United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has proclaimed fossil-fuel companies “godfathers of climate chaos,” but many Europeans, Africans, and Americans clearly disagree. They’ve shown recently what they think of the green agenda of costly renewables and instead support politicians who will let them keep their cars.

In elections for the European Parliament, a good number of Europeans joined the pushback that has already begun in the U.S and South Africa against the green-energy movement. Right-wing parties in Italy, Germany, and France, all with platforms opposing the green agenda, fared strikingly well.

French President Emmanuel Macron called national elections after Marine Le Pen’s National Rally Party, which supports fossil fuels, gained 12 seats and won 31% of the vote: a plurality, and about twice the total achieved by Macron’s Renaissance Party.

Major losers in the European parliamentary elections included Renew Europe, the party that boasts “it has played a leading role in raising the European Union’s ambitions to reach climate neutrality by 2050,” and the European Greens Party, which seeks a green deal and wants the union to be powered 100% by renewable energy by 2040.

On June 5, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, indefinitely postponed New York City’s planned “congestion charge,” or tax, which was originally set to go in effect June 30. Had it been implemented, drivers would have been required to pay $15 per day to enter Manhattan’s central business district below 60th Street.

New York expected to raise $1 billion a year from drivers to fund public transit, although one congressional report commissioned by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., forecast revenues of over $3.4 billion.

Proponents said that the tax would improve air quality, reduce congestion, and fund public transit, but it would have disproportionately hurt small businesses, poor residents, and others who rely on personal transportation.

The tax would also have been harsh on older and handicapped people, many of whom can’t take public transit. And at a time when working from home has been hitting the economy of downtown Manhattan, it would have been an additional reason for office workers to forsake the city.

The Big Apple is fortunate to have escaped this outcome. There was vast resistance to the new tax, and Hochul was wise to cancel it. People don’t like to be without their cars, and she listened.

Virginia residents escaped a similar outcome recently, as Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin decided not to abide by California’s new Advanced Clean Cars II standards. Passed in 2022, the standards require 35% of new passenger vehicles sold in the Golden State to be electric or hydrogen-fueled by 2026 and 100% to be electric or hydrogen-fueled by 2035. Virginia will comply with federal law rather than California law.

Virginia’s prior governor, Ralph Northam, a Democrat, had required that the commonwealth embrace the 2021 automobile standards of the California Air Resources Board, which would have mandated that a certain share of auto dealers’ sales in 2025 be battery-powered cars. The 2022 standards are stricter but were passed after Virginia (and 15 other states) had signed on to California’s 2021 standards.

Virginia is the first state to walk away from California’s 2022 standards, and it will encourage others to do the same. People need affordable, reliable transportation for personal and business use. Electric tractors can’t substitute for diesel-powered ones. Small businesses rely on gasoline-powered pickup trucks that can tow equipment without having to stop for an hour or two to recharge during long trips. Construction workers need inexpensive cars to get to work. And this is a global reality.

In the South African general elections last month, the African National Congress won only 40% of the popular vote, failing to secure a majority for the first time since the party’s 1994 founding. Although South Africa has vast supplies of coal and gas, blackouts have damaged the economy and contributed to the ANC government’s unpopularity.

Unplanned outages rose from 176,000 in 2007 to almost 20 million in 2023. Between 2012 and 2022, South Africa’s gross domestic product per capita declined by 17%, from $8,174 to $6,766, and manufacturing output decreased by almost a third. The latest official unemployment rate is 32.9%.

South Africa’s new government will need to ensure a reliable energy supply to revive the country’s manufacturing sector and reduce unemployment.

Fossil fuels are demonized by the secretary-general of the United Nations, but they enable people to heat and cool their homes, operate their vehicles, and use electrical appliances reliably. And resilient sources of fuel are essential to many countries’ manufacturing sectors.

Voters know this, and they are making themselves heard all over the world.

Originally published by National Review.