We were a bit surprised to hear, in the midst of the thunderous sound of foreheads hitting desks as people tried to read the new IPCC WG6, that Canada’s former Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s return to private life involves becoming chair of a new UN panel on climate change. And if you’re thinking “What, another one?” or “Why do we need a new one when the UN just said its IPCC just handed down the last word on what’s going on and what to do?” well, you don’t know those people at the UN like we do. The vital purpose of this new group is to blame companies for being evil and crooked. The same companies who thought all their groveling ESG and Net Zero plans would turn their enemies into friends. Chumps.
When McKenna announced that she was not going to run again after being shuffled from Environment and Climate Change to boring old Infrastructure and Communities, McKenna said “Like many Canadians in the pandemic, which was really long and hard, I thought about what was really important to me, and it’s my kids and it’s climate change”. And while there is no question that political life is very hard on family life, you might have thought the latter goal would have been served by being a senior minister in a G7 national government. But no, evidently doing it for the UN is more fun.
If you’re still wondering why the UN needs another panel on climate change, we won’t talk about jobs for the boys and girls, since the news story didn’t say how much the 16 high-profile members of this group including “the Governor of the People’s Bank of China from 2002 to 2018” Zhou Xiaochuan would be paid to fly about, congratulate one another and nag the rest of us. Or what it’s actually for, though according to Climate Home News it’s the “High-Level Expert Group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities (HLEG)” and it will “be supported by a small full-time staff at the UN’s New York headquarters.” As the UN defines these things, as in vaguely but to their own closed-door satisfaction.
So perhaps you’re wondering what Ms. McKenna has to say on climate change that she has not already said. Or what expertise she brings to the table given that only after she left the portfolio, and so did her successor, was the Canadian government able to present a plan to lead the global fight against climate change that even then was remarkably short on useful details. But at least Ms. McKenna won’t find herself in the awkward position of having to harangue her successor, since her new group will be focused on “non-state entities”, so they will be drawing on the deep lack of expertise they collectively represent to instruct private companies the world over on what they should be doing. As the CBC reports,
“The 16-member panel will make recommendations before the end of the year on the standards and definitions for setting net-zero targets, how to measure and verify progress, and ways to translate that into international and national regulations. In addition to examining net-zero pledges by the private sector, the panel will also scrutinize commitments made by local and regional governments that don’t report directly to the UN.”
And let us guess: When Catherine McKenna, Bill Hare and a senior agent of the Chinese Communist Party look at private companies, they won’t like what they see.
As the UN’s own press release in fact admitted, mandated or both. It quotes perennial hyperventilating Secretary-General António Guterres that
“Despite growing pledges of climate action, global emissions are at an all-time high. They continue to rise. The latest science shows that climate disruption is causing havoc in every region – right now. We are in a race against time to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees. And we are losing. Governments have the lion’s share of responsibility to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century. Especially the G20. But we also urgently need every business, investor, city, state and region to walk the talk on their net-zero promises. To avert a climate catastrophe, we need bold pledges matched by concrete action. Tougher net-zero standards and strengthened accountability around the implementation of these commitments can deliver real and immediate emissions cuts.”
So there you are. Announcement and report in one tidy package. Saves time if not money. And companies, don’t say you weren’t warned.
You are hereby convicted of greenwashing. Trial to follow. Git a rope.