Contributed by Joe Montero
All the pretense over progress at Glasgow’s COP 26 talks can’t hide that it has been a monumental failure, exposing the real nature of many of the world’s leaders. They are far short of what the world needs today.
A rise of this size will cause disastrous damage to Earth’s environment and severely damage the human economy and society.
Discussion and initiative as put into the hands of the corporations, among who were the fossil fuel companies and lenders who finance the creation of carbon. The corporate lobby turned out to be the single biggest block at the talks, and its primary objective was to protect their businesses by ensuring that Glasgow falls into line with its interests.
The promise to cut to zero emissions has been pushed decades into the future, when it is critical that there is a major drop by 2030, if the temperature rise is going to be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Pact has left it open to increase the amount of fossil fuel burnt in the meantime.
All who are serious about doing much more than this, are left with no other choice but to continue and lift the anti. This is no time to give up. We must find ways to force the issue through the will of public opinion and action.
Part of this is to call out the failures at Glasgow and put forward realistic alternatives.
All the talk about compromise fails to admit that there is no room for compromise. Either you do enough to prevent the catastrophe, or you don’t. Compromising to not do enough is of failure of action. Instead of a promise for adequate action we got a promise for more talk.
Even if there had been an agreement to lower emissions in the short run, it would still not be enough. Who is going to do it and who is going to cover the cost. These are important questions, and they were there in Glasgow.
Leaders of industrialised western nations are trying to offload as much as they can on poorer nations. Pressure is put on China and India to do much more. Both are wrong approaches that serve to take attention away from what others should be doing.
The measure of success must not be framed in terms of nations but on population, where the effort is to reduce the per person carbon footprint. This approach would mean that the burden is distributed fairly, with the wealthier shouldering more. The best measurement to set goals, to use per capita gross domestic product. This would allow some breathing space for smaller and poorer nations, where most of the population has contributed little to the rise of emissions. This was ignored in Glasgow.
It was important to reach an agreement to set up a fund, big enough to help poorer nations make the transition away from fossil fuels and to sustainable economies. There will be a fund. But it is too small to have much impact. About a third of the at least $US300 trillion needed to make a serious impact has been offered, without a guarantee that it will be delivered.
Even worse, the Glasgow Climate Pact commits to channeling help mainly through the private sector. It will not take the form of government-to-government aid. Instead, there will be loans provided by private financial institutions, funding specific projects and according to how much return they to the investment, rather than setting emission reduction as the priority. This opens the door to abuse and corruption. Expect any of the projects to be marketed as green and h less in substance.
While making fossil fuels obsolete is important, a transformation of the economy into a sustainable future is necessary. One cannot succeed without the other.
The final failure has been to ignore paying how to build community support for big changes. Only through widespread community participation will this be possible. Everyone must be given a voice, ownership, and be confident that they are being treated fairly. Change must be designed to create new real jobs lift everyone, and there must be mechanisms for participation.
No further proof is needed to understand that it is a dead end to rely in the leadership of big business and most of our politicians. Only a movement of the people, which becomes strong enough to make the change can be the answer.