Triggers: climate anxiety, global warming triggers, in case it's not just the naff writing that upsets you.
COP 28 starts today in Dubai until 12th December.
Yeah, Dubai, that city in the middle of the desert. A desert in the UAE which is big into oil. It's not necessarily what you'd expect from a gathering of global leaders to discuss how we save the environment & stop boiling our world.
What is COP?
A 'conference of parties' to discuss saving the planet basically. It's been meeting yearly since 1995 and now has nearly 200 countries taking part (Europe is down as one entity).
The alleged aim of the COPs is to get world powers reading from the same hymn sheet to DO SOMETHING to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees celsius compared to before the industrial revolution. So the temperatures are going up, but it's about damage limitation.
What are the arguments for COP?
Erm, have you seen the weather? Wild fires everywhere, flooding, drought. The hottest summers on record across a record number of countries, year after year after year.
It's undeniable; we have caused the warming of our planet & there is already loss of life, habitat & property but it needs limiting. Less pollution, less greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide (waaaaaay more potent than carbon dioxide) will slow the problem. Creating the same pollution means a warmer planet, ice melting at an accelerated pace... Sir David Attenborough has told you all about it.
Let alone the deaths every year caused by pollution.
So why do we need COP?
Because otherwise we're weeing into the wind, for want of a better phrase. We need actions, guided by science, proof & fact. We need tangible steps that help us to cutting emissions. We also need peer pressure, the eyes of the world, getting world leaders (those in power) together with the agenda being 'the environment'.
There guys are elected politicians. They're not necessarily the experts in climate science. So listen to the experts & act accordingly.
You've probably heard of the Paris Agreement though right? It was made in 2015 but isn't on track at all. It's kinda what everyone has been using in reference to how we're doing as the humans causing the problem, in terms of actually solving that same problem. We've all heard about carbon neutrality & even carbon positive (using more carbon than created therefore taking it out of the atmosphere). So it could be argued that discussions are having a positive impact.
The downside to COP?
What do they actually achieve & at what cost?
Climate activist Greta Thunberg is widely reported as criticising COP as nothing more than a greenwashing opportunity. But of course, she's just an extremist (!?!) cry some people. Funny then that the president of COP 28 is the head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company!!!! Various news outlets have been reporting that leak documents suggest that COP28 is being used to finalised gas & oil deals.
YOU CANNOT MAKE THIS UP!
The leaders of the United States and China aren't even going to be there this year. How's that for a message about the importance of climate talks when two huge world powers don't prioritise attendance?
What about those who do attend?
Us mortals sit through hours of Zoom meetings to save us from traveling across town or the country yet these guys take private jets (complete with entourage) across the world. It doesn't quite seem in keeping with the task at hand or modern practises.
Is it enough?
Well I won't say no because that would suggest that there's no point in trying. There's a lot of point in trying, for the sake of my 5 year old there's a point. For every living thing, there's a point. We've made this mess. We need to clean our shit up.
The world proved that it could take stuff seriously & act when motivated with covid. But why isn't it with global warming & the climate crisis which is the biggest problem we face as a species? We need action, fast!
Initiatives like the Earthshot Prize are absolutely imperative. Funding & mentoring is awarded to projects that:
- protect & restore nature
- clean our air
- revive our oceans
- build a waste free world (not heard back from Wills yet on this one)
- fix our climate
We need our global superpowers, governments & organisations to take it seriously. We need to stop seeing financial profit as the only topic worth consideration.
What can we do as individuals?
I know. It's horrifying isn't it? & I really hope that I've not depressed the crap out of you. If you're interested & concerned by this then use that to do something. Perhaps like the Earthshot, you could look at each category & see how you could improve them. Could you:
- fly or drive less, take a bus, walk or cycle?
- take part in local litter picks
- grow some flowers or veg on your window sill/green space
- get local or organically produced veg
- support the Wellingborough Walks campaign to save our trees & bring those responsible account. Want to know what we can do about global warming? Stop allowing the hacking of the very things that help reverse the problem!
The right thing isn't always easy but we've all got to pick up the slack. Thank goodness for activists, but we don't all have to be Queen Greta to make a difference (although if you're up to the job, fly high my love, we ride at dawn!).
Some more info if you want to swot up: