Monday December 30th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: At The End Of The 2020s We Are In The Wrong Path Forward To End The Climate Crisis
Dear Diary. I invite all to look at my more than 1000 past daily blogs I have posted since starting this site in the spring of 2017. One can see a running theme here. Despite trying to stay positive on each post, I don’t have much good news at the end of the 2010s. We are loosing the Climate War, which is the fault I squarely blame on the tentacles of fossil fuel companies via their lobbyists, advocates, and plans for the future.
Today’s main topic will be addressed in two parts. First let’s see what fossil fuel lobbyists and advocates have done recently at the very important COP25 Climate Conference held in Madrid via Desdemona Despair:
December 29, 2019
Five reasons the COP25 climate talks failed – “The world is screaming out for climate action but this summit has responded with a whisper”
The COP25 sign at the entrance to the venue as the negotiations go 42 hours over time, making it the longest COP in UNFCCC history. Photo: Kiara Worth / IISD / ENB
25 December 2019 (AFP) – The climate summit in Madrid earlier this month did not collapse — but by almost any measure it certainly failed.
Five years after the fragile UN process yielded the world’s first universal climate treaty, COP25 was billed as a mopping-up session to finish guidelines for carbon markets, thus completing the Paris Agreement rulebook.
Governments faced with a crescendo of deadly weather, dire alarms from science and weekly strikes by millions of young people were also expected to signal an enhanced willingness to tackle the climate crisis threatening to unravel civilization as we know it.
The result? A deadlock and a dodge. […]
Global temperature anomalies, 1880-2019 showing differences between recorded temperatures and the 20th-century average for the corresponding month. Data: NOAA. Graphic: Simon Malfatto / AFP
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres labelled COP25 “disappointing”. Others were more blunt.
“The can-do spirit that birthed the Paris Agreement feels like a distant memory,” said Helen Mountford of Washington-based think tank World Resources Institute (WRI).
“The world is screaming out for climate action but this summit has responded with a whisper,” noted Chema Vera, executive director of Oxfam International.
So what went wrong?
At least five factors contributed to the Madrid meltdown.
To an unsettling degree, the outcome of a UN climate summit — where 196 nations must sign off on every decision — depends on the savvy and skill of the host country, which acts as a facilitator.
The stars were not aligned for the chaotic Copenhagen summit of 2009 and the Danish prime minister’s less-than-deft manoeuvering did not help. By contrast, the 2015 climate treaty was in no small measure made possible by France’s diplomatic tour-de-force.
Carolina Schmidt, COP 25 President, Chile, tells people “Let’s get to work,” at the closing plenary session, 15 December 2019. Photo: Kiara Worth / IISD / ENB
This year, Chile’s environment minister Carolina Schmidt wielded the hammer after the conference was moved at the last minute to Madrid due to massive protests on the streets of Santiago.
From Day One, when Schmidt’s mishandling of a request from the African negotiating bloc mushroomed into a diplomatic incident, veteran observers worried that she was not up to the job. […]
Fox in the henhouse
Among the nearly 30,000 diplomats, experts, activists and journalists accredited to attend the summit were hundreds of high-octane fossil fuel lobbyists.
They are collectively the elephant in the room: everyone knows what causes climate change but it is considered impolitic within the UN climate bubble to point fingers.
Even the Paris Agreement turns a blind eye: nowhere in its articles does one find the words oil, natural gas, coal, fossil fuels, or even CO2. […]
At COP25, members of civil society pay tribute to environmental activists who were killed in the defence of the environment, 9 December 2019. Photo: Kiara Worth / IISD / ENB
“Is there no space free from greenwashing,” asked Mohamed Adow, director of climate think tank Power Shift Africa.
“The UN climate negotiations should be the one place that is free from such fossil fuel interference.”
The Trump effect
On 4 November 2020 — the day after US voters will renew Donald Trump’s mandate or turn him out of office — the United States is set to formally withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
It will be the second time that a Republican White House has plunged a dagger in the heart of a climate treaty nurtured by the Democratic administration that preceded it — the Kyoto Protocol was the previous one.
At COP25, Oxfam activists wear full head masks depicting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and U.S. President Donald Trump as they protest at the venue for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, on Monday, 9 December 2019. Photo: Sergio Perez / Reuters
From the moment Trump was elected — on Day Two of COP22 in Marrakesh — advocates of climate action have played down the negative impact of the world’s largest economy and second biggest carbon polluter pulling out of the Paris deal.
But the corrosive “Trump effect” was palpable in Madrid, as was the anger at Washington for twisting arms even as it walked out the door.
“There are one or two parties that seem hell-bent on ensuring any calls for ambition, action, and environmental integrity are rolled back,” said Simon Stiell, Grenada’s environment minister. […]
China at the wheel
When it comes to climate change, Beijing holds the fate of the planet in its hands.
China accounts for 29 percent of global CO2 emissions, more than the next three countries — the US, Russia, India — combined, according to the Global Carbon Project.
Its carbon footprint has tripled in 20 years from 3.2 to 10 billions tonnes in 2018.
The core commitment of China’s voluntary carbon cutting plan, annexed to the Paris treaty, is to stabilise its CO2 output by 2030.
Experts agree that China could hit that mark earlier and more countries are asking Beijing — ever so gingerly — to promise it will.
Granada’s minster Stiell called out half-a-dozen rich and emerging economies — including China and India — for not revising their voluntary plans in line with a world in which warming does not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Failure to do so, he said, “shows a lack of ambition that also undermines ours”.
“China’s emissions, like the rest of the world’s, need to peak imminently, and then decline rapidly,” for the world to stay under 1.5C or even 2C, according to the Climate Action Tracker, a consortium that analyses climate commitments.
But Beijing has been coy about its intentions. Going into Madrid, it hinted at a revised target ahead of COP26.
But during the Madrid meeting, China dug in its heels and — backed by India — invoked the principle that rich countries must take the lead in addressing climate change, calling out their failure to deliver on promises made. […]
Spitting into the wind
Perhaps the most daunting headwind facing UN climate talks is rising nationalism, populism and economic retrenchment — all at the expense of the multilateralism.
“The stalemate over carbon markets is a symptom of a more general polarisation and lack of cooperation among countries,” said Sebastien Treyer of the IDDRI think tank in Paris.
Street protests, meanwhile, against the rise in cost-of-living in France, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt and more than two dozen other countries in 2019 have given governments already reluctant to invest in a low-carbon future another reason to baulk.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid, Spain on 11 December 2019. Photo: Cristina Quicler
“These cases highlight how sensitive populations are to change in the price of basic commodities like food, energy, and transport,” noted Stephane Hallegatte of the World Bank.
“This is the context in which most countries have committed to stabilise climate change.” [more]
The second part of today’s main topic concentrates on fossil fuel company plans for the future. Fast forward to the year 2040 and here we see long range dirty plans without regard for the climate and the human race in general:
I invite all to read the linked Inside Climate News Article.
Here I will get on my soapbox about capitalism and the short term bottom line. It’s easy to continue practices that rake in money but hard to invest in new practices, which will loose money in the short term but be good for everyone in the long term. After all, what company has ever walked away from low hanging fruit? For a big oil company like Shell, one sector might be investing in green energy while simultaneously another sector is looking at ways to expand gasoline production to maximize profits. This is where big government regulation, international treaties, and carbon taxes step in, but brown energy companies seem to be fighting these at every step of the way.
I honestly don’t know if any international effort can stymie big brown energy, but I am counting on young people to make some fundamental changes. Let’s support them as we move into the 2020s. Simply put, we all collective just need to say “NO!” to big oil.
Here is more climate and weather news from Monday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)
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Guy Walton- “The Climate Guy”