At COP24 last weekend the United States sided with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in blocking progress by refusing to allow a UN commissioned report to be “welcomed.” The report was discussed a little in the last post, as it was the one which was a wake-up call to the world on October 8, 2018. It said, in part, that we are on track for 3 degrees warming and that 3 degrees will spell widespread disaster.
Things did not improve at COP24 as the week went on. On Tuesday Vanuatu accused the USA and other large emitters of intentionally obstructing progress. Today, Thursday, December 13th, it seems hope is fading for any significant accomplishments at COP24.
Questions arise from this. In public and private discussions there is an underlying sense of “how can they do this?” and, “how can leaders just go there and not do anything, or worse yet, scuttle progress?” Or “don’t they know what this is going to do to our children?” They are not always asked, but the questions are often present under the surface.
We all wonder, “how can they just condemn the next generation to a nightmare future, to food shortages, droughts, fires, and resulting migration, war, disease and deaths?” There is an assumption that we can appeal to people’s basic goodness.
Saudi Arabia recently murdered an American journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, in their embassy in Turkey. The assassins allegedly started chopping him up while he was still alive. Most people in the know seem to agree that the Saudi leadership had to have ordered it. The President of the United States then condoned it publicly.
It would be an oversimplification to say that, regarding climate change, there are four bad guys, and all other nations are good. It’s a spectrum, with few countries, if any, really qualifying as the “good guys.” In fact, the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2019, released a few days ago, clearly refutes any notion of there being true saviours here. Co-author Niklas Höhne said, “[t]here are bright spots in all categories, but no country performs well in all categories.” CCPI 2019 notes that global emissions are rising and there is a “lack of political will” to take the necessary steps to address climate change.
All that said, are there any further questions?