Believe it or not, the European parliament is debating a report on Women’s Rights and Climate Change — thus bringing together two of the institution’s pet obsessions. My first reaction was astonishment at the absurdity of the linkage. But I was even more astonished, on Googling the idea, to find that there’s a whole cottage industry on the subject, with NGOs (probably funded by the European Commission) vying to out-do each other with alarming videos.
This is of course a spin-off from the “Poverty & Climate Change” lobby, making the facile argument that “climate change impacts most severely on the world’s poor”. In fact, of course, it’s our climate change policies that damage the poor. If you have no electricity, no light to study by in the evenings, no refrigeration for food or vaccines, then you’re locked into absolute poverty. Millions die from smoke inhalation as they try to cook food on wood fires — having probably walked miles to collect what little wood remains. An electric stove would save lives. A diesel generator would make all the difference, but the green zealots don’t want you to have one.
Availability of electricity is the very first step out of absolute poverty, and towards a better life. By promoting the most expensive generating technologies, the green lobby snatches away the hope of progress from the world’s poorest people. I am trying to make this point in my speech in the Strasbourg Hemicycle:
This report represents an heroic attempt to link two of this parliament’s main obsessions: women’s rights and climate change. But sadly it fails to do so.
Climate change gets blamed for many things, mostly without justification. But few people will believe that domestic violence against women is caused by climate change, or that the low representation of women in government is caused by global warming.
Some will feel it’s discriminatory that we don’t have a parallel report on men and climate change. After all, men and women live in the same climate. Women and men switch on the same lights and televisions and computers. Women and men both inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.
The report makes one valid point: that “women are less able to respond and adapt in the face of changes such as global warming and its side-effects”.
Mr President, the biggest side-effect of global warming is the huge economic damage that our climate mitigation policies are doing. High energy prices and excessive regulation are driving jobs and industries and investment out of the EU altogether, frequently to jurisdictions with lower emissions standards.
Sadly, it is probably the case that this will impact more seriously on women than on men. The best thing we could do for women, and for all mankind, is to scrap our absurd and damaging climate policies.