Sunday, November 14, 2021

COP26 is FLOP26

I told you so! Ultimately, the Glasgow Climate Pact produced a face-saving document. 

It is touted as the first ever climate deal to explicitly plan to reduce coal, the worst fossil fuel for greenhouse gases. 

The backstory is that in the earlier negotiation drafts, it was supposed to be a commitment to phase out coal – but India led opposition to it and so, we see the last-minute about-face. 

India's climate minister Bhupender Yadav (left) had asked how developing countries could promise to phase out coal and fossil fuel subsidies when they "have still to deal with their development agendas and poverty eradication". 

In the end, it was agreed to "phase down" rather than "phase out" coal. 

The deal also presses for more urgent emission cuts and promises more money for developing countries – to help them adapt to climate impacts. 

But to be honest, the pledges don't go far enough to limit temperature rise to 1.5C. Besides, there are no specifics attached to them. 

And remember, these are just pledges, nothing more!

As part of the agreement, countries have agreed to meet next year and re-visit emissions-cutting plans to try to keep to the 1.5C target. Current pledges, if fulfilled, can only limit global warming to 2.4C. 

If global temperatures rise by more than 1.5C, scientists say the Earth is likely to experience severe effects such as millions more people being exposed to extreme heat.

I must also highlight the fact that COP26 did not manage the elephant in the room, i.e. nuclear power – it was not properly deliberated but merely skirted on the periphery.

It’s really ironic because COP26’s claims for being quite green comes from getting 70% of its power from nuclear. 

Nuclear is the only reason southern Scotland receives the cleanest power in the UK, generated by the Torness and Hunterston B nuclear power plants. 

So COP26 is another failure in a long line of pretend attempts to wrangle climate change and decrease global emissions sufficiently to limit damage this century. It's a FLOP26, alright!

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