COP26 cop-out

The climate deal no one likes, the healthcare sacred cow, French language wars continue, and a sports bar says no to vaccine passports (and gets shut down).

The UN’s Glasgow climate confab has come to an end, and countries who’ve failed to make a dent on their 2015 Paris commitments have come up with an even more aggressive set of priorities. But they really mean it this time!

Maybe not, actually. The ink isn’t even dry, and countries are already complaining that the agreement isn’t good enough. Even the conference president, Alok Sharma, has apologized for it all.

The more optimistic alarmists, if such a thing exists, are nonetheless trying to find the silver lining.

As I predicted a couple of weeks back, they are “keeping 1.5 alive” (the insufferable catchphrase for supposedly limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels), but all anyone seems to care about is the “coal compromise.”

In the eleventh hour, the Indian delegation changed “phase out” to “efforts to phase down” in the agreement’s language about coal. This seems reasonable enough for a country that gets more than half its energy from coal – if only the Canadian government were as eager to stand up for the realities of its energy sector too.

Contrary to what the United Nations tends to think, words on a page are meaningless on their own. India is the world’s third-largest emitter after China and the United States, so a pragmatist would say it’s far more important to have a deal it thinks is workable and can sell to its domestic constituency.

Al Jazeera says this change was an “ambush” on South Pacific delegates, who speak as though their islands will be underwater by the time their return flights are trying to find somewhere to land.

A Guardian story about the Glasgow agreement quotes the Marshall Islands delegate, the Fijian prime minister, the Maldives’ environment minister, and the executive director of Greenpeace – all to tell us everyone else needs to do more.

I should be careful in calling out the impotency in what COP26 achieved as I don’t actually want governments to embrace the industry-killing policies on offer, but I’d be remiss to not point out the idle virtue signalling underscoring it all.

From Conrad Black’s column:

The inevitable Swedish teenage climate protester Greta Thunberg called it, “Two weeks of business as usual: blah, blah, blah.” Fortunately, she is correct: the Glasgow commitments are not binding and no one will pay any attention to them. Our government leaders are sufficiently intelligent to know that drastic reductions of carbon emissions are not, in fact, desirable, but they are not sufficiently courageous to tell the truth to the vast, brain-washed, brain-dead number of deluded climate alarmists who have bought into the bunk that the end is nigh.

I can’t help but feel they’ll meet every year until the end of time, warning about how the world is about to end. Next year, COP heads to Egypt.


Housekeeping

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Danielle Smith’s and my Libertarians Who Care and Conservatives Who Care initiatives are getting into gear. I know many of you have joined, but for those who haven’t, the concept’s an easy one: each member commits to donating $100 each quarter to an initiative or organization the group selects. Just over 300 people have joined the two groups already, meaning if everyone pays up (as is required to remain a member) we will be able to direct $30,000 every three months to causes we believe in. We’ll be voting on the first recipients November 27 at 9 am MT/11 am ET, so if you’d like to join in time for the inaugural event, just sign up here.

Last week, I hosted what I found to be a thoroughly enjoyable panel discussion on healthcare reform, featuring Medpoint president Alex Hanham, physician and author Dr. Shawn Whatley, and Canadian Constitution Foundation executive director Joanna Baron. We covered the issues of access and private options from medical, legal and entrepreneurial perspectives, so do check it out if you’re interested in slaying Canadian politics’ greatest sacred cow.


How do you say “call your bluff” in French?

Quebec’s language wars are continuing. It’s not just the Air Canada CEO who struggles with French, but also the head of SNC-Lavalin, who’s had to postpone a speech to avoid a repeat of Michael Rousseau’s Montreal Chamber of Commerce debacle. I see the Premier François Legault is triggering an inquiry of sorts to root out all the anglophone CEOs who dare work in Quebec to ‘convince’ them to learn French. I know the political instinct here will be for all of them to resign and/or learn French, but I would like to see one of them have the fortitude to say “Okay, we’ll move to another province then.”

Generally speaking, have-not provinces shouldn’t be in the business of turning away large companies who inexplicably still want to be domiciled in Quebec. It’s easier to get away with this attitude when Canada has a political culture that will move mountains to save a single Quebec job (Bombardier, SNC-Lavalin, etc.)

Rousseau’s Anglophilia has now been the subject of protest at Air Canada’s Montreal headquarters. Can’t help but wonder if French signs aren’t the best way to get the point across when the point is that you’re upset the CEO can’t read French, but what do I know?


Passport protests

The vaccine passports needed to engage in civil society are getting more engrained in our lives. Alberta’s grace period has come to an end, meaning QR-coded vaccine passports are now required if you want to eat in a restaurant. In Ontario, a Kingston sports bar decided not to play ball, instead throwing up a sign saying, "Say no to vax passports. All welcome at JAKKs."

J.A.A.K. Tuesdays Sports Pub has lost its liquor license, its business license, and on the weekend was ordered by the local health unit to shut down altogether until it stopped “promoting non-compliance.”

Like several churches in Ontario, the pub is now locked down until such a time as a judge decides it can open. Like Etobicoke’s Adamson BBQ earlier in the lockdowns, J.A.A.K Tuesdays is making a deliberate choice here and inviting the consequences. Power to them. I’m sympathetic to those business who deplore the vaccine passports but have to go along with them to ensure their shops’ survival. I’m also all for those who want to make a point and are prepared to go down in flames doing so.

One of the most difficult things to stomach throughout the pandemic has been how easily so many people have surrendered their civil liberties without a fight, so kudos to those willing and able to take a stand.

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