Thursday, October 28, 2021

COP26 Has Failed

Failed? But it hasn't even begun yet! And anyway, what does success of failure mean?

The object is to prevent global heating and the way to do that is to stop emitting greenhouse gases. A big part of what happens at COP26 is that governments present their 'Nationally Determined Contributions' (NDCs). And this is where the failure sets in. The whole panjandrum is wrongly framed. Almost 200 countries will be saying what they hope to do to reduce their emissions and when they hope to do this. It is all too little, too late, and too slowly.

The new climate denialism, rife wherever one turns, is the idea that limiting heating to 1.5 degrees is achievable. It isn't. And yet Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK's Chief Scientist, said it was still achievable though we will have to "fly a bit less". That's about as much use as saying that singing Happy Birthday while washing one's hands will prevent a pandemic.

Here is the nonsense that Vallance and his international colleagues have come up with: Statement by International Senior Scientific Advisers ahead of COP26

The best meme doing the rounds of social media is this:

We're not even reaching for a mop. What we have is almost 200 countries each with their own tap and plughole. They are coming to Glasgow to tell us at what speed they are going to turn the tap off and whether they intend to ease the plug a little bit to let some water seep out.

What the climate crisis requires is that all countries turn off their taps immediately and pull their plug out. 413ppm CO2 needs to be pushed back below 350. But next year it will be 415 and the year after it will be 417. That's why COP26 has failed.

Unfortunately there are bad consequences if we all stop burning fossil carbon by Day 1 of the COP. Machines in hospitals will stop working and lorries won't deliver food. People will die.

So what COP26 should be doing is having nations determine and declare the maximum possible rate of emission reduction that is commensurate with their citizens not actually dying. The taps need to be turned off almost completely and the plugs fully pulled out straight away. Then we can can watch the water go down to a safe level.

When we see the Keeling Curve turn downwards we can start measuring success, but while it continues to rise we can be certain we are failing.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home