Firebird Journal

Survival and Renewal in the Anthropocene

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Dubai holiday bazaar offers oil, meat and more

JETTING AROUND — Ignatio FERRE, Photographer — Creative Commons, courtesy of Flickr. CC

“Will COP28 finally get it together, or will it just be one more round of Carry On Pumping?” — Meteor Blades, Climate Reporter for Daily Kos online

Fretting over getting just the right Christmas gift for that special person? Not even sure where to start looking?

Not to worry.

In case you haven’t heard, there is a jumbo international trade show happening right now in Dubai, the shining city named after an old Arab proverb that goes, “They came with a lot of money.” Dubai is the capital of the world’s seventh-largest oil-exporting petrostate, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It’s a great place to visit and shop, with its massive, spanking-new skyscrapers and upscale stores all oiled up and air conditioned for the jet setters who flock there from around the globe. They’ve even got a ski slope with artificial snow built above a giant shopping mall. (Not much air conditioning for the city’s poor, but…they’re poor.)

The show is called “COP28” (or “COP28 Bazaar”), short for 28th Conference of Parties (to climate agreements), and it’s sponsored by none other than that august globalist outfit, the United Nations. Ostensibly the conference is held for representatives of virtually all of the world’s nations, to hash out agreements intended to forestall the climate calamity. But, in the words of famed climate activist Greta Thunberg, those talks at previous COPs proved to be just a lot of “Blah, Blah, Blah.”

So this time, the real action in Dubai is the trade show, held in pricey pavilions immediately adjacent to the conference’s deliberation chambers. And believe me, the big players are all there. First and foremost are the representatives from the peterostates and global oil and gas conglomerates. They are fielding more than 1300 lobbyists, many of whom are embedded in various nations’ COP delegations. The beauty of that, from their point of view, is that all of the parties must agree on the exact wording of any resolutions the conference passes — meaning that a single petrostate can force phrases such as “phase out fossil fuels” to be changed to “phase down fossil fuels,” allowing for their continued extraction and burning.

To ensure that things go swimmingly for everyone, your host for the event — with its expected attendance of 200,000 — is none other than other than “his Excellency,” UAE President Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, who is also the CEO of Adnoc, the UAE state oil company…and the president of COP28. On top of all that he’s a wheeler-dealer suspected, as evidenced by recently leaked emails, of using his COP28 connections to make back-room oil deals for Adnoc. What a guy!

But don’t concern yourself with that stuff. Instead, just relish this opportunity to cut your own deal for that petro-project gift that keeps on giving by rubbing elbows with some of the world’s top oil execs.
OK. Maybe petroleum’s not your thing, or quite right for your special giftee. That’s OK. There are plenty of other carbon-emitter lobbies to shop.

To start with, there’s the meat and dairy industry. President Al Jaber managed to get animal agriculture, which is responsible for more emissions than aviation, added to this year’s COP agenda — some believe to take the heat off oil. So the North American Meat Institute, whose website still questions whether climate change is caused by humans, teamed up with assorted global producers and rented an entire pavilion at the conference to push “full force” their message that beef is sustainable because cattle graze — although most eat in feedlots.

Also, the Global Cement and Concrete Association is there pushing its message that concrete emission are…nothing to worry about.

But there is something to worry about. COP28 will wrap up in a few days, so if you want to haggle for that gift, you’d better hop in your jet right now and blast across the planet.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article appeared previously in other publications as part of an ongoing series called “Your Ecological House,” written by Philip S. Wenz, the publisher of Firebird Journal.

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6 Responses

    1. Yes, that is one of the words that comes to mind. I think this whole business will prove to be a big waste of time — and that’s sad and disturbing.

  1. Thanks, Phil, for lampooning that gathering of money freaks who seem to be oblivious that they and theirs will also suffer the earth’s revenge unless they pull their heads out of their —– .

    1. The rich are different from us. They delegate tasks like pulling heads out of inconvenient places. Here’s Fitzgerald’s original quote:
      Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote: Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand

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Books by Philip S. Wenz

Your Ecological House is a homeowner and designer’s guide to creating a “home ecosystem,” an integrated habitat that conserves and produces energy, reduces waste and produces food and other goods.

This upcoming book discussed three possible futures — ” bad,” “good,” and “likely” — for the planet and humanity in the Anthropocene.

Read the Synopsis.