Monday, November 15, 2021

The Glasgow Summit and the Triumph of Hope

I've landed in Glasgow, the old city by the river Clyde, many many times. But I usually never stay long.

After an hour or two I'm usually on a train heading for beautiful Edinburgh and the highlands up north where my family lives.

But this weekend as the COP26 climate summit wrapped up, my heart was in Glasgow.

For they have a wonderful slogan: "People Make Glasgow."

And boy did they deliver.

Hundreds of thousands of some of the finest young climate activists from all over the world converged on the city.

And although many of them were disappointed, as I was, by the way the summit ended.

Almost 200 nations accepted a contentious climate compromise Saturday aimed at keeping a key global warming target alive, but it contained a last-minute change that some high officials called a watering down of crucial language about coal.

They went home undefeated, and ready to keep on fighting even harder to do what must be done to save our precious blue planet.

For they are not the doomsters the celebrated environmental scientist Michael Mann warned us about;

The doomsters who by claiming that all is lost only play into the hands of the fossil fuelers who want us to lose hope.

And believe that the summit was only "blah blah blah."

When as Mann also points out, it delivered hope at a crucial moment in the climate battle.

For those looking for reasons to be cynical about the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland — COP26 — there seemed to be more than ample cause early on. Yet for those looking for hope, grounds for this too emerged later. 

There was understandable anxiety, despair and righteous anger on the part of young people given the insufficiency of the progress and the bad actors who are creating obstacles. This led some to insist that the talks were just more “blah, blah, blah,” that COP26 was dead on arrival, and even that the entire process should be abandoned.

Walking away would have amounted to surrender.

After all, the U.N. COP process provides the only multilateral framework for negotiating global climate policy. And while the speed of work had been inadequate, some real progress was being made in key areas: on deforestation, methane emissions and, most importantly, carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning.

It’s not good enough, of course. We need to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius to avert many of the worst impacts of climate change. But the latest commitments are meaningful and can be built upon.

After being all but buried by the Covid pandemic, climate change is back at the top of the agenda for human survival.

The key aim of COP26 was to “keep 1.5C alive.” Despite pessimism among many heading into Glasgow, there is still reason to believe that’s possible. But only if the hard work begins now. We need to hold leaders accountable for their pledges and see to it that plans are carried out. Our future depends on it.

And where it goes now is up to us.

The climate summit also helped expose which countries and which leaders want to be part of the solution, and which ones are the enemies of humanity.

After years when the Harper regime won one ghastly Fossil of the Year Award after the other, we are slowly making it back to where we should be as a country.

And Justin Trudeau has the support of most Canadians to do what must be done.

Almost two-thirds of Canadians support immediately capping greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands – even if it puts jobs at risk, according to a new poll.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents to a Nanos Research poll said they agree or somewhat agree that Canada should immediately limit emissions from the oil and gas sector and curtail them over time. Thirty-four per cent said they either disagree or somewhat disagree, and 3 per cent said they are unsure.

While Erin O'Toole and his ghastly Cons seem headed for electoral oblivion.

Which they so richly deserve.

But of course, what happens here as elsewhere, will depend on how we react.

For while I believe that the formidable Greta Thunberg is wrong about the "blah blah blah."

She's right about what is going to happen next.

And so am I...

The future belongs to the young.

And we will not betray them.

Thank you Glasgow my darling.

You never looked more beautiful...


Jackie Blue said...

Since so many policy matters require buy-in from provinces, it's possible that Canada will be able to make more progress once "The Resistance" is out of the way. Kenney is toast and Doogie might be next. Add the federal clowns to that long-overdue irrelevance, now that Senator Batshit has just lobbed a tarball directly at Elmer FUD's swelled head. Other than Skippy, who's slathered all the "ethical oil" Canada has on offer into his coiffure, the cons have no one else. The dino-fuel party deserves to go extinct.

Nevertheless, they persisted. Rempelthinskin was whining on Twitter this AM that Denise the Menace's outburst means she won't be able to "hold the Libs accountable" on their refusal to coddle the reality-averse drillbillies in her dead-end riding of Oklahoma-Nose Pick. Sunny ways, Michelle... wake up (and shut up), grab some hair of the dog and learn to embrace the #1 most renewable energy source other than Conservative political fertilizer.

I'm still pissed off at the recalcitrant reps from China and India, though. And our own toothless hick from coal country Joe Manchin, who has been nothing but an obstructionist on everything decent that Biden and the party try to do. The "amigos" summit should be interesting, but I'm not at all optimistic down here about what 2022 holds and certainly 2024. The Democrats need to turn this ship around fast, or we'll end up back with the insane clown president (who thinks climate change, like COVID, is a "communist Ghina hoax") tweeting announcements of executive orders he signed with his Sharpie to "bring back tremendous clean coal" and repeal the law of gravity.

But you're right Simon, at least some progress is better than no progress. As is often said of alcoholism, drug abuse and other addictions, the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging that a problem exists at all. Though I'm not sure what kind of rehab program there is to get out-of-touch bureaucrats and their entangled for-profit industries to kick the habit of greed.

I understand Greta's overarching concern, and the fact that panic, anxiety and black-or-white obsessiveness are unfortunate components of her mental health condition, but the poor kid needs to learn some pragmatism and find a silver lining somewhere, or she's going to break down and burn out. Energy conservation is important for people's personal energy too. You can't even begin to fight for the future if you run out of fuel.

martin said...

Simon, you should know by now that Glasgow’s miles better (and aye has been!). 😄

Yes, I’m a native Glaswegian - I’ll happily admit to that!

Simon said...

Hi Jackie….With both O’Toole and Kenney facing revolts from their base I.’m in seventh heaven. And having Senator Batshit leading the charge against O’Toole is more than I could ever hope for. I think I should tweet her and offer to be her campaign manager. If she can be a Senator she can be Prime Minister!!!! 🤡
As for the Glasgow summit, I had hoped that we could get countries to be a little harder on coal and other fossil fuels. But I have no patience for the environmentalists who think you can close down a system as easily as you can switch off a light. And even the saintly Greta is starting to grate on me. We need to mount massive protests to force the politicians to do the right thing, but Greta looks like she wants to kill anyone who disagrees with her. Oh well, I guess it takes all kinds…

Simon said...

Hi Martin….Let me be clear, Glaswegians are the friendliest people in Scotland ( except for the yob who stabbed me after a Rangers-Celtic game). Edinburgh may be a prettier town, but it has more snoots per square mile than any other place in Scotland. I was in Scotland during the Commonwealth Games and I was really impressed by the way an army of volunteers went out of their way to welcome and help visitors. Glasgow is also a great symbol of the kind of changes that we will need to make the move to a greener country. As you know it was once a mighty but very grimy steel town but managed to reinvent itself into a modern highly digital town. BTW did you see all the articles claiming that Irn Bru was the hit of the summit? I would rather drink a bottle of mouth wash, but out of loyalty to Scotland I’m keeping my mouth shut…😉

Pierre D. said...

It is indeed fantastic seeing CPC imploding, and Kenney likely on the way out for Notley. Sadly, here in QC the largest media is basically a campagn team for Francois Legault and he is looking at a second mandate, which is...awful. My only hope is that they kick Ford out, and quickly.

And yes, progress is slow. I started doing my part years ago but not eating steak, cutting my red meat consumption and just living healthier in general. It's paid off, and has helped me thrive through multiple operations. There is much work to be done soon as well, for in a week the LPC will deliver a Speech From the Throne, and Pierre Poilievre is already losing his mind over being found out for his defunding CBC mania.

The future is bright, but we must all vote and keep to the good side of he fight.
(And yes, I have heard that Im-Bru is like the Coors of Scots, and that's not a flattering comparison. Much better craft beers from there, I imagine.)

rumleyfips said...

When I saw Denice Batshit last night I told my wife that meant Harper wants the old tool gone. The poor old guy wants to grind that organ with a different monkey.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure the conference was in Glasgow? On the 14th, BoJo was adamant that it was in Edinburgh. The next day, he declared the conference a resounding success. With BoJo's track record for telling porkies (Brexit anyone?), you'll forgive me for assuming the opposite is true.

I suppose any climate conference where the fossil fuel lobbyists outnumber the delegates is bound to be a success from BoJo's point of view. After all, he's keen to open a new coal mine in Cumbria and an oilfield in the North Sea. Kinda like how our government foresees rising oil production until 2050. The Glasgow deal locks in a 2.4 degree temperature rise. I don't see too much triumph of hope - looks to me more like the triumph of nope.

Simon said...

Hi Pierre….Yes, it is indeed fantastic to see the Cons imploding. I too am disappointed that Legault seems to be cruising to a second mandate, but I am already working with others to try to defeat the bestial Ford. And O’Toole’s decision to restore Pierre Poilievre as shadow Finance Minister will prove to be a fatal mistake because not only is “pigeon” a dunce when it comes to economics, I don’t think he’s all there. Now as to the question of Irn Bru , it’s not an alcoholic drink, it’s a soft drink that some have compared to tasting like liquid bubble gum. But it’s incredibly popular in Scotland and a lot of my friends use to mix it with vodka to maybe it tastes better that way….🙄