THE BRIEF [Nov 8-14'21]

Coal to be phased down (not out), 6 countries agree to stop fossil fuel extraction and promises to come back with new pledges next year...

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Weekly Climate 🎉

References: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5] and [6].

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This week will be focused on what has been happening at COP26, so for this issue you’ll see a longer text about that here in the beginning and then I will have a few other news items further down.

COP26 is over and all we got were these lousy pledges

If your house is on fire do you (A) put it out or (B) pledge to put it out at some later date? You choose (A) right? But what if you don’t (want to) believe your house to be on fire?

I went to a birthday party last week for one of my great friends and the birthday boy in question held a really interesting speech about the nature of consciousness. It ended up going knee deep in things like the double slit experiment which seems to prove that there is no such thing as an objective reality.

I think COP26 is an excellent macro example of why this must be true: There are no objective reality.

On one side we have the “awakened”. People like you and me who are aware of the climate crisis and how big a challenge it is. We may disagree on exactly how many people are going to die, who it is and how much of the Earth we will lose, but all in all we agree that something must be done now. And that unites us.

On another side we have the people that so far hasn’t really awoken yet to the reality of the climate crisis. This could simply be that they have plenty of other and very valid things to think about and spend their time on but they’re so far completely neutral in this sense. And thus should be assumed our allies until otherwise proven.

Finally, we have the politicians, the fossil fuel industry and the other big polluters who are very clearly aware of the problem (since it’s threatens their business model, yes I’m talking about politicians in this regard as well for obvious “lobbyistic” reasons), but who clearly live in a completely different reality. One in where it’s totally ok to continue to burn fossil fuels and pollute. To continue to support said major polluters with everybody’s hard earned tax money and just continue to promise the world goals and pledges for a better future right until the moment we run the civilization off the cliff.

That’s my review of COP26.

But if you want facts from the reality of some of the best journalists around so you can make your own reality, do read on.

If you need a quick brush-up on the COP26, then this article does a good job of summing up the key points that were agreed on (of course you can also go back and read the previous newsletter) and here’s a good picture series of what happened.

Now for the key events last week:

  • Here’s an important reminder of what any and all climate solutions we chose to deploy must contain: Justice. Here exemplified by the Yellow Vests protests in France.

  • Stop me if you heard this one before. The end result of COP26 is: Countries should submit more ambitious targets next year. Seriously. How stupid do they think we are…

  • Oh and stop me if you heard this one before: Rich countries pledges some, but nowhere near enough (let alone just committing to what they already pledged at earlier COPs) money in climate aid to poorer nations.

  • Coal will be “phased down” (and therefore not *out*).

  • Probably one of the best ideas to come out of COP26 is Denmark and Costa Rica’s attempt to launch the Beyond Oil & Gas alliance which is a concrete plan to end oil and gas extraction. It hasn’t gained much support yet though as so far only France, Ireland, Sweden, Wales, Greenland, and Québec has joined. These last two things (coal and stop oil and gas extraction) is quite literally one of the only things we really have to do. It’s do or die for the climate crisis. Yet so few countries sign up to actually do it at the biggest political event of the year for the climate crisis. That’s just… totally and utterly pathetic if you ask me. This was made abundantly clear when a new draft of the COP26 agreement was released on Friday in which the language to reduce fossil fuel subsidies was completely watered down to nothing. And you know what I was kind of debating whether to just stop my coverage of COP26 and even to just stop publishing Weekly Climate today because what else really matters than stopping the fossil fuel industry? But yeah. I decided to just go on like this didn’t happen. But please remember that it indeed did.

  • Some countries are better though and some countries are quite a lot worse. Among the most pathetic examples are surely Australia‘s climate “commitments”. That guy Morrison must be so knee deep in fossil fuel money…

  • On the positive side-ish… of which there are not much to report. US and China issues a common declaration in which they declare to work on the climate crisis together. Is it just me though, or shouldn’t they have done that like 10-20 years ago?

The end result unfortunately, is pretty clear: We’re in for 2.4C warming with the current trajectory. And that is simply not good enough — it even violates the Paris Agreement from 2015 (it should be said another competing analysis claims 1.8C so it comes down to if you believe Climate Action Tracker (2.4C) or the fossil fuel friendly IEA (1.8C)). It shows with all clarity that our leaders don’t have the guts to stand up to the axis of evil that are putting profit over civilization. And that … yeah I don’t really know what to say.

I’m going to finish off the coverage of COP26 with these articles about furious activists because they at least make me hopeful that when this generation of pathetic politicians retire that there’s a new generation who will put the world back on track. How many people will need to die and how much of the Earth’s pristine beauty we will permanently lose is the only question left. So here’s to hope:

That’s it for this week folks! 

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