COP26: Where Is The Crisis?
Crisis (noun): a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention.The 26th “Conference of the Parties”, more commonly known as COP26, took place in Glasgow this past fall. It gathered 120 world leaders and over 40,000 participants, about 22,300 party delegates, around 14,100 observers, and almost 4,000 media representatives. For two whole weeks, they discussed all aspects of climate change: the relative science, the expensive solutions, and the politically motivated courses of action. With the first conference taking place in 1995 in Berlin, 26 years ago, it is evident that most of the “progress” is made of non-binding agreements with extended timelines to take actions.
What was agreed upon?
Despite 26 years of discussions and calls to action, leaders claim that the current climate crisis is now a climate emergency. It’s a race against time to mitigate the climate target to 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels…. by 2100. How we got to this climate emergency under their watch; God only knows. Countries once again stress the urgency of action in “this critical decade.” Despite previously determined National Contributions, which are voluntary and unenforceable, countries are called to present stronger plans at next year’s conference. Their posturing is nauseating.
Regarding fossil fuels, countries agreed to a caveat calling for a “phase-down” of both coal power and of “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies. This change in language from “phase-out” to “phase-down” significantly weakened the agreement in order to appease countries like China and India, who are the main contributors of pollution and emissions.
Because of the harsh reality of the need for fossil fuels, the conference loses ground when it comes to ambition. For a visual, fossil fuels supply 84% of the world’s energy according to BP’s 2020 annual review, so the proposal of reaching net-zero emissions across the board is not close to coming to fruition. Their promises have no teeth on actually executing or making any large moves to combat this derived emergency. The entire agreement uses open ended phrases like “suggest”, “urge”, “request” and “invite” when speaking of what countries should be doing to “fight this emergency”. The weakened phrasing produces no urgency, obligation or accountability for taking any action; and again, their commitments are unenforceable and voluntary. So, what is the crisis?
Financing & Funding This Idea
Developed countries are urged to fully deliver a collective target of $100 billion a year in order to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. In other words, the world’s wealthiest nations are most responsible for climate change and therefore should compensate poorer, third world nations for the “damages” caused by climate change. Of course, one of the United Nations environmental organizations would be the likely administrator of these funds.
Coming from the Paris Agreement (COP21 2016), carbon market and emissions trading proposals were introduced. Countries unable to meet emissions targets will be able to purchase emissions reductions from other nations who have met or exceeded their targets (carbon trading/carbon credits). The conference sought to connect vulnerable countries with assistance and resources to address climate risks and vehicles for funding solutions to address the losses and damages associated with the impacts of climate change.
The UN’s Solution: A FULL Economic Reset
The UN plainly states that in order for the climate targets to even remotely be satisfied, every aspect of our economy must be revamped to their green standards. This citation is straight from the UN website:
“To achieve our climate goals, every company, every financial firm, every bank, insurer and investor will need to change. Countries need to manage the increasing impacts of climate change on their citizens’ lives and they need the funding to do it.” (https://ukcop26.org/cop26-goals/finance/)
The UN states that every financial decision must take climate into account:
“1. This includes all private investment decisions, but also all spending decisions that countries and international institutions are making as they roll out stimulus packages to rebuild economies from the pandemic.
2. Companies need to be transparent about the risks and opportunities that climate change, and the shift to a net zero economy pose to their business.
3. Central banks and regulators need to make sure that our financial systems can withstand the impacts of climate change and support the transition to net zero.
4. Banks, insurers, investors and other financial firms need to commit to ensuring their investments and lending is aligned with net zero.” (https://ukcop26.org/cop26-goals/finance/)
This climate change posturing and virtue signaling, with the aim of “net zero” (when emissions going into the atmosphere are balanced by those removed from the atmosphere), have only led to more empty promises and extended timelines. If we’re truly in a “climate emergency” the urgency and ambition to reach these said goals would be taken more seriously. It is also worth noting that the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports are developed through the use of computer modeling tailored and narrowly focused to just the man-made impacts on the environment, not as a whole. Natural variations, such as the effects from solar radiation and water vapor content are not taken into account, therefore neglecting real science and the supporting data at hand.
What does this mean for the United States?
Joe Biden has committed to work with Congress to double the US climate finance pledge of $5.7 billion to $11.4 billion by 2024 in order to “make the US a leader in international climate finance.” During Obama’s term, the US transferred $1 billion out of a $3 billion dollar commitment to the climate fund; $500 million of that being transferred just three days before Obama left office. President Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement and rescinded all contributions to the climate fund. America not only reduced emissions under Trump’s term but also became energy independent. With that in mind, and the fact that 120 countries participated in this conference, the US somehow ends up being responsible for 11.4% of the funding for the collective $100 billion target per year by developed countries. But, even with this staggering price tag, the UN still doesn’t think it’s enough. They feel that the US should be contributing, a totally reasonable amount of, 43-50% ($43-50 billion) of the funding per year.
Where will this funding come from?
It will come through a collection of implemented mandates, subsidies, taxes and regulations, many of which have been already instituted or newly created. It comes down to world leaders and representatives creating a problem that didn’t need solving. Finally, it brings us back to the same question we started with: Where is the crisis?
Crisis (noun): a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention.With years of climate discussions and open-ended goals, the word “crisis” is not the correct language for a situation in need of immediate action. For over a quarter of a century, this United Nations driven group has theorized, postulated and formulated recommendations to improve our Earth’s atmosphere and environment. They have removed almost all natural variations from the discussions and chose to focus mainly on man’s contributions towards the Earth’s warming. The main culprit should be pollution yet the focus has continually narrowed on the emissions of fossil fuels and their contribution to greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.