If it wasn’t clear before the start of this COP on Climate Change, then it has been made starkly clear now: the governments of the world are unwilling to take the steps necessary to tackle Climate Change: and to keep global warming under 1.5°C.

The conclusion of this COP saw the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom stand in full view of the world and make yet more promises to act…  promises which included new promises to fulfil the old promises that were made previously and upon which governments have not delivered; such as the $100bn per year by 2020 to aid less-affluent countries, (a promise made in 2009) in the fight against Climate Change.

Amongst the ‘new’ new promises, were statements from selected governments to halt deforestation (by 2030) and others to cut their methane emissions by 30% (also by 2030).  It doesn’t appear that there was any consensus from all participants on any key dramatic actions: notably, the target of net zero emissions by 2050 was not agreed upon by major polluters such as China, India and Russia.  Indeed China has said that its emissions will reach a peak by 2030 at the latest – which means that they will continue to rise in the foreseeable future.

Set against these ‘promises’ are the actions that the governments themselves are taking, such as the fact that Australia has recently approved the extension of another 3 coal mines; that under Jair Bolsonaro deforestation has greatly accelerated in Brazil and that the UK has recently sought to increase trade with countries on the other side of the globe rather than seek trading partners closer to home.  (Not to mention that the government of the United Kingdom is actively considering opening a new coal mine and oil field…)  It seems apparent that the world governments are continuing to take the approach of saying one thing and doing another.

So what should be concluded from all of this?  Do the governments of the world not believe that Climate Change is a reality?  Perhaps the leaders of the world governments are unwilling to act because they personally believe that they will not be re-elected if they implement real change (although I doubt that Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping suffer from that particular fear…)?  Or perhaps they are simply responding to their true paymasters – the large corporations and banks and oil companies – and are fawning to their desire to continue making money.  Why else would governments around the world continue to subsidise the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $5.9 trillion per year.  Yes! trillions…  forget the measly $100bn that rich countries can’t find to support climate change action, the fossil fuel industry gets TRILLIONS!

And Boris Johnson has the temerity to suggest that the public should hold major corporations to account for the deforestation pledge!!  At the end of his closing speech, Boris Johnson took questions from reporters – one of which queried the level of confidence that can be attributed to a promise from Brazil that they will halt deforestation by 2030.  The response from the British Prime Minister was to say that “it is not just world leaders that are saying this…companies that buy commodities that result from deforestation will not be invested in…” he went on to say that “there has been an agreement by companies around the world that they will no longer support or invest in commodities… that result from deforestation” and that the pressure to act on this “comes from consumers around the world who will say… that if they break that pledge there will be a democratic, consumer price to pay”.  Boris Johnson maintains that there has been a “…shift in the balance of power towards consumers, towards people who care about it and who want to stop the forests being chopped down”.

Isn’t it comforting to know that the governments of the world can make all of these promises, and that they have no expectation that they are responsible for ensuring that even their own promises are kept… after all, they can simply make more promises can’t they?  These idiots are paid to represent the needs and wants of their populations – and yet they expect not to have to act to see them implemented or respected.

This appalling abrogation of governmental responsibility is symptomatic of the modern political environment and unfortunately, it is also the sad reality of humanity’s attempts to limit climate change… governments will continue to act as they do, but if there is any accountability to be found it is through the acts of consumers – for that is what we now are…

As was mentioned in my previous COP 26 blog, a recent UN Report highlighted that there is a clear majority of people who wish for ‘wide-ranging’ action to be taken… and yet the governments of the world are still too afraid to act because the reality of the situation is that governments no longer function to represent the people, they exist only to serve the great and powerful economy, and therefore they respond only to pressure from those economic institutions large enough to be able to bring their finances to bear on the personal future of individual politicians.

Perhaps if societies’ had political systems which allowed the citizens to tangibly hold their representatives to account things would not be so bad…  perhaps the next civilisation will have better judgement in the management of their societies…  one can only hope.

One Reply to “COP 26 Part 2 – Unwillingness to Act”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *