Did anyone accomplish anything?
The first week of COP26 in Glasgow has passed and the second week is left.
200 of the world’s leaders, more than 20.000 delegates represented by officials, representatives from multinational companies, bank, investment and capital funds, song and film stars and ten thousand of protesters have gathered in Glasgow to negotiate and discuss new climate goals.
Many came by private jets, e.g. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Jeff Bezos from Amazon, Prince Charles, President of the USA Joe Biden and many others. All together, the planes released more than 13,000 tons CO2 into the atmosphere.
I’ll try to sum up what has happened since the conference began. In Denmark the Corona situation and our Prime Ministers blatantly bad management of the so called mink case, has made larger headlines this week than COP26. Here’s a short overview over the first week’s agreement and happenings.
The big ones
The Indian Prime Minister Modi has announced that India – among the world’s 4 largest emitters of CO2 – will make half of their power supply through renewable energy sources by 2030 and reach net zero emission by the end of 2070 (all green house gases).
The last goal is considered to be very ambitious – even over ambitious – but the announcement is in sharp contrast to what Saudi Arabia (world’s large crude oil producer) and Russia (world’s largest gas producer) have committed to.
Logging – both legal and illegal – and forest fires are contributing massivly to the climate changes as the forests absorp enormous amounts of CO2 . Every minute, seven days a week , 365 days a year what is equivalent to 30 football fields, is logged. An agreement to stop logging was reached the first week of COP26. 100 of our top leaders agreed to reverse logging by 2030. Brazil – every year logging enormous parts of the Amazon – also agreed to this. However, none of the agreements have been kept so far, and critics anticipate the same will happen to this agreement.
Private and public funding back the latest agreement, 19.2 billion USD have been promised to stop logging, plant new trees and help the industrien in developing countries that live from logging and prevent massive forest fires.
CO2 is by far the biggest culprit among the green house gases, but methane also has a huge impact on climate changes. Methane (marsh gas or swamp gas), is primarily emitted from the oil and gas industry, decomposition of organic matters, but especially cow farts are a major emitter. Our consumption of beef has been increasing steadily the last few decades and thereby the emission of methane. More than 90 countries – equivalent to 2/3 of the total world economy – have agreed to reduce methane emission with 30% by 2030. A late, but very important agreement.
It’s quite interesting – maybe even thought provoking – that neither China, Russia nor India have signed this agreement.
Green house gasses produced by burning coal, are solely responsible for the largest emission. Scientists consider phasing out coal as critically important to the reduction of the global temperature rise.
Alok Sharma, the British president for COP26 has commented that phasing out coal is within reach, e.g. by closing existing coal fired power plants and prohibiting building new.
Note, Australia, India, USA and China have not signed the agreement.
Also note, the world economy is still mainly dependent to the production of power from coal, there are no renewable energy sources that can substitute coal in the speed which is required to suspend or reduce the emission of green house gases.
Tens thousands have been protesting in the streets, mainly in Glasgow, but also in other major cities. Demanding action now, that our leaders don’t take it seriously and that solutions and agreements come at a too slow pace.
I couldn’t agree more.
Of course Greta Thunberg also came along, called the negotiations for blah, blah, blah and sang some tunes together with her faithful co-protesters. Greta is celebrated like a prophet, a new Messiah and you almost believe she has her own cult. However, she did not utter not much sensible in the past week. So I’m looking forward to what the teenager will say and speak this week.