The Climate Action summit resulted in many 3 minute speeches consisting of promise after promise to do better, increase the use of renewable energy, and curb fossil fuel consumption. It also failed to deliver what had been hoped for by the organisers. Many businesses and private individuals also vowed aggressive targets … but … and this is the bottom line … the world’s largest emitters once again stopped short of committing to the sort of far-reaching new goals that scientists say is needed right now to rein in emissions.
In other words, while the various press releases put out give it all a very positive spin, all it translates into is this – we are slightly less fucked than we once were, but we are still fucked.
Greta told them the truth …
You can find the complete collection here. The most notable one is perhaps the closing release that strives to give it all a positive spin …
… 77 countries committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, while 70 countries announced they will either boost their national action plans by 2020 or have started the process of doing so.
Over 100 business leaders delivered concrete actions to align with the Paris Agreement targets, and speed up the transition from the grey to green economy, including asset-owners holding over $2 trillion in assets and leading companies with combined value also over $2 trillion.
Many countries and over 100 cities – including many of the world’s largest – announced significant and concrete new steps to combat the climate crisis….
A full list of the announcements and commitments made at the Climate Summit can be found at www.un.org/climatechange
Criticism of the Climate Action Summit
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg angrily told heads of state …
“You are failing us, The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say, we will never forgive you.”
UN Secretary General António Guterres …
“Dear friends, there is a cost to everything. But the biggest cost is doing nothing,”
“The biggest cost is subsidizing a dying fossil fuel industry, building more and more coal power plants, and denying what is plain as day: that we are in a deep climate hole, and to get out, we must first stop digging.”
French President Emmanuel Macron …
“We cannot let our youth spend every Friday demonstrating for the climate and simply answer, ‘Everything is fine, we are doing everything right, We are still far from the account.”
Andrew Steer, head of the World Resources Institute …
“Most of the major economies fell woefully short. Their lack of ambition stands in sharp contrast with the growing demand for action around the world, We need far greater national leadership on climate action – and we need it now.”
Trump turned up for about 15 minutes
He happened to be in the building for something else, hence attended briefly because he had 15 minutes to spare. When asked why, he pontificated with his usual BS …
“Because I believe in clean air and clean water, very simple. We have the cleanest air, we have the cleanest water.”
… says the guy vigorously rolling back EPA standards so that his rich buddies can squeeze a few more bucks. (See also here for the 85 clean air regulations he is rolling back).
What Comes Next
What will actually happen to the climate?
Climate Action Tracker that is maintained by a group of scientists published an analysis last week …
under current policies, the world will exceed 1.5°C of warming around 2035, 2°C around 2053, and 3.2°C by the end of the century.
If governments fully achieve the emissions cuts they have committed to, warming is likely to rise to 2.9°C – almost twice the 1.5°C limit they agreed in Paris.
Under both of these scenarios, there is a 10% chance of exceeding 4°C by the end of the century — and even up to a 25% chance based on the higher end of the current policies scenario.
New IPCC report tomorrow – Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC)
There is also the new IPCC report coming tomorrow (25th September 2019). As a rather not so subtle hint, it will not be good news …