Sunday 7 November 2021

Nerd Church - No Time For A COP Out, There Is No Planet B


By now, you've probably heard of COP 26 - the global climate summit taking place in Glasgow.

(And if you haven't, it might be a good idea to ask yourself why your usual news source hasn't told you about it.)

COP26 started on 31st October, and will end on 12th November.

The general vibes (and I may be wrong about this, so please bare that in mind,) are that most of the headline agreements happened in the 1st week, with the world leaders present, with the details and logistics being hashed out by the civil servants, etc., in the 2nd.

'No Time For A COP Out, There Is No Planet B' next to a globe

Activist Greta Thunberg has been campaigning relentlessly for real change to come from this COP.

She told protestors on Friday (Nov 5th) that this COP had failed - that it's nothing but a greenwash over business as usual.

Her scathing criticisms have merit - we have not yet had the sweeping climate agreements that we so desparately need for the future of this planet. 

And the agreements which we do have leave a lot of gaps for politicians to slip through. 

But some agreements have been made.

Sky News has an excellent explainer of the agreements made so far, which you can see here to keep up with the latest developments. That's not sponsored or anything, it's just what I've been using a lot 😅

The main headlines (as far as I, a lone blogger, can see,) at time of writing, are as follows:

  • 40 countries have agreed to phase-out coal by either the 2030s or the 2040s, with poorer nations being given the longest to do so

  • India's prime minister Nerendra Modi has committed the country to net carbon zero by 2070. While this date is way beyond the 2050 date most countries are going for (in itself beyond what's actually needed,) many people say that this is, realistically, the earliest that India can achieve net zero.

  • Over 100 countries have agreed to cut methane - another greenhouse gas, it's not just CO2 that's a problem - by 30% by 2030.

Some companies have also been making significant pledges during COP - for example, the UK's 'big 5' supermarkets have agreed to halve the environmental impact of a weekly food shop by 2030.

The main aim of many countries and institutions is to limit global warming to 1.5C

 - which is still going to have a significant impact on our lives, but involves less death, chaos, destruction, and general apocalypse-y-ness than anything above that number.

Put simply, it's going to be difficult for the world to cope with 1.5C of warming. More than that is unthinkable for the lives, homes, and livelihoods of millions.

I'm always one for cautious optimism - but in this case, actions really need to follow words.

There have been many instances of countries around the world not meeting agreements, pledges, etc. in the past. And that means nothing changes.

And things need to change. We have no time for empty words.

And the UK's actions lately? Ain't been that great.

We have a government that claims to be green while slashing taxes on internal flights. 

We aren't a large island, we should have no need for more than a handful of internal flights on the mainland. We should have a rail network that can cope; as many on their way to Glasgow found this week, we don't.

We have a government that claims to be green while out-right rejecting tougher targets on air pollution.

We have a government that claims to be green while voting specifically to allow our water companies to dump raw sewage in our rivers and seas.

We have a government that claims to be green while refusing to pay to clear historic coal tips - tips which are at higher risk of collapse due to climate change, and which have killed before.

And there is a very real risk that, even if 90% of the world's population do everything (and I mean everything) they can, if the top 10% of earners don't do their bit, we may still not be able to limit warming to 1.5C

Yes, as I've mentioned before, the super-rich can do the most, the easiest, and the quickest, to seriously cut emissions.

But they don't.

So we all need to keep doing our bit 

- because it's us who'll suffer in the long run, not those at the top of the proverbial tree. 

And politicians? Need to get their butts in gear. 

I know that some of the things we, as a global society, need to do will be inconvenient, unpopular, maybe even a serious adjustment. 

But the leaders? They have to do them. They have to bring in these strategies, laws, restrictions, changes.

Because if they'd been more worried about doing the right thing than the popular thing a long time ago, we wouldn't be in this mess.

There's no time left for cop-outs. 

There is no Planet B.

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  1. This is all very true, Cee! I've recently read a book for an ecocriticism that compared greenwashing to the pinkwashing that occurs during breast cancer awareness. I think the carbon footprint of the menu for the politicians at the event speaks volumes.

    1. Yeah... I don't think the menu was ideal. It did display the CO2 though, if I remember right, so it was up to them to pick the lower emissions dishes (who knows whether they did.)

      It annoys me that they use distraction tactics when the quick, easy, and relatively painless sh** that the top 10% could do *right now* would do so much.


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