The political class that trumpet global warming as the singular threat to life on earth, clearly hate the poor.
Their obsession with subsidising expensive and utterly unreliable wind and solar has already put electrical power out of the reach of the poorest in first world countries, and would, if they could, render it an exclusive preserve of the upwardly mobile and unseemly rich: ie, themselves.
The path out of poverty is always and everywhere about reliable and affordable energy. And entrenched poverty is best explained by its absence.
Want to know how important electricity is to modern life? Try living a comfortable and civilised life without it.
More than a billion humans struggle through daily life without access to power at all, and two billion more are limited to a meagre trickle because in developing countries it’s both unreliable and too expensive for all but the wealthy elites.
The wind and solar obsessed in the first world are quite prepared to ensure that it stays that way. With economic development agencies peddling ridiculously expensive solar panels – seen as ‘fake electricity’ by those lumbered with it – and forcing tinpot governments to sign up to costly and pointless wind and/or solar power schemes, the ratio of haves to have-nots is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
The relationship between economic development and reliable and affordable electricity is the subject of A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations, another seminal work by America’s leading energy market expert, Robert Bryce. Here he is again, outlining the contempt exhibited by a global elite towards the world’s poorest people.
At COP 26, Scant Mention Of Those Dying From Extreme Energy Poverty
12 November 2021
The defining inequality in the world today is the staggering disparity between the energy rich and the energy poor. That disparity came into gruesome focus yet again last week in Sierra Leone.
On November 5, while several thousand policymakers, researchers, and climate activists at the COP 26 meeting in Glasgow were trying to forge agreements on how to slash consumption of hydrocarbons, about 115 people were burned alive while trying to collect gasoline from a damaged fuel tanker truck near Sierra Leone’s capital city of Freetown.
According to the Washington Post, “People had crowded around the crash to collect leaking fuel when the tanker blew up, witnesses said. Anything spilled was viewed as wasteful in a community where many struggled to afford gas.” One witness described the scene, “dead bodies all around…There are people screaming, people burning alive.”
One witness said, “The firefighters came, but there was nothing they could do…The blaze was so much. There was nothing they could do to contain the inferno.”
Accidents like the one in Freetown are chillingly common. Since 2019, more than 400 people have died in accidents similar to the one in Freetown. The circumstances are almost always the same: a fuel tanker truck gets involved in an accident. Large crowds of desperate people assemble, excited about the prospect of free fuel. Then, due to an errant spark or a careless cigarette, the fuel is ignited and dozens of people are immolated.
These deaths — all of them — are deaths of extreme energy poverty. While energy elites insist we need to drastically reduce our use of coal, oil and natural gas, hundreds of millions of people are living in grinding energy poverty and they will do whatever they have to do to get the energy they need.
The disparities in global energy consumption are gobsmacking. Today, about 3.3 billion people are living in places where per-capita electricity use is less than what’s used by an average American kitchen refrigerator. All over the developing world, people die premature deaths due to indoor air pollution caused by the use of poor-quality cooking fuels.
The average African consumes about 15 times less energy than the average resident of North America. The situation in Sierra Leone, a small country on Africa’s west coast, is even more dire. Electricity use in Sierra Leone is so low that the World Bank doesn’t publish data for it. By my calculations, based on the country’s population of about 8 million, the average resident of the country uses less than 40 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. That is not a misprint. For comparison, the average resident of the U.S. consumes about 13,000 kilowatt-hours of juice per year, or about 300 times as much.
I’ve been collecting stories about death-by-immolation among the energy destitute. Here are a few of them.
In January 2019, in Hidalgo, Mexico, about 85 people were burned alive while trying to collect gasoline from a pipeline that had been illegally tapped. The Associated Press report on the accident was somber and elegiac. “The lure of free fuel was irresistible for many: They came like moths to a flame, parking vehicles on a nearby road.”
The report continued, “This particular section of pipeline had come back into service after being offline for nearly four weeks when somebody punctured the line again…Hundreds showed up at the spigot, carrying plastic jugs and covering their faces with bandanas. A few threw rocks and swung sticks at soldiers who tried to shoo them away. Some fuel collectors brought their children along…What ignited the gasoline, no one seems to know. After the explosion, soldiers formed a perimeter around an area the size of a soccer field where townspeople were incinerated by the fireball, reduced to clumps of ash and bones.”
In May 2019, in Niger, 76 people died after an overturned tanker truck exploded as crowds tried to collect spilled fuel.
In July 2019, in Nigeria, a similar accident killed at least 45. As reported by the BBC: “People had gathered around the crashed tanker after the crash, with some attempting to salvage fuel.”
In August 2019, about 64 people were killed in a similar accident in Tanzania. Per a news report, “People were trying to recover fuel from the vehicle, which had overturned on a major road, when it exploded.”
In July of this year, in Kenya, at least 13 people were killed in yet another accident. “People had rushed to the scene with jerrycans to siphon off fuel from the overturned tanker before it exploded.”
About a month later, in Lebanon, which is in the midst of an ongoing energy crisis, at least 28 people died when a fuel tank exploded. According to Reuters, the Lebanese army “had seized a fuel storage tank hidden by black marketeers and was handing out gasoline to residents when the explosion occurred.”
On Wednesday, at the COP 26 confab in Glasgow, a draft agreement was being circulated that called for “just transitions to net-zero emissions.” But the rhetoric doesn’t match the reality. Amid the never-ending talk about net-zero and bans on hydrocarbons, it’s essential to remember those 400 dead, those mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters in Sierra Leone, in Lebanon, Tanzania, Kenya, and elsewhere who were burned alive.
Those people didn’t die because of climate change. They died trying to get the fuel they need to live.
2 thoughts on “COP’s Compassion Deficit: Global Elite’s Monstrous Contempt for World’s Poorest”
Mike Shellenberger documents this well in “Apocalypse Never.” He remarks that the average African woman spends half her waking hours collecting and cutting wood, just to cook her family’s meals.
Preserving poverty isn’t limited to the third world.
Lyndon Johnson, Walter Reuther, and Sargent Shriver designed the Great Society. They started with stack-and-pack housing to concentrate drugs, crime, and poverty. Then they addicted poor families to welfare. Then they destroyed families with “No free stuff if there’s a man in the house.” This was not an accident. It was not an unforeseen consequence. It cannot be chalked up to incompetence, or simple stupidity. It was the same monstrous conspiracy to maintain poverty, for the benefit of the elites. They want their feudalism back.
As repeatedly shown, members of the ‘poor lower class’ are not stupid but without them and its maintenance there would be no elite ‘upper ruling class’. The structure is historic for the purpose of money transfer. RE, like the divine rights of kings, is a fallacious construct, designed to keep ‘them’ in their place; subservient.
What is interesting about RE is that gas, natural or coke generated, is being replaced by more expensive electric stoves – in the middle of cooking dinner your smart meter turns the power off – what a wonderful idea! Starve and freezing of the lower class.
Reference to the ‘first world’ has been irrelevent for years; those below being supported by the elites are superfluous to requirements, as they always have been.
I see no ships; I see no equality!