You will be happy, of course, to hear that Joe Biden’s climate “czar”, as John Kerry is often described by people with a weird idea what systems of government deserve emulation, is against the actual new czar’s assault on Ukraine. But you may be less happy to hear that his objection is that all those munitions exploding are veeery bad for global warming and might distract Putin from endorsing Biden’s climate plans. In an interview fatuous even by his standards, the former Massachusetts Senator, 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and Barack Obama’s Secretary of State noted for flying a private jet around saving us all from your carbon footprint really did bemoan “massive emissions consequences to the war but equally importantly, you’re going to lose people’s focus, you’re going to lose big country attention because they will be diverted and I think it could have a damaging impact... And so I hope President Putin will help us to stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate.” It didn’t work.
Perhaps you think we’re quoting selectively to make Kerry look foolish. So here is the part we cut out of the middle: “So, you know hopefully President Putin would realize that in the Northern part of his country, they used to live on 66% of the nation that was over frozen land. Now it’s thawing, and his infrastructure is at risk. And the people of Russia are at risk.” As you can see he doesn’t need editing to make him sound foolish. He’s the man who, while serving as his nation’s top diplomat with a huge research and speech-writing team, claimed that greenhouse gases accumulated in a tiny layer right at the top of the atmosphere “a quarter-inch, half an inch, somewhere in that vicinity, that’s how thick it is”, which all the climate scientists immediately failed to denounce and which did not prevent him from being chosen as the U.S. government’s point man on the climate issue. And in his interview recorded for BBC Arabic on Feb. 21, 2022, right before the invasion, he also said “I’m concerned about Ukraine because of the people of Ukraine and because of the principles that are at risk, in terms of international law and trying to change boundaries of international law by force. I thought we lived in a world that had said no to that kind of activity. And I hope diplomacy will win.”
So you see both kinds of unicorn power in action, and neither working worth a hoot. “I thought we lived in a world that had said no to that kind of activity.” We won’t ask how exactly he thinks the “world” talks, or when it said so, or which tyrants cared. Especially as, we will point out, he was Secretary of State under Barack Obama from 2013-2017, including the ghastly episode where Obama drew a “red line” around use of chemical weapons in Syria then erased it when dictator Bashir Assad used them anyway backed by… what was that guy’s name?
Oh yeah. Vladimir Putin. The same Russian president who annexed Crimea while Kerry was Secretary of State under Obama and is now invading Ukraine. Kerry was there when Syria used those horrendous weapons to slaughter its own people and he didn’t just watch those in power doing nothing, he was those in power doing nothing. And then he thought it hadn’t happened.
Under Kerry, also, the American defence establishment went along with the fantasy of an EV-dominated battlefield, and much other nonsense besides. Conrad Black, in the National Post, snorted that “The great illustrative event this week was U.S. climate change czar John Kerry, one of the most unwaveringly fatuous of America’s many public officious fools, complained that the military subjugation of the autonomous nation of Ukraine was a distraction from the existential crisis of climate change. The existential crisis isn’t posed by the climate, but by people like him. If we are determined as a civilization to commit suicide, we should try for death with dignity, and John Kerry is the last person capable of providing that.”
If it were just Kerry, we wouldn’t have this problem. Whatever high standard he may set for fatuity, his approach is widespread especially among the “Virtual” elites who achieve prestige and earnings by cleverly assembling abstractions into dazzling arrays. And they have been at the heart of Western policy.
Kerry is, after all, still enormously respected by his peers. And as for Canada, as the editorial board of the National Post observed on the same day as Black’s column, “despite the fact that 18 LNG export terminals have been proposed in Canada over the years, and 24 long-term LNG export licenses have been granted since 2011, a grand total of zero have been built.” We can’t build pipelines, not west to east, not west to coast and not, thanks to President Biden, south to U.S. refineries. Gas prices continue to climb as punitive taxes escalate whose declared purpose is to get us to “Net Zero” by 2050, that is, to destroy our capacity to produce and also to consume fossil fuels in any significant quantity.
That the people behind this kind of thinking are in fact fools, whatever their IQ, and that the fools are found in every party, is underlined by Quebec Premier François Legault of the Coalition Avenir Québec declaring in his 2021 “State of the Province” address to the provincial “National Assembly” (don’t ask) that “The government of Quebec has taken a decision to renounce, definitively, extraction of hydrocarbons in its territory”. Two years earlier the same Legault had said “There’s no social acceptability for an additional oil pipeline” in his province, home to some 12,000 kilometers of … fossil fuel pipelines, after his province had helped kill the proposed Energy East line from Alberta through Quebec to Atlantic export hubs back in 2017. And with impeccably awful timing, just days before Putin invaded Ukraine the Quebec government tabled a bill to expropriate the property of energy companies that, after years of expensive and largely fruitless exploration in Quebec, had finally found a major commercially attractive natural gas find.
We really think we can have our oil and renounce it too. And we can… provided we’re willing to buy it from Russia. Which we do. Something like half a billion dollars’ worth a year. Premier Legault, we might add, has called Alberta oil “dirty”. And we elect these people.