The Cop26 climate summit starts in Glasgow, UK, on October 31, and countries must deliver tougher pledges to cut emissions to keep the goal of 1.5C within reach. According to the UN, carbon emissions will rise by 16 per cent by 2030, rather than fall by half as governments previously agreed to in Paris at COP 2015. Twenty thousand people are expected to attend the Glasgow meetings.
Since 1995 the UN Conference of the Parties (COP) has been meeting in a world festival of talking, challenging, and demanding. But make no mistake, these meetings are about money, disguised as a meeting about climate change. Together with India and China, small island states and emerging economies want $100 billion a year from the developed world to compensate for the CO2 “pollution” they experience and help them accelerate their move to green energy and reduce their own contributions to CO2 emissions.
The developed world does not want to give money to these countries or even accept the basis of their demand – that the developed world’s CO2 emissions are the cause of their current and potential damage due to changes in climate. Like many other COP commitments, the $100 billion a year promise from past COP sessions has yet to be met.
The NGO community wants all governments to spend more money transitioning their economies from oil and gas to green energy. The UK, for example, has announced that it will be a net-zero economy by 2050 at a cost of $2.4 trillion. New taxation will also be required to pay for the massive costs of this transition, including new taxes to make up for lost tax revenue from the sale of gasoline (in the UK this is approximately $46 billion annually).
Canada has also made promises to spend large amounts pursuing net-zero by 2050 and has allocated billions to achieve it. But our track record is dreadful. Canada is the only G7 country whose emissions have risen every year since the Paris Accord when we promised to cut them every year.
The governments of the world want to reduce the costs of the energy transition, in part through delay and in part through making it all more complicated than it needs to be. But their reluctance will be disguised through “booster bullshit” language and technical details, with little result. Greta Thunberg had it right when she said that world leaders just talk “blah blah blah” and have done so for 30 years, as is evidenced by the continued growth in emissions ever since COP1.
These meetings are also about abusing the idea of science. Science is the rigorous, relentless questioning and analysis of data in pursuit of truth – the use of data, reason and analysis and the testing of a range of hypotheses. COP science is about resisting alternative explanations for various climate events and insisting that the “science is settled.”
For some, science is shorthand for a near-religious belief in certain key tenets of the climate agenda. For others, science is a vehicle for securing the funds they are seeking. For yet others, science is a cudgel with which to beat up politicians who do not “follow the science” and accept the projections of computer simulations. But the scientists themselves (especially those on the International Panel on Climate who have made subtle changes in the AR6 assessment) are now questioning the utility and value of computer climate model simulations and suggesting that the computer models are now based less on physics than on politics.
Climate summit forced to confront inconvenient truths by Rashid Husain Syed
What can we expect from COP26? Again, Greta Thunberg speaks some sense:
“We can no longer let the people in power decide what is politically possible. We can no longer let the people in power decide what hope is. Hope is not passive. Hope is not blah, blah, blah. Hope is telling the truth. Hope is taking action. And hope always comes from the people.”
We should not look to the Glasgow talk-fest for answers: we should look to what our city leaders are doing; we should look to our own energy companies and their investors and ask what they are doing. The answer is obvious. They are transitioning to green energy and doing the work. The investment community is also making the shift happen. It is on track to invest $500 billion in green initiatives in 2021, with $1 trillion annually in 2023.
We need to stop looking to governments and green activists to act on climate change. We need to look at our own behaviour and ask ourselves, “what are we doing”?
Those who care about the climate act; those who care about blah blah blah will all be in Glasgow.
Stephen Murgatroyd, PhD, is CEO of Collaborative Media Group Inc.
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