After WWII, in our attempt to solve shared global problems, we created the United Nations. The U.N. did support fighting and resolution of the fighting when North Korea invaded South Korea, which led to a demilitarized zone that stands today. However, today’s U.N. seems unable to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or, even more globally, our nations’ collective ability to solve a climate crisis we’re already experiencing and that’s been proven can wipe out our ability to live on this planet. I’ll add suggestions afterwards.
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COP27: We’re on a highway to
climate hell, U.N. boss says
and Simon Jessop
Reuters, SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT
Nov 7, 2022
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres told countries gathered at the start of the COP27 summit in Egypt on Monday they face a stark choice: work together now to cut emissions or condemn future generations to climate catastrophe.
The speech set an urgent tone as governments sit down for two weeks of talks on how to avert the worst of climate change, even as they are distracted by Russia’s war in Ukraine, rampant consumer inflation and energy shortages. Guterres told delegates gathered in the seaside resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh …
“Humanity has a choice:
cooperate or perish.”
He called for a pact between the world’s richest and poorest countries to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels and funding to ensure poorer countries can reduce emissions and cope with the climate impacts that have already occurred. He said …
“The two largest economies – the
United States and China – have
a particular responsibility to join
efforts to make this pact a reality.”
Despite decades of climate talks – the Egypt COP is the 27th Conference of the Parties – progress has been insufficient to save the planet from excessive warming as countries are too slow or reluctant to act, he noted. He said …
“Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing.
Global temperatures keep rising. And our
planet is fast approaching tipping points
that will make climate chaos irreversible.
We are on a highway to climate hell
with our foot on the accelerator.”
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, also speaking at the event, said global leaders have a credibility problem when it comes to climate change. He criticized developed nations’ ongoing pursuit of gas resources in Africa, which he described as “fossil fuel colonialism.” Gore said …
“We have a credibility problem all of
us: We’re talking and we’re starting
to act, but we’re not doing enough.
“We must see the so-called ‘dash for
gas’ for what it really is: a dash
down a bridge to nowhere, leaving
the countries of the world facing
climate chaos and billions in strand-
ed assets, especially here in Africa.”
UAE TO CARRY ON PUMPING OIL, GAS
Immediately after Guterres’ speech, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahya took the stage and said his country, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, would continue to produce fossil fuels for as long as there is a need. He said …
“The UAE is considered a respon-
sible supplier of energy and it will
continue playing this role as long as
the world is in need of oil and gas.”
The UAE will host next year’s U.N. conference, which will attempt to finalise agreements made last year in Britain and at this year’s Egyptian talks.
Many countries with rich resources of oil, gas, and coal have criticized the push for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels arguing it is economically reckless and unfair to poorer and less developed nations keen for economic growth.
Signatories to the 2015 Paris climate agreement had pledged to achieve a long-term goal of keeping global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the threshold at which scientists say climate change risks spinning out of control.
Guterres said that goal will only stay alive if the world can achieve net zero emissions by 2050. He asked countries to agree to phase out the use of coal, one of the most carbon-intense fuels, by 2040 globally, with members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development hitting that mark by 2030.
The head of the International Monetary Fund told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference that climate targets depend on achieving a global carbon price of at least $75 a ton by the end of the decade, and that the pace of change in the real economy was still “way too slow”.
The World Trade Organization, meanwhile, said in a report published on Monday that it should tackle trade barriers for low carbon industries to address the role of global trade in driving climate change.
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In case you’re wondering what all the fuss is really about – as you may not have personally experienced anything you’d call “catastrophic” or “life threatening,” and as most of the disaster reports come from afar – why is there urgency now?
And what can I, as an individual do about it? I asked D for comments …
“There’s not a place on Earth that will not be affected by climate change. And yet, some places will be more difficult to live in than others. At this time, from a world perspective, much of Africa and places like Pakistan have taken the brunt of change in their climate. Africa, because of lack of rain, now finds the Nile drying up. Conversely, Pakistan is drowning in too much water.
“You can readily see millions of people trying to get away from starvation to build a new life. That is already occurring in both those large geographic areas.
“In the United States and Australia, you have large swaths of land that have high potential for fires … almost continuously … almost throughout the year. In the United States, the mighty Mississippi and the Colorado rivers are lower than any time recorded history shows them to be.
“All this change needs your personal attention, because change will only come from the ground up. Each person needs to ask “What can I do to live with less fossil fuel?” It is imperative to make these changes sooner than later; later will make very little difference; sooner helps you and the planet.
- “Change, such as to photovoltaics for electrical power and for electric cars are important starts.
- “Moving from gas stoves to induction electric is also really healthy.
- “Buying food locally and in season cuts the amount of fuel used to transport food; they’re examples of changes each household can make.
“Try something. Do something. And do it as soon as you can.
“Do it for yourself and for future generations.”
This COP27 report ultimately tells me: If we want to live on this planet, we need to take action, ourselves, not wait for these national representatives to solve the problem on our behalf. They’ve had more than enough time to do so. The actions suggested by D are easy to do. In developing our net zero sustainable community, I can also add that the changes will lead to an improvement in lifestyle. It was aesthetics, a “quality-of-life” factor, not being Earth-friendly or saving money on utility bills that led people to buy one of our net zero homes. I like WalMart’s slogan: “Save money. Live better.”
The suggestions D makes will lead to both.