Climate Change

A bias for inaction

In the hugely successful business book In Search of Excellence, co-authors Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman listed eight attributes of excellent, innovative management. Number one proposed a “bias for action.”

Leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations prefer the opposite.

According to The Guardian, a report presented to COP27 said C$2.75 trillion will be needed each year by 2030 to help developing countries cut their greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the effects of climate breakdown.

News agency Reuters reports the financial commitments should be even larger:

Climate finance needs to rise sharply to $5 trillion a year globally by 2030 to fund measures to fight climate change, researchers said on Thursday, warning that transformation across economies is too slow to meet international temperature goals.

From transport to agriculture and electricity, progress is lagging in all sectors on reducing planet-heating emissions at the pace required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid its worst effects, a study by five green groups found.

World needs $5 trillion in annual climate finance by 2030 for rapid action

In 2009, nations agreed to jointly mobilize US$100 billion per year by 2020 to support climate action in poorer countries. In 2021, with that commitment unmet, Canada and Germany were asked to create a plan to meet the goal. Canadian cabinet minister Jonathan Wilkinson reported positive momentum but admitted national commitments fail to meet the targeted sum in 2022.

Canada is more likely to increase subsidies to fossil fuel producers than to increase support to undeveloped nations. The Trudeau government suggested that by welcoming representatives of the fossil fuel industry as participants in COP27. Agents of Canada’s largest tarsands companies stated production should continue to increase, but with producers and consumers using carbon reduction technologies financed by governments through loans, tax credits and grants.

That is standard industry greenwashing. Scientific American reports that carbon-reduction plans rely on tech that doesn’t exist and says, “Depending on technologies that do not yet exist is irrational, a kind of magical thinking. That is a developmental stage kids are expected to outgrow.

When leaders of industries and nations speak, falsehoods and hollow promises are common. That is unfortunate because, as British historian James Howell wrote more than 300 years ago:

An acre of performance is worth the whole Land of promise.

After conclusion of COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021, World Resources Institute, a global research organization, reported inadequate progress had been made to address the climate crisis.

This November, LSE’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment comments:

It now seems very unlikely that the world can avoid global warming of more than 1.5 Celsius degrees this century. The campaign ahead of COP26 to keep 1.5 alive has largely failed. This will have devastating potential consequences, especially for the world’s poorest people… 

Collectively, the pledges within the NDCs [National Determined Contributions] would result in annual emissions in 2030 that are 10.6 per cent higher than in 2010. This global level of emissions would result in global temperatures being on average 2.1 to 2.9 Celsius degrees above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century.

Last week Oxfam reported that investments of 125 billionaires emit carbon at a rate a million times higher than someone in the bottom 90 percent of humanity. The confederation of charities could have added that political influence of those billionaires undoubtedly exceeds that of a poor person by an even larger factor.

The world has been experiencing mounting death and environmental destruction from climate change. While outright deniers are melting away like the glaciers, today’s climate change minimizers are even more dangerous. They inhibit serious action and work to convince people that today we should maximize extractivism to have sufficient wealth for future generations to seek solutions.

I conclude that little will change without modification of political and economic inequality that plagues the world today.

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Categories: Climate Change

4 replies »

  1. Excellent commentary Norman, my thoughts exactly. We are doomed, I feel for my grandkids. Politically, there is no way out.


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