Once again the hopes of billions have been raised only to be shattered, this time by the cruel joke of cop-26, the truth being that “By 2030, governments are planning to extract 110% more fossil fuels than their Paris agreement pledge to limit the temperature increase to 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels would permit.”
Since the Paris agreement in 2015, the world’s 60 largest banks have poured $3.8 trillion into fossil fuel companies. In the US, auctioning has begun of drilling rights in Alaskan waters and the Gulf of Mexico. In the UK, whose PM is talking about one minute to mid-night, 113 new licenses are offered to explore offshore reserves. Germany is developing new coal deposits. Australia, accounting for about 29% of traded coal globally in 2016, has become the world’s largest coal exporter and near-largest natural gas (LNG) exporter, currently representing around 3.6% of global emissions.
Misrepresentations and errors abound:
- The United Nations upper global temperature target of 5oC takes no account of the fact that, without the transient short-lived aerosols effect of over 0.5 to 1.0 Watt/m-2 the mean global heating is nearing ~2.0oC.
- It is the cumulative concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which controls temperatures, triggering feedbacks from land and oceans, and which has reached a high level of combined CO2+CH4+NO2 of >500 ppm CO2-equivalent. Only sequestration/drawdown from this level may be able to lower terrestrial temperatures.
- Polar temperature changes are critical: The Arctic temperature anomaly has reached +3oC and the increasing similarity between polar and northern latitude temperatures leads to weakening of the jet stream boundary effect, allowing cold and warm air masses to cross the boundary (Figure 1).
- The tropical climate zone is expanding and Mediterranean climate zone, where much of the world’s crops are grown, is shrinking and shifting toward the poles.
- As the polar ice sheets are melting sea levels are rising, initially on the scale of inches and subsequently toward as equilibrium with Pliocene-like temperatures of ~25 meters, flooding extensive coastal zones and delta where billions live and grow food.
What the above means is that, unless civilization moves to a war-like footing, such as in pre-World War II, in an attempt to reduce and sequester carbon emissions from industrial, agricultural and transport sectors, large parts of the Earth may become uninhabitable.
It is the children, led by an 18 years-old girl, who appear to have the right perspective on what will determine their future, that of humanity and nature.
The alternative is unthinkable.
Figure 1. The weakened undulating jet stream of the Arctic boundary, allowing freezing air masses from the north and warm air masses from the south to cross the boundary.
Andrew Glikson is an Earth and paleo-climate scientist at the Australian National University, studied geology at the University of Jerusalem and graduated at the University of Western Australia. He conducted geological surveys of the oldest geological formations in Australia, South Africa, India and Canada, underpinning the effects of large asteroid impacts, including their effects on the atmosphere and oceans and the mass extinction of species. Since 2005 he studied the relations between climate and human evolution. His latest book is The Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinction. He can be reached at Geospec@iinet.net.au.
[DS added the video.]
“COP26 Is a Failure”: Greta Thunberg Condemns U.N. Climate Summit as a “Greenwash Festival”
Democracy Now! on Nov 8, 2021
Eighteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg called COP26 a “failure” when she addressed the Fridays for Future rally in Glasgow, which drew around 25,000 demonstrators. Her address comes after Thunberg dismissed climate leaders a month prior to the U.N. climate summit for political inaction. “The COP has turned into a PR event where leaders are giving beautiful speeches and announcing fancy commitments and targets, while behind the curtains the governments of the Global North countries are still refusing to take any drastic climate action,” said Thunberg on Friday. “This is not a conference. This is now a Global North greenwash festival.”
Greta Thunberg: “They know exactly what they are doing. They know exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing to maintain business as usual. The leaders are not doing nothing; they are actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves and to continue profiting from this destructive system. This is an active choice by the leaders to continue to let the exploitation of people and nature and the destruction of present and future living conditions to take place.”
From the archives: