even better to provide some reliable source (even in Spanish, hail to the google translator!)) that recent Santiego metro fare hike was substantially or at least non-marginally caused by efforts to move to renewable energy sources? I was unable to find any reliable source in English to confirm it. Links provided in the article seems too indirect and regarding the link about proposed transition of metro energy sources to renewable it is from 2017 and there is not much to be found about current state. As Chilean I guess you have much better insight and I would be thankful if you share it with us. Thanks a lot.

    • . . . and Jay Inslee, WA’s governor, tried to run for POTUS on the one trick pony
      of “CO2 has got to go – ho, ho”, with nary another idea for the Country.
      He promptly tanked.

  4. Why is there nothing on Australian news channels about the Chilean and Dutch (and other) protesters when they are anti-CAGW taxes? plenty of coverage for XR and the like.

    Our news outlets are complaining loudly at the moment about freedom of information from government yet they are allowed to filter the news that they send out that promotes a particular point of view.

      • yup
        and while antisocial media is my pet loathe.posting there is one way to get it seen
        until they remove the posts as…whatever excuse de jour thay can make up
        I have friends i send a lot of wuwt and other to to post there to keep stuff from being vanished as much as I can

    • It’ looks like Australia is going to have laws framed to put limits around protests that target disruption as there main goal. They are talking about needing permits if you are going to have a protest interfere with public access and limits on how many times a protest cause can access those permits. So they are trying to strike a balance between right to protest and right for protest not holding everyone hostage.

      Australia laws are framed as what you can’t do, you have no “rights” as such, except where Australia has signed treaties or is specifically granted by the Australian law. So these sorts of law are not as problematic as they would be in trying to implement in the USA where you have a bill or rights.

      • Your first paragraph, if implemented sensible, would make sense. A similar law has been active in Denmark since eons. It make sense because the police needs to protect both the protesters’ march and the regulate the traffic. Thus the route and time table needs to be known beforehand. An issue would first arise, if the authorities are biased against certain protests.

        Your second paragraph, reminds me about Sweden. Danes call Sweden “The Land of Prohibition”, so some people have suggested all new laws should emphasize what is allowed, assuming if it is not stated as allowed, it is prohibited.

        • Yes but how many of these protesters will front up with the permit costs? It could be set at such a high rate, so as to fund policing etc, that it will deter protests. I say, bring it on. We have so many laws for this and that that we CAN’T do and fees/fines aplenty.

    • thats a rhetorical Q isnt it John?
      we know damned well why!
      just like theyre pretty much ignoring Assange too,
      theough lid-dip to adel news who are running items on his issues

      I was chuckling hearing scomo sounding like he just woke up to the blackmail being used by Avaaz exreb greenpeas getup and the rest to harass the crap outta banks and investment cos to pull support from miners industry etc they want to get rid of
      the income from which is what PAYS a large chunk of our social security which they rely on to eat
      Ive been emailing their campaigns TO pollies for the last couple of yrs as a wake the f up call…
      bloody sloooow learners that mob

  5. The Chilean unrest is a counter attack by communists allied with the Castro and Maduro dictatorships. They are taking apart the coalition known as Grupo de Lima, which was trying to unseat Maduro via diplomatic pressures. They naively thought hard core communists would leave office without the application of force. So the cancer we saw originated in Havana, conquered Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. Chile is tottering, and Mexico may also cross into some sort of communism. Even the US is in danger as neocons and the Deep State keep getting stuck in Middle East quagmires and fail to see the enemy is at the gates, and quite a few quislings are already inside.

  6. “Chile, which will host a major U.N. climate conference in December, earned praise from climate activists for recently imposing a carbon dioxide tax on conventional energy sources and switching the Santiago Metro system to renewable power. Now, the people of Chile are rising up and firing a shot across the bow of other nations considering similar energy taxes and expensive renewable energy programs.”

    “Faced with a choice between suffering certain lower living standards today or dealing with speculative climate change in the distant future, people wisely choose the latter.

    Of course here in the USA, the GreenSlimers like Bloomberg and their Democratic Party lackeys are also going after the 2nd Amendment in anticipation of a Carbon Tax Civil War/War on the Middle Class if the Democrats ever gain super-majority political power at the Federal level like they have in California and Illinois politics.

    The only way to stop that is to stop that is at the ballot box before it happens. Once they get that power, they will alter election laws, forbid ID checks at voting polls, which will effectively open voting to anyone in the US, and do everything they can to subvert the Electoral College process for the Presidency, and pack the Supreme Court with 4 additional enabling liberal Justices.

    Tell your family, friends, and neighbors this coming Holiday Season when you see them: If they think the idea of $6-$10/gal gas and 2x to 3x electricity bills are okay, and political correctness and homelessness run amok like in Cal, then vote D. But if the thought of that life-style crushing energy costs and homeless crisis in their city/town disturbs them, then (even if they have to hold their nose) vote for Trump and GOP who will stop the Democrats economic destruction plans.

    • Pointing at California could be quite effective.

      The newish Conservative premier of Ontario (Canadian province) made some unpopular cuts. In the recent federal election, the Liberals kept pointing at the cuts in Ontario and saying, the federal Conservatives will do exactly that if they are elected. It seemed to work. The festering garbage piles in SF and LA should receive maximum publicity. Vote Democrat if you want to live in a third world country.

      The other thing that should be pounded is the incompetent forest management practices that have half the state of California burning up. Vote Democrat if you want your house incinerated.

      The Democrats are good at selling unicorns. Folks need to know about the tons of unicorn dung that entails. There are lots of Democrat failures since the middle of the 20th century. In fact, we can now accuse the Democrats of war mongering. link

    • “Once they get that power, they will alter election laws, forbid ID checks at voting polls, which will effectively open voting to anyone in the US”

      Yup. And another thing they’ll do is start persecuting conservative and conservative speech. For instance, WUWT could be shut down.

      We need to fight fire with fire and beat them to the punch. This is a Republic not a “pure democracy.” We must counter the excessive influence of the rat infested semi-literate urban areas.

  7. Ironically, Chile has had a very large cold marine temperature anomaly sitting offshore for well over a year. Its probably longer but I can.t find the 2018 record. It has been particularly stable and persistent, although there are now signs of dissipation. The equatorial zone has suddenly changed from cold to neutral-warm lately too.

    https://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2019/anomnight.10.31.2019.gif

    Reports are that late frosts have had a significant impact on crops, including viticulture, in Chile and Argentina.

    I regularly follow the SST anomaly charts as it is important in my island nation (NZ). Right now we sit in a pool of cold water which gave us a cold September. Odds are October will be likewise. Take a look at NZ in January last. A big blob of warm sits in the Tasman sea. My goodness didn’t that fill some MSM columns.

    The only reference to the current situation I see from the same crowd was that sea temperatures are cool right now – no beautiful images of a red blob that has turned blue. If they had bothered to follow the charts they would have seen a cold anomaly creeping northward from the Southern Ocean month by month. I made a prediction that it would reach us in a news comment section relating to the warm blob hysteria. Off course it was not published.

    This was in the online Stuff network. They no longer accommodate comments on their climate stories as most were skeptical i.e. from the ignorant masses who refuse a modern liberal education in which we are told what to believe – for our own good.

    M

  8. “This is the third major black eye for the U.N. Conference of the Parties in less than a year.” The UN propaganda machine is leaving the “undeniable existential threat” phase of their AGW scam and entering the “now give me your money to protect you” phase and it isn’t going as planned. Once again, the everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die reality slaps them in the face. The UN bold plan to take over the world isn’t going to work because they bit off more than they can chew. For now. Unless the world gets more vigilant about the Marxist/Socialist threat to their lifestyles they may just one day succeed.

  9. It may be a good thing that COP25 comes to a more northerly latitude, although Svalbard would have been better. If we are lucky, the the Goreeffect may come to Madrid in December 2019.

  10. I’m surprised we don’t have similar protests here in California. We’re paying $4 per gallon for gas, while in other parts of the country, it’s less than $2.50 per gallon. We’re paying about twice as much for electricity and natural gas. We have among the highest income and sales taxes and on top of that, there’s a severe vagrant problem, an illegal immigrant problem and yet since so many wealthy people still want to live here, housing prices are through the roof, although this helps me since my protest is to leave.

    Perhaps more protests will come once more Californians realize they’ve been lied to for decades and that high energy prices resulting from ‘green energy’ are not for the greater good, moreover; the economic harm strangling progress is the actual political goal and that this cuts across many ‘progressive’ policies.

  11. It would be helpful if electricity prices for this year and last year could be posted so we can understand the issue better.

  12. Where’s Greta (not Waldo/Wally)? Wasn’t she supposed to be going to this conference travelling overland? I assume she’s probably sneaking back in disguise on SAS to Stockholm

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