Wednesday December 08, 2021

There is still hope

November 25, 2021

Unfortunately, despite being touted as ‘our last best hope’, the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow ended up being just another big flop, thus confirming that people should not expect international climate summits or governments to solve the climate crisis.

Indeed, the only hope for solving humanity’s greatest existential crisis lies with our ability to mobilise behind the global climate movement.

The outcome of COP26 – a great ‘compromise’ between moderates and reactionaries – does very little to slow down our pace towards the precipice. The final document, called the Glasgow Climate Pact, showed no progress with regards to existing national plans to cut emissions by 2030, which are not enough to limit global warming to 1.5C (2.7F). In fact, as things stand, the planet is headed to a disastrous 2.4C (4.3F) of heating. Only very naive souls can gain comfort from the fact that the pact obliges countries to return to next year’s COP with revised targets.

Fossil fuels, which supplied 84 percent of global energy in 2020, will continue to dominate global energy consumption. The power of the fossil fuel producers and the influence of the fossil fuel lobby is apparently too strong to counter in diplomatic negotiations over the future of the planet. Moreover, rich countries have failed to honour their pledge to provide $100 billion each year by 2020 to help poor nations deal with the threats of global warming, and the climate debt grows exponentially.

In other words, large-scale decarbonisation remains a distant dream despite the pressing need to embark on this process immediately to keep temperatures from rising well above 2C (3.6F), and COP26 contributed not in the least in the effort to move the world economy towards a clean energy transition. Amazingly enough, even coal, the dirtiest of the fossil fuels and the single largest source of global temperature increases, received a mere slap on the hand as India, with the backing of China, succeeded in changing the wording of an earlier draft from ‘phase out’ coal to ‘phase down’.

If COP26 participants were really serious about solving the climate crisis they should have made, at a minimum, the following pledges:

One: Eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies, which according to a recent IMF study amount to $5.9 trillion in 2020; two: Ban banks from funding new fossil fuel projects, as they have pumped trillions of dollars into oil, gas, and coal since the signing of the Paris climate agreement of 2021.

Three: Make ecocide an international crime similar to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes; four: Demand the cancellation of debt for lower-income countries, which now spend several times more on servicing debt than dealing with the challenges of global warming; five: Create large-scale funding sources to assist with the transition to a green economy.

Instead, we got mostly a lot of ‘blah, blah, blah’ and more inertia.

Excerpted: ‘COP26 was a flop but there is still hope’. Courtesy: