Yesterday, when the U.S. delegation at UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland organised an event promoting fossil fuels, the reaction was fierce – and predictable.
It was the second year in a row the U.S. has staged such an event at the annual climate gathering setting the rules of the Paris Climate Agreement, staying true to the headline message coming from the White House that climate change is a hoax and the agreement will hinder economic growth.
But behind the scenes, delegates from the U.S. government are sounding a different tone. Speaking at a “innovation in coal and natural gas” event on the sidelines of the summit, Preston Wells Griffith, the deputy assistant secretary for international affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, told the audience that “alarmism should not silence realism.”
“The reality is countries will continue to use fossil fuels to ensure that they meet basic power, transportation, and the industrial needs of their citizens,” he said, citing an International Energy Agency report predicting that global energy demand will increase by more than 25% in the next two decades.
“No countries should have to sacrifice economic prosperity and energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability,” he said. The event attracted the same amount of protesters a similar event did last year in Bonn, Germany.