December 7, 2021

Climate Change News

Saving The Planet

Opinion | Britain, host of COP26, does not lead climate change

Activists and delegates from around the world soon on their way to Glasgow have reason to be After all, they come together to hold a climate summit with an exceptionally high Known as COP26 and lasting from October…

Activists and delegates from around the world soon on their way to Glasgow have reason to be anxious. After all, they come together to hold a climate summit with an exceptionally high turnout. Known as COP26 and lasting from October 31 to November 12, the conference is perhaps one of the last possibilities in the world to maintain the average global temperature at an increase of less than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and to prevent global warming on a terrifying scale.

This state of apprehension does not seem to affect British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the leader of the host nation. With bombastic optimism, Johnson seems confident that countries will intensify climate action: the conference, he said in September, will be “a turning point for humanity.” And he has positioned Britain as a bold leader.

To make the case, Mr Johnson points out how Britain has decarbonised more than any other developed country, 1.8 times the average among European Union countries, and was the first major economy to enshrine a goal by law. net of zero for carbon emissions.

Still, Britain is not even a climate hero. The country is committed to fossil fuels and private companies, as opposed to strict regulation and unwillingness to recognize its historic responsibility to the global south. Even the praised zero target for 2050 depends on unreliable carbon offsets and is too far away to cause decarbonization soon enough. Johnson may claim that the country leads the world in climate action, but we should not fall for the trick.

A look behind the rhetoric reveals hypocrisy everywhere. For COP26, formally the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change, the government has set four main goals: zero global net for 2050, protection of communities and natural habitats, increased climate finance and strengthening the climate. international collaboration. But in practice, it pursues national and international policies that violate all goals.

In order to seal a free trade agreement with Australia, which recently ranked last in the world for combating greenhouse gas emissions, Johnson abandoned the text’s references to the temperature targets set by the Agreement. of Paris 2015. In addition to a bad example, it is an insult to nations especially vulnerable to climate change, who argue that a 1.5 degree Celsius limit is critical to their survival. For Mr. Johnson, international collaboration is good, as long as it does not hinder the national interest.

In September, Mr Johnson was urging countries to cough up more cash at the UN General Assembly in New York, part of an attempt to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to the breakup. climate. It was a bold gambit, especially because Britain lags far behind in its contribution to climate finance. His efforts have been described as “highly insufficient” by the Climate Action Tracker, which provides independent scientific analysis of climate policy.

But the most egregious double level is closer to home. Against the warnings of the Scottish government, the national government of Westminster is ready to approve 18 new oil and gas projects in the North Sea. One of the most important oil fields, known as Cambo, would drill a total of 150 to 170 million barrels of oil by 2050.

The new drilling is in line with the strategy of “maximizing economic recovery” by the Oil and Gas Authority, the body responsible for regulating British oil and gas resources. Approved by Parliament in 2015, it states that companies should aim to extract any oil or gas that is profitable. The government has the ultimate power to change this strategy and to stop Cambo if it wants to. But in addition to requiring the regulator to help achieve the net net zero targets by reducing production emissions, so far the government has been unable to intervene.

Cambo is the most egregious example of a political and economic approach that removes Britain from its high moral standard. The list of sins is long. It includes airport expansions, lost biodiversity targets, a failed attempt to insulate homes, not ruling out a new coal mine in Cumbria, and of course not regulating the world’s largest fossil fuel financiers in the city of London. At all times, the government has made it clear where its priorities really lie.

Most puzzling of all, these actions lie under a smokescreen of good words. The government may be a world leader in setting goals (there are 78 commitments in a new plan to decarbonize transport alone), but it cannot promise to get out of the escalation of heat waves, fires and floods. One of the government’s own climate advisers rated the new government out of 10 on targets, but said it was “somewhere below” four out of 10 in its efforts to meet them. The government’s expected strategy to achieve zero net emissions, which is expected to be released on Tuesday, is unlikely to change the outlook. Warm words will not stop a world from heating up.

This cognitive dissonance could be charitably called the result of an inability to reconcile climate goals with an economy forged by fossil fuels. But the bald truth is harder. Countries around the world, mainly in Britain, are deliberately pursuing an economic strategy that is heating up the planet to the devastation of communities everywhere. They prefer private gain to a habitable planet.

The period of time in which we can avoid the worst is reduced with each passing day. The two weeks of COP26, when governments have the opportunity to bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality, will be crucial for the planet. Either we continue on the path of a rapidly warming world or we alter the course of human civilization.

But no matter what happens in Glasgow, the storm no longer subsides. It is overloaded.

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