COP26 in Glasgow has ended with an ambiguously worded ‘Glasgow Pact’ containing little of substance. Australia was able to hide its national interests behind those of China and India.
The last USA/China climate declaration in 2015 occurred just before a massive expansion in Chinese construction of coal-fired power stations both domestically and abroad. We also observe that the resource requirements of renewables (steel, cement, copper, etc) promise massive revenues for the likes of BHP and Rio, so selling (not closing) coal mines to free up cash for investment in such commodities is also good for business.
The demands from developing countries are unsurprising, given the global north is asking them to forego the very kind of development that provided them with the wealth they enjoy. Thus Vijaya Ramachandran, of the Breakthrough Institute, has decried ‘green colonialism’ in an essay in Foreign Policy magazine. Ramachandran is particularly scathing of Norway which, he points out, is the most fossil fuel-dependent affluent country in the world.
Commencement of the second week at COP26 produced few highlights, but Barack Obama’s tendentious address has at least enabled today examination of how climate politics has polluted climate science and driven noble cause corruption.
Michael Bloomberg, who in 2018 was appointed by Secretary-General Guterres as the UN Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, has been at Glasgow calling for an end to coal. He is also both a huge donor to anti-coal organisations and, it would seem, a beneficiary of their campaigns.
The attempt to secure agreement to the 1.5°C target continued, as Greenpeace sought to convey the impression it had already been agreed to, rather than just identified as an ambition. Meanwhile, Princess Eugenie “visited a makeshift polar bear camp”, “wearing a midi dress by Gabriela Hearst”. Climate Emergency chic!
Boris Johnson is leading a ‘bootlegger and Baptist’ coalition – with green zealots as the Baptists and the City of London financiers as the bootleggers.
Bill Gates pointed out he cost of subsidising countries to curb emissions was too great, said developed nations should focus instead on cutting the cost of green technology.
Also watered down – significantly for Australia – was the attempt to secure an end to construction of coal-fired power stations by 2030.
Finance for developing countries, recognition of cumulative emissions, and adaptation, are the three key issues being championed by the 24 states of the Like-Minded Developing Countries. They may cause the end of Boris Johnson’s dreams of glory at Glasgow.