By Ben O'Rourke
November 6, 2021
It’s that time of year again when world leaders, celebrities, and truant student Greta Thunberg gather to remind Earthlings they’re killing the planet.
I’m here in Glasgow at the COP26 (UKCOP26.org) because it’s that time of year again when world leaders, celebrities, and truant student Greta Thunberg gather to remind Earthlings they’re killing the planet and must give up more liberties to save it. They, and influential billionaires, are jetting into Glasgow, Scotland, to deliver this message. How dare anyone challenges them?
President Joe Biden is one of those aforementioned as he demands Americans pay more tax, stop using planes, and shell out more dollars for gas and unreliable renewable energy.
Here in Alaska, the loss of thousands of jobs has been the carnage after Biden canceled President Trump’s oil drilling licensure plan.
There’s no debate Earth’s temperature is changing, otherwise, we’d still be in an Ice Age. But the cause is not entirely human. One tangible effect, however, is Western democracies throwing cash at ‘climate victims’ in developing nations as taxpayers foot the bill.
The good news remains, the end of our world is nigh.
Let’s have a look at an example of how that’s played out so far.
In October 2009, President of the Maldives at the time, Mohamed Nasheed, held a high-profile cabinet meeting underwater to highlight the plight of nations like his supposedly threatened by rising sea levels caused by man-made global warming. The world had to get ready for millions of forthcoming ‘climate refugees’ for whom global media served as the harbinger.
At the same time, Nasheed’s government was in negotiations with a Hong Kong architecture firm, Indian builders, and British structural engineers on plans for a new $200 million USD airport. It was named ‘Future Project of the Year’ at the World Architecture Festival 2011. E-architect website gushed that “the building has 50% of its area outdoor on decking for passengers to witness the rich marine life at sea level”. Yes, ‘at sea level.’
I asked the Hong Kong firm – Integrated Design Associates – why the Maldivians wanted to build such an expensive airport while complaining their islands were sinking. Was it part of an exotic escape plan? The company said it wasn’t (sinking) and rising sea levels were not a threat to the airport, which was to be about four feet above the ocean. Drawing up concept plans was as far as the company got.
Nasheed’s underwater stunt was a success, gaining island nations like his considerable sympathy and huge amounts of real and pledged cash at climate change summits from the United States and other Western countries weakened by climate-guilt complexes. The influx of bundles of ‘free’ foreign cash probably led to Nasheed being ousted in a coup in 2012.
A year later, the Hong Kong Observatory told me the sea level had risen less than two millimeters since 1998, the year fear-mongering-about anthropomorphic global warming influencers kicked off their diatribes. At that rate, it would be 9,000 years before the new – relatively speaking – Maldives airport needed to get out the sandbags.
Naheed has been here at COP26 for a few days, peddling the same line about his island sinking and Western countries apathetic about his plight.
“I think 1.5C must be asked for again and restated and never left,” he said in an interview with The Guardian. “Anything above 1.5C and the Maldives will not be there. We cannot sign a suicide pact.”
Nasheed insisted the Maldives had lost a whole island so far.
“We are losing ground. We are losing people. We are losing our livelihood. We are losing our culture,” he told the newspaper. “This is happening now. It is upon us.”
As the leader of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Nasheed speaks for other tiny island nations. They are asking for $100 billion USD every year from 2020 to 2024 for “adaptation and mitigation” against climate change.
The real questions remain how much of that money will be actually spent on new airports, and why wouldn’t that funding be directed to U.S. projects rather than a small foreign cluster of (ethically) questionable bureaucracies?
Meanwhile, Alaska’s Governor Mike Dunleavy battles and defends against Biden Administration policy strangleholds from ANWR to the Tongass while Biden, here in Glasgow, placates, if not outright acquiesces to nonsensical narratives like those from the Maldivian government.
Indeed, COP26 may be an ocean away from Alaska, but the spirit and subterfuge surfacing from its conference speeches and work sessions will undoubtedly cause a ripple effect, if not a tsunami, of continued restrictions and natural resource development barriers splashing onto Alaskan shores if not checked by Senators Sullivan and Murkowski, and by engaged voters.
Ben O’Rourke recently joined the Alaska Politics & Elections team. Ben has more than 25 years of media experience in radio, television, online, and newspapers working globally in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and the United Kingdom. He accidentally landed into news journalism in 2003 and has been writing, reporting, and producing videos and nightly news programs for Hong Kong television and South China Morning Post ever since. He’s currently a freelance news editor at Fieldsports Britain, a popular hunting, shooting, and fishing channel on YouTube. Ben spent three weeks in Alaska filming a documentary and that time had a profound effect on him and it quickly became his favorite U.S. state.