Who Won the Week (24 October 2021)

Prompt image for the Fandango's Who Won The Week prompt

In response to Fandango’s Who Won the Week posts, I have been looking at my own newsfeeds.

The UN body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) compiles “assessment reports”. They do this every six or seven years. The reports are scientific in origin, and feed into the conferences to provide guidance on what countries need to do in order to mitigate warming. Pre-publication, they invite submissions from countries, companies, etc.

Prior to COP26, which happens shortly, they have been compiling another report. Again, it’ll feed into the summit and provide a steer on where the politicians should be taking the planet.

Except that this year, the submissions have been leaked. 32,000 of them. So I just thought I’d highlight some of the lobbying (is it unfair to call it gerrymandering?) that has happened, to go into this report. Again, let’s stress that this is a scientific report.

One of the key recommendations in the draft report was that we should reduce our consumption of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. A no-brainer, you’d think. But, guess who objected to that phrase being included?

Well, Saudi Arabia, for one Yes, the world’s biggest exporter of oil thinks that phrase should be removed.

The report goes deeper. That we should eliminate coal-fired power stations as soon as possible. Again, obvious? But Australia objects. Surprisingly, one of the biggest coal exporters objects.

In fact, a lot of fossil fuel producers – Saudi and Australia, but also China (the world’s largest coal importer) and Japan support Carbon Capture Systems (CCS), mechanisms which are not even known to be feasible, on the scale required. But the argument is that we capture the carbon, therefore there is no need to reduce emissions.

So, when the report continues: “the focus of decarbonisation efforts in the energy systems sector needs to be on rapidly shifting to zero-carbon sources and actively phasing out fossil fuels”, China, Norway and Opec all raised objections. Every one oil-fired.

On our diets, the IPCC favours reducing our meat consumption. It thinks if we eliminated meat in favour of plants, our personal CO2 emissions could drop by asmuch as 50%. But guess who objects? Brasil and Argentina, both major producers not only of beef, but of animal feed.

The report talks about finances. That to meet the goals, richer countries might have to help out poorer countries. Obvious, right? But guess who objects? Well, Switzerland, for one. The country which makes money out of everything. And Australia. Both very much first world countries who might be asked to contribute.

Just to complete, the report talks about going nuclear, as a replacement for fossil fuels. I’ve heard our own PM wax lyrically on this subject, too. The report, however, is negative. Memories of Cernobyl and Fukushima, perhaps?

But several eastern European countries argue against this pessimism. India goes even further, saying that it is an “established technology” with largely “good political backing”. Maybe there.


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