When the history of the climate crisis is written, what world awaits us? cop 27 It will be seen as the moment when the dream of keeping global warming below 1.5°C died.
Does this mean surrender? of course not. The 1.5°C target is not a threshold beyond which hope dies either. Every bit of a degree means an increase in human suffering and therefore must be fought for. How? With all we have, to tear down the barrier between us and climate stability: the fossil fuel industry.
The 1.5°C target, behind which the most catastrophic climate impacts lie, is not physically impossible to achieve. To achieve this, carbon emissions must be global by 50% by 2030Until now record levels of pollution It is still being pumped into the atmosphere.
The scientific warnings ahead of Cop27 couldn’t be louder: We’re on On the verge of irreversible climate collapse. However, behind closed doors at the summit, fossil fuel nations have forced other countries to fight tooth and nail just to maintain an inadequate status quo.
A Saudi delegate said on Friday: “We should not target energy sources. We should focus on emissions. We should not mention fossil fuels.” Despite the efforts of many other countries, the text of the final resolution fails to duly mention the phase-out of fossil fuels.
It is extraordinary that in 30 years of UN climate negotiations, the elimination of the main cause of global warming has not been mentioned in the resolutions. Given that next year’s UN climate summit will be hosted by a petro-state, the United Arab Emirates, it’s hard to see how a crackdown on fossil fuels will play out there, too.
The world should rush off fossil fuel addiction as if lives depend on it, because they do, but he runs at once. The 1.5C goal may not yet be physically impossible, but Cop27 has shown that it is politically impossible.
So what now? It is still necessary to get rid of coal, oil and gas as quickly as possible. every ton of carbon dioxide2 What remains in the land means less harm to lives and livelihoods.
Can the UN climate talks achieve this quickly? It doesn’t look that way. It’s all too easy for fossil fuel nations to conduct consensus-based negotiations for ransom, threatening to blow everything up if their black gold is mentioned too often by name. There were more fossil fuel lobbyists working on Cop27 than delegates from the Pacific Islands, pushed below the waves by their industry.
Instead, the fossil fuel industry has Unreasonable expansion plans You will need to fight elsewhere. The first place is in the mind. The global oil and gas industry has achieved an average equivalent of $1 trillion annually in unearned profits Over the past fifty years by exploiting a natural resource belonging to the citizens. Imagine redirecting that financial firepower into decarbonising the world.
The fossil fuel industry can also be fought in the streets, in peaceful protest, and on lands plundered by its expansion. Countries can avoid petro-states by forming “Climate ClubIt is a proposal by the Group of Seven to enable the ambitious to race forward and punish the laggards.
a Fossil fuel ban treaty It would provide a transparent way to keep remaining coal, oil and gas reserves intact. Even a tobacco-style ban on fossil fuel advertising, already With support from the World Health Organization, that would help. All this and more will be needed.
Cop27 has achieved something. The New loss and damage fund Promises of financing to rebuild the poorest and most vulnerable countries that have been affected Increasingly severe weather effects They didn’t do much to make it happen. It is a long overdue recognition of the moral responsibility that large polluters bear for the climate emergency. Most important of all, the failure of Cop27 to deliver emissions reductions means worse disasters.
Is there a hope? Yes, in that every climate action we take reduces damage. As Cop27 closes in, Cathy Gitnell-Kijner, poet and climate envoy for the Marshall Islands, said: “I wish fossil fuels were phased out. But we have shown through the Loss and Damage Fund that we can do the impossible. So we know we can come back.” [to Cop] next year and get rid of fossil fuels once and for all.”
I hope you are right. I’m afraid she’s wrong.