Saturday, November 6, 2021

COP26: A Big Show of Hypocrisy

We don't need to wait for COP26 to conclude to pass a verdict.

The UN Climate Change Conference that is happening right now in Glasgow is just a big show of hypocrisy. 

In fact, even before the climate conference started, we’ve seen humbug on full display. 

World leaders and other VIPs flew to COP26 on 400 private jets, sparking fury over the carbon emissions caused. In fact, the European advocacy group Transport and Environment said in a May report that private planes were five to 14 times as polluting as commercial planes on a per passenger basis and 50 times as polluting as trains. 

"It can't be stressed enough how bad private jets are for the environment – it is the worst way to travel by miles", the group's UK policy manager told UK’s Sunday Mail. "Private jets are very prestigious, but it is difficult to avoid the hypocrisy of using one while claiming to be fighting climate change". 

And US President Joe Biden (left) has been lambasted by critics for using as many as 85 petrol guzzlers in his motorcade for the UN climate change meeting. 

Twitter users from both sides of the Atlantic were quick to point out the 'hypocrisy' of the President using multiple cars' worth of fossil fuels while claiming to take determined action on carbon dioxide emissions. 

For sure, we can expect that decisions arrived at COP26 to be nothing more than blasts of hot air. We already know that commitments made are unlikely to be realistic and/or practical and governments themselves will be hard-pressed to follow through on them, even if they genuinely want to. 

On Monday, the climate summit had pledged to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. 

Despite Indonesian President Joko Widodo signing the forest deal, his Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar had said on Wednesday on Facebook that compelling her country to abide by this undertaking was "clearly inappropriate and unfair". 

She made it clear that Indonesia couldn’t "promise what we can't do". 

On Tuesday, it was announced that more than 100 countries had signed a pledge to limit emissions of the greenhouse gas methane by 30% compared with 2020 levels by 2030. 

But major emitters, like China, India and Russia have not yet joined the Global Methane Pledge. 

On Thursday, twenty nations including major financiers promised to end overseas fossil fuel funding by the end of 2022. Twenty? Is that it?

And on the same day too, seventy-seven nations promised to phase out existing coal-fuelled power plants and to stop building new ones – by 2030 for richer countries, and 2040 for poorer nations. But the biggest coal-dependent nations, which included Australia, China, India and the United States were notable in their absence from the pledge. 

Anyway, promises made may not even be kept. Besides, the commitments are not binding. And there is no big stick. 

Already, some signatories have indicated that they will not be able to fulfil commitments made, e.g. on coal, without financial help from other countries. 

Climate activist Greta Thunberg (left) yesterday described COP26 as “a two week celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah”. 

Methinks, it's best not to harbor any expectations and we won’t feel let down.

No comments: