- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2022

President Biden plans to attend COP27, the annual United Nations climate confab, but he won’t be rubbing elbows with Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg.

Miss Thunberg confirmed she won’t be participating in the 27th annual Conference of the Parties, a 10-day forum that starts Sunday at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, calling it a “scam” and venue for “greenwashing.”

“As it is now, the COPs are mainly used as an opportunity for leaders and people in power to say we are going to change, using many different kinds of greenwashing, lying and cheating and so on,” Miss Thunberg said in a Sunday interview at the Southbank Centre in London.

Her comments during a media tour to plug her newly released “The Climate Book” (Penguin Random House) threw more cold water on an event already plagued by challenges, including fears of winter food and fuel shortages.

“So as it is now, the COPs are not really going to lead to any major changes unless, of course, we use them as an opportunity to mobilize, which we must try to do, and make people realize what a scam this is, and realize that these systems are failing us, and we need to wake up and realize that,” she said.

Mr. Biden is slated to appear Nov. 11 at COP27, the primary gathering of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which brings together the signers of the Kyoto Protocol or Paris Agreement on combating global warming.

“At COP27, he will build on the significant work the United States has undertaken to advance the global climate fight and help the most vulnerable build resilience to climate impacts, and he will highlight the need for the world to act in this decisive decade,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement last week.

Biden climate envoy John Kerry is also slated to participate, an appearance that comes amid rumors that he plans to step down afterward, which his spokesperson refuted.

“I can’t stress enough: Secretary Kerry has no plans to depart, and his sole focus is COP27. Period. And anything else is baseless speculation,” Whitney Smith, communications director for the Office of the Special President Envoy for Climate, told The Washington Times.

About 90 heads of state are expected to attend, but British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made a splash last week when he said he would skip the forum, citing “other pressing commitments.”

The newly chosen British leader has since come under pressure to make an appearance at the high-profile summit, prompting speculation in the British press that he may reverse course.

Those applauding the 19-year-old Thunberg‘s decision to throw shade at COP27 include prominent climate skeptic Marc Morano, who does plan to attend.

“Kudos to Greta! She started out willing to travel great distances to attend these U.N. climate summits, but she now correctly realizes they are a ‘scam,’” Mr. Morano, who runs the Climate Depot website, said.

“Those of us opposed to the entire ‘Net Zero’ & Green New Deal agenda applaud Greta‘s moment of clarity when it comes to the undeniable scam that is the U.N. climate process,” he said. “We welcome Greta now understanding that these summits have nothing to do with the climate.”

Miss Thunberg, who attended COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, explained that she wanted to leave “a space” for others to participate.

“I am not going to COP27 because of many reasons, but I think the space for civil society this year is extremely limited and restricted as you say, and then it’s important to leave a space for those who actually need to be there, the most affected people in the most affected areas,” she said in an interview on Channel 4 News in London.

She also said the forums are “not really designed to lead to any big changes.”

“Last year, the fossil-fuel lobby had more representatives than any other nation,” she said. “That kind of shows how seriously we’re taking this.”

This year’s event comes with global food and fuel prices climbing as OPEC+ reduces oil production; Russia cuts to natural gas exports, and producers struggle to meet post-pandemic demand, priorities that have shifted the focus away from reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide in the name of fighting global warming.

Climate activists argue that the higher costs underline the need for green energy by revealing the vulnerabilities of relying on fossil fuels, while their critics counter that the energy crisis exposes the inability of solar and wind to power society.

“This U.N. climate summit should be dubbed the ‘Cover Your A$$ Summit’ as the climate activists will be furiously spinning the failure of green energy and the coming deadly blackouts as somehow Russia’s fault or the fault of the free market,” Mr. Morano said.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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