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Exploding harder

29 Nov 2023 | News Roundup

UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s ambition for the upcoming COP conference is that “The response to the global stocktake must light the fuse to an explosion of ambition in 2025.” So his metric for success isn’t achieving anything or even having ambitions to, it’s having ambitions to have ambitions. Not to be outdone The Economist sent us a tart email saying “The world must try harder on climate change”. Boo. Bad world. Slacker. Letting the people of the world down. Hey, wait a minute. Aren’t the “people of the world” the victims of “global warming”? Isn’t the world just a giant sphere hurtling through space, and it’s the human beings on the world who have conflicting wants, desires and pretentious plans? Isn’t the real question what this vast horde of loud-talking self-important wealthy people flying into Dubai hope to accomplish, or think they should hope to accomplish, at COP28 and what their standard of success will be? Or is that question just too awkward to think about?

The actual Economist article to which that email linked credits “the world” with a B+ on making commitments and a D- on the trivial matter of keeping them. And one wonders whether if all these grandiose promises only earn a B+ what you’d need to widen the gap to an A on pledges, and with the conspicuous failure to meet any of them what you’d need to do to fail. Or who goes around grading celestial bodies. Is Mars flunking?

Possibly Earth got one of those esteem-boosting soft D- grades. Thus the piece admits that the 2015 Paris COP was “somewhat impotent” since it “could not tell countries what to do” or “draw back the seas, placate the winds or dim the noonday sun”. And who doesn’t wish politicians could turn down the sun and “placate” pagan gods? However, the piece then said:

“it could at least lay down the law for subsequent COPs, decreeing that this year’s should see the first ‘global stocktake’ of what had and had not been done to bring the agreement’s overarching goals closer.”

Which is interesting since instead of such a stocktake occurring at COP28, if “stocktake” is even a thing, the article claims:

“As the world gathers in Dubai for the 28th COP, the assessment of the first part of that stocktake is in some ways surprisingly positive. At the time of the Paris COP, the global warming expected by 2100 if policies did not change was more than 3°C above pre-industrial levels. If policies in place today are followed, central estimates put it around 2.5-2.9°C, though the uncertainties are large.”

And for that we held six more COPs and implemented expensive, destructive energy policies in nearly every advanced nation while Communist China mocked us? To reduce “expected” warming from “more than 3°C” to “around 2.5-2.9°C” with margins of error that dwarf the size of these totally wild guesses? If you told the teacher six days of hard work had reduced the expected delay in turning in your paper from three weeks to 2.9 weeks with a large uncertainty you’d be lucky to escape with that D-. And here we’re talking six years.

Another Economist piece, by their “climate correspondent” whose self-description includes “Sometimes I write a newsletter about, like, my feelings”, says she’s not the only one:

“At the end of November more than 70,000 delegates will descend on Dubai for COP28, the United Nations climate-change summit. Pope Francis will be among them. So too will members of the Muslim Council of Elders, along with representatives from a wide cross-section of the world’s religions, from Buddhism to Zoroastrianism. All are scheduled to appear at a new ‘Faith Pavilion’, which will hold events throughout the conference.”

What on Earth, or some other plane of existence, is it all for? As that piece concedes:

“Many religious leaders will be making their second trip this month to the United Arab Emirates. Plenty already took part in the pre-summit ‘Confluence of Conscience’ meeting held in Abu Dhabi.”

And that one sure moved mountains… of apathy. Admit it. You never heard of it.

It occurs to us that if speeches at COP28 had to focus on what the country in question actually had done instead of what it wanted to do, you’d save a lot of time. Actually the process does seem to have swallowed its own tail and chewed its way up to its navel. And to nitpick, since the crisis is allegedly urgent, why not in 2024? Why wait a year to get energized?

Antonio Guterres, meanwhile, continues to confirm he has never met a metaphor he couldn’t beat to death. According to MSN:

“On the cusp of the COP28 climate talks, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited frozen but rapidly melting Antarctica and said Thursday that intense action must be taken at the conference where countries will address their commitments to lowering emissions of planet-warming gases. ‘We are witnessing an acceleration that is absolutely devastating,’ Guterres said about the rate of ice melt in Antarctica, which is considered to be a ‘sleeping giant.’ ‘The Antarctic is waking up, and the world must wake up,’ he added.”

Fact-checkers need to wake up, we say, and instead of gatekeeping climate clichés look into assertions about “rapidly melting Antarctica”.

Of course it really doesn’t seem that people who write these kinds of stories have the slightest idea where the future temperature estimates come from either, since the actual emissions pathways since 2015 have not improved as climate alarmists would define that term. It’s all just fiddling with parameters. How’s that real-world progress?

And the rest is fantasy too, from “A lot of this progress has come from cheaper and more widespread renewable energy” to “the International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental think-tank which, at the time of Paris, saw carbon-dioxide emissions continuing to rise into the 2040s, today says they are likely to peak within a few years.” So turn down the sun, they cry:

“the only way to stop the warming before reaching net zero is to cut the amount of sunshine the planet absorbs, perhaps by inserting particles into the stratosphere or whitening clouds over the ocean. The idea of ‘solar geoengineering’ alarms many climate scientists, activists and policymakers; but a number rightly see it as worth researching.”

Other accounts are equally fantastical. Reuters “Sustainable Switch” opines that:

“The countdown to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) is intensifying and European Union leaders are calling for a global deal at the summit to phase out fossil fuels, aiming to add pressure on countries to tackle CO2-emitting oil and gas.”

Pressure being an odorless, colourless gas that causes journalists to write headlines. (Like the self-parodying Hill Times headline “Advocates look for Canada to lead at COP28, but say credibility depends on meeting domestic commitments”; nobody, but nobody, is looking for Canada to lead at COP28.) Even if such a preposterous deal were to be made, nobody would agree to binding mechanisms and nobody would do it, especially not in a way that gets the world to “Net Zero” by 2050.

Climate Home News alerts trusting readers to “Expect drama at this year’s UN climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.” And it sounds action-packed:

“Emotions are running high as the Israel-Palestine conflict tests geopolitical alliances. In a region economically dependent on oil and gas exports, the imperative to quit fossil fuels will be front and centre. Countries at the sharp end of the climate crisis finally have loss and damage finance in sight and are fighting for a fair deal.”

So the UAE and Saudi Arabia might “quit fossil fuels”? And how about China? Um no. Will delegates bring Mideast peace? No. Will countries “at the sharp end of the climate crisis” that is hitting everyone harder than average get “a fair deal” that actually gets implemented? No. Of course not.

Back in the day, lofty ambitions carried the day and delegates danced or cried with relief as the final curtain fell. Then it came time to deliver, some time shortly after Paris, and it’s been just tears since. As even CHN knows; that piece ends that “On the official end date of the conference, barring a miracle, the real negotiations will just be getting started.”

So why even go?

7 comments on “Exploding harder”

  1. "European leaders are calling for a global deal...to phase out fossil fuels." While Germany refires coal plants to keep its population from freezing to death this winter, and the EU's most desperate deal is acquiring Russian and Israeli natural gas!

  2. All smoke and mirrors. If the supposed temperature rise in 2100 has decreased its because they are admitting their models are garbage, not that anything they are doing has an effect.
    And i will re-iterate that anyone who tries atmospheric geoengineering when we have little idea how the climate works needs to be given the full William Wallace treatment, on TV, broadcast to the world. Review the end of Braveheart if you are unsure what i'm calling for.

    It needs to be made clear what the personal consequences are. Starting with Bill Gates.

  3. So let me get this straight.The Climate Mafia wants to spend hundreds of trillions in coming decades for as little as a 0.1C decrease in temps???
    But we'd be sacrificing almost everything,like reliable energy,heated/cooled homes,private cars,healthcare,and on and on.Because THAT is what is
    required to try and reach this Dystopian fantasy called Net Zero.And does anyone,anywhere,think that the Saudis,Russians,Qateris,Venezuelans,
    China,India,et al are going to quit drilling for oil and gas or coal?Ever?Then we have some fine swampland you might be interested in...

  4. "the only way to stop the warming before reaching net zero is to cut the amount of sunshine the planet absorbs..." Wait, I thought they said the sun didn't impact climate change? Now it does? This climate thing is sooooooo complicated. Better step back and rethink this, eh.

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