Millennials at COP23

November 18, 2017

by Pat Carlson, Environmental Chairman

The talks at COP23 gained no new ground – developing countries still have their hand out waiting for the delivery of money and technology by developed countries and developed countries are still not delivering. It remains a stand-off.

President Trump withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and an event promoting coal and nuclear energy held by the U.S. delegation was the biggest news at this year’s international climate change conference held in Bonn, Germany.

President Trump and the U.S. delegation was called everything from being moronic to being racist bigots. They were accused of blocking negotiations and offering nothing to the discussion. But as the U.S. was being used as the scapegoat this gave the other developed nations cover for taking the same position. Understandably the U.S. delegation stayed clear of the media. They could do nothing right and nobody showed their displeasure as loudly and irreverently as the millennials who attended.

When the U.S. delegation held their event, the millennials stood while breaking out in song interrupting the speaker, special assistant for the White House, David Banks. They took the melody of ‘God Bless America’ and added their own words. It was almost a sacrilege to hear such a wonderful song put to this use.

So you claim to be an American
But we see right through your greed.
It’s killing all across the world
For that coal money.
And we proudly stand up
Until you keep it in the ground.
We the people of the world unite
And we are here to stay.

Any conservative group would have been escorted out of the conference immediately, but not this group. They were allowed to stay long enough to get their press coverage.

The Young European Leadership, another millennial group, felt they needed to share their wisdom with everyone about entrepreneurship. Millennials are the group with “courage enough to change how things have always been done…..to take action despite uncertainty.” The “concept of failure is a fascinating part of the entrepreneurial culture because you are actually encouraged to fail and fail constantly but also quickly.” These young people who are barely out of high school and college and have experience in almost nothing, gave advice that sounds good but is not based on reality.

There would be no entrepreneurs if they were being encouraged to fail. Entrepreneurship requires an investment in time and money with the expectation of success. Millennials don’t remember life before smartphones, Amazon and Uber. These kids have the “don’t know syndrome” – they don’t know they don’t know.

The advice and entertainment continued while a panel on finance convened with Al Gore. Gore suggested America could stay in the Paris Agreement because the agreement states that signatories cannot withdraw until November 4, 2019 but the actual departure would not become official until the following year. “If there is a new president….a new president could simply give 30 days notice, and the U.S. is back in the agreement.”

Mr. Gore added, “The first date upon which the U.S. could actually leave the Paris Agreement happens to be the first day after the next Presidential election in 2020.” He interrupted his comments with a quick pause before adding “excuse me for a moment” and bowed his head and folded his hands in prayer. The former Vice-President joked: “That was not a partisan comment there. You can’t quote me on that.”

Finally, advice came from a much older generation. Pope Francis sent a letter to COP participants offering his supposedly Godly wisdom. He warned delegates not to fall into “four perverse attitudes” regarding the future of the planet: “denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions.” He made many references to the “future of the planet” and our “common home” but made no reference to a heavenly home which is where you would think his mind should be. He closes by saying “This commitment is supported by the wise providence of God Most High,” implying that the Creator of the universe has now relinquished His authority to mankind in controlling the weather.

President Trump and his administration need our thanks, our prayers and our encouragement for a taking a hard stand on climate change against the rest of the world. But as Al Gore said, “This train left the station in Paris.” This monster has taken on a life of it’s own and probably can’t be stopped despite President Trump’s best efforts.

The answer is not politics but the changing of man’s heart through Jesus.