In an unguarded moment Robinson Meyer of Heatmap Daily confesses that: “Before I came to COP, I knew that it was – to borrow the late historian Daniel Boorstin’s phrase – a pseudo-event, a spectacle that exists partially to be covered in the press…. What I did not realize is that many of the main COP proceedings are a kind of pseudo-event within a pseudo-event – a media-driven story that acts as an organizing narrative for the larger conference.” But if it’s all make-believe, well, um, let’s join the pretend fun: “None of this is to disparage COP. Even though it might be a pseudo-event, it can still change the world – it has changed the world.” He wrote those words on the 3rd day of this pseudo-pseudo-event. It has changed the world. Even though nothing has happened except the usual babble and the Guardian uncovering the chair’s brief, unwanted moment of reality, promptly buried in more pretence. As for that Guardian headline “Greenhouse gas emissions soar – with China, US and India most at fault” shortly after the conference started, um, pay no attention to that reality behind the pseudo-curtain.
Indeed, if you’re not reality-based, here’s some fun you can have in the climate alternative universe with or without magic mushrooms. According to Euronews.green, “COP28: Finance and gender in the spotlight on day five of the UN climate conference”. And if that doesn’t change your world, “Other topics on the table today were finance, trade, gender equality and accountability.” And tomorrow world peace? Not quite: “We’ll be back tomorrow as the focus turns to energy and industry, the just transition, and Indigenous Peoples.”
The same day Reuters “Sustainable Switch” emailed us that “COP28 – Climate finance takes center stage”. Not quite sure what happened to gender. But fear not:
“During the weekend at the summit, the UAE and several charities offered $777 million in financing for eradicating neglected tropical diseases that are expected to worsen as temperatures climb, as the conference focused on the themes of ‘health, relief, recovery, and peace’.”
So they’re onto world peace, as well as “recovery” from whatever, “relief” except from bloviation, and “neglected tropical diseases”. Oh, and gender too:
“So far, the United Nations Women launched its ‘Feminist Climate Justice: A Framework for Action’ report, which showed how climate change will push up to 158 million more women and girls into poverty and will plunge 236 million more women into hunger by 2050.”
Note the spurious precision. Not roughly 150 million, or a sixth of a billion, or some made-up number. No indeed; 158 million into poverty and 236 million into hunger. Though how you’d get 76 million pushed into hunger but not poverty is a bit hard to fathom since just about the first thing you do with money if you have any is buy food.
Compared to such triumphs, it’s hard to get all excited that “Today is Methane Day at COP28 in Dubai” even if “there has been a slew of new commitments to wrangle the highly potent, short-lived greenhouse gas” virtually none of which will lead to anything. Or that on UAE National Day, already a serious snooze, a bunch of world leaders went blah blah blah at one another at some big dinner including that:
“In one of the last speeches of the day, US vice-president Kamala Harris promised $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, claiming the country is “a leader in the effort to expand international climate finance”.
If you’re thinking “Oh, is she a world leader?” you have a point. As you do if you’re thinking talk is cheap. Even Climate Home News conceded that:
Now she has to get it past Republicans in Congress, something that kept the US from delivering all of Barack Obama’s 2014 $3 billion pledge.”
But don’t worry because “Italy, Switzerland, Portugal and Estonia have also announced GCF contributions at Cop28.” Estonia saves planet. Film at 11. (Canada, doing its usual prank-chattering-teeth turn on the world stage, promised to cough up a miserly $16 million for the feebly vaunted “loss and damage fund” but if that’s enough to mitigate the supposedly horrendous impact of global boiling it can’t be a big problem.)
Oh, and “Several world leaders condemned Israel’s resuming attacks on Gaza, among them Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and South Africa.” So we’ll save the climate and get rid of those pesky Jews while we’re at it. Is this a great conference or what?