“GLASGOW, Scotland — Exhausted negotiators from nearly 200 nations struck a deal Saturday intended to propel the world toward more urgent climate action, but without offering the transformative breakthrough scientists say must happen if humanity is to avert disastrous planetary warming…Saturday’s agreement, however, does not achieve the most ambitious goal of the 2015 Paris accord — to limit Earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. Instead, delegations left Glasgow with the Earth still on track to blow past that threshold, pushing toward a future of escalating weather crises and irreversible damage to the natural world…
And representatives from hard-hit nations feared that the deal could leave their people facing an existential threat.
“The difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees is a death sentence for us,” Aminath Shauna, the Maldives’ minister of environment, climate change and technology, told the summit. “What is balanced and pragmatic to other parties will not help the Maldives adapt in time. It will be too late.”…
Negotiators leave Glasgow with key questions unanswered: Can nations muster the political will to deliver on the soaring rhetoric that marked the summit’s start? Can COP26, as it’s known, mark the start of a “decisive” decade to turn the tide on global warming?
Most important, can the lurching progress of these annual conferences keep pace with the problem they were designed to solve?
Anything short of that will consign future generations to untold suffering, the European Union’s top climate official, Frans Timmermans, told delegates in the waning hours of the summit. Timmermans — whose delegation faced accusations of not doing enough to forge a stronger outcome in Glasgow — said he had been pondering what life will be like in 2050 for his 1-year-old grandson.
“If we succeed, he’ll be living in a world that’s livable. He’ll be living in an economy that’s clean, with air that’s clean, at peace with his environment,” he said. “If we fail — and I mean fail now in the next couple years — he will fight with other human beings for water and food. That’s the stark reality we face.”
So why did the negotiations at COP26 fail? For several reasons. First, science, although clear on the consequences of not doing enough, cannot accurately predict exactly when we may hit an irreversible tipping point, like massive loss of biodiversity and pollinators, radically affecting the food supply. Or when and if the AMOC slows down enough to radically change the weather in the Northern Hemisphere so it resembles weather patterns thousands of years ago during an ice age. That may or may not happen, but even if there were slim odds it would happen, it means we are gambling with humanities future.
Apart from scientific uncertainties, the biggest reasons the summit failed were two-fold. Foremost, money. Nations were hesitant to both pay for their own countries transition to clean energy, and to pay for the loss and damage and adaptation necessary for both their country and smaller countries affected by climate change. The second reason is a moral and ethical one. Lack of adequate compassion for present and future generations. Many of the negotiators will be long gone after the consequences of their negotiations are a stark reality for future generations, who will have to suffer through more frequent and severe heat domes and heat strokes, wildfires, water and food insecurity, flooding, droughts, hurricanes, storm surges, sea level rise and increases in vector-borne disease and environmental pollution, not to mention extinction of significant number of species on the planet. If compassion and deep caring for present and future generations was underlying all talks at the COP26 summit, the outcome would have been very different IMO. They would have found a way to come up with more money, keep their pledges and rapidly phase out greenhouse gases. Because they deeply cared.
So, what were the positives? First, fossil fuels (the F-word) were mentioned with a gradual phase out (the watering down of language last minute by China and India was disappointing) and if delegates keep their pledges, global warming will be less than before the summit. Thatis the good news. The only significant solutions coming out of the summit however were to cut methane and (very) slowly phase out fossil fuels but considering that the figures used to calculate greenhouse gases was flawed (yes, they were working with inaccurate statistics), what was essentially missing, was a comprehensive set of solutions that could not only buy us time (geoengineering) but transform the world around us into a healthier, saner place to live.
I have a list of these potential solutions on the climate website for my upcoming science fiction/climate novel: starseed-revolution.com. Please look under climate solutions to see the 3-part plan that I feel would help move us in a positive direction, a lot faster (like a legal definition of Ecocide, holding world leaders responsible for their actions).
In my new novel, I have a depiction of a climate summit years from now. Time will tell how accurate my predictions were as far as where the world will be in 2042. When I started writing it over 3 years ago, not only were very few media outlets discussing climate change, but the possibility of hitting 1.5 degrees Centigrade was felt to be slim in years to come. The recent IPCC and UN report now gives us a 50-50 chance of hitting within the next 10 years, the critical window of time where all actions will be multiplied for future generations. I describe that scenario in my novel. The final negotiations at COP26 just ensured that the science fiction fantasy described in Starseed R/evolution, the Awakening, may actually come true.