COP-26 was a Civilization-Ending Epic ClusterF**k

Well, COP-26 is ending in just a few short hours.  I am waiting for the final statement to come out, but I doubt it will change my mind.  Here are my journalistic opening lines, crafted in totally neutral and scientifically objective academic language.  NY Times, Washington Post — feel free to use this opening paragraph for your own COP-26 final stories without attribution.

(Glasgow, Scotland, November 12, 2021) COP-26, the 26-th Conference of Parties, taking place October 31, 2021 to November 12, 2021 in Glasgow Scotland, has come to an end without any meaningful agreement that would halt, slow or limit global warming below the predicted catastrophic levels of 1.5C by 2030, 2.0C by 2050 and 2.7C by 2100.  After the publication of the sixth assessment report by the IPCC last August, it became widely apparent that COP-26 was the make-or-break moment for humanity’s future.  A few optimists thought this COP might be different and some impactful agreements would be reached. But that is not what happened. In summary, nothing got done.  COP-26 was a civilization-ending epic clusterf**k. It is now obvious to the casual observer that corporate industrial civilization, most if not all humans and nearly every vertebrate species on this planet is doomed.

Okay — that’s enough fair-and-balanced journalism.  Now, to get to the meat of this post.

On Twitter today I came across this thread by Dan Lunt.  In it, he sampled statements from the “Informal stocktaking plenary by the President,” which is a final-day session. The statements below are directly quoted informal opinions about the accomplishments at COP-26 as stated by the delegate leaders from various world nations.

Again, thank you Dan Lunt (Twitter ~ @ClimateSamwell).  You should also check out the work of his graduate student Sebastian Steinig (Twitter ~ @sebsteinig) here:

  • Argentina: “We are in the final hours of this conference. We are working so hard. This is the COP for enabling action. We must not level down, we must level up. We all want to keep 1.5 alive. We need to keep finance flowing. We look forward to a resolution today.”
  • Bangladesh: “The science has never been clearer. There is an emergency prevailing all over the world. The agreements coming from this meeting should be called The Glasgow Emergency Pact.”
  • Belize: “When you assumed the COP presidency, you made 1.5 your North Star. However, we seem to have lost that in the latest version of the text. We need to phase out all fossil fuels including coal, and phase out subsidies.”
  • Bhutan: “In the final hours we are full of doubts. IPCC calls for 45% emissions reductions in this decade. We all understand that the most vulnerable among us will face unacceptable risks. We want stronger language on adaption finance.”
  • Bolivia: “We need wisdom and political willingness to address the critical threat facing Mother Earth. There is still work to be done to have clear political messages. The mitigation section needs to be adjusted to achieve balance in terms of equity and climate justice.”
  • Brazil: “We updated our NDC according to the best science of the IPCC. We have expectations that others will have high ambitions for their finance pledges. We are almost there, but we are not there yet. One of the two options available will not lead us to where we want to be.”
  • Canada: “My country has not always been exemplary. Now we have one of the most ambitious programs. We need strong language in the final agreement.”
  • China: “We are gathered together for the future of our planet. We need to consider not only science, but also rules. To be rules based we need to follow the Paris Agreement. We think the draft is improved and provides a good basis, but we see a lack of detail on finance. Countries should set their own timetables for policy. China is ready to discuss to find an inclusive decision. More flexibility of developing countries on transparency.”
  • Costa Rica: “The world is looking at us….we can only have outcomes that are aligned with the 1.5 goal. The Cover Decisions represent a good start, but other elements need to be included. We need enhanced NDCs from the big emitters. We need to eliminate ALL subsidies.”
  • Dominican Republic: “We trust your guidance Mr President, I expect a successful COP26.”
  • Ecuador: “Ecuador only emits 0.1% of global emissions. We welcome the integration between climate change and biodiversity loss in the draft document. On finance we welcome some changes in language, but improvement needed in adaption finance, to move to a doubling of finance.”
  • European Union: An hour ago, my son sent me a photo of my grandson. He will be 31 in 2050. If we succeed he will live in a world that is at peace with the environment. If we fail, he will fight with other humans for water and food. 1.5 needs to be kept alive.”
  • Gabon: “It goes without staying that a strong message coming out of Glasgow is essential. This draft is a strong foundation. The political action needs to be based on the science. We need increased action on adaptation finance. We are losing progress made on loss and damage.”
  • Ghana: “The present generation has rented the world from the previous generation, and we must pass it on. This is a moral obligation. A clear roadmap for mitigation goals is needed. Finance is very very critical. Developed countries must make good on their pledges.”
  • Grenada: “There have been many hours of talking. What we see before us reflects ambition and a balanced outcome. It contains elements to keep 1.5 alive. But it is the bare minimum. If any more is removed, we can say goodbye to 1.5.”
  • Guinea: “On loss and damage we are deeply disappointed. The establishment of a Glasgow loss and damages facility is required. We want to see our proposal in the final text. We should build on progress already made. We need action, and that action needs to be taken now.”
  • India: “We have deep disappointment in the lack of progress on climate finance. Urgency must begin with a lead from the developed countries. Developed countries must meet net zero much before 2050. The remaining carbon budget is the right of the least developed countries.”
  • Japan: “The completion of the Paris Rulebook should be an important outcome of this #COP26. Japan will support the text with a small number of changes. All parties should be called upon to cut emissions. Japan will honour its commitments.”
  • Kenya: “As I was arriving to the meeting today, I walked by a placard. It read: ‘If you want to know about climate change, ask your child’. We have not inherited the Earth from our forefathers, we have borrowed it. The youth have given us a last chance.”
  • Mexico: “Current draft is not strong enough. New draft needs to highlight the importance of science, including tipping points. Climate adaptation is crucial for human rights, and human rights are crucial for climate adaptation.”
  • Nicaragua: “We need to put loss and damage at the same level as adaptation and mitigation. We need to put loss and damage at the same level as adaptation and mitigation.”
  • Panama: “We echo voices of youth, scientists, and civil society to keep it in the ground. Outrageous that current text does not include collaborations on health. The most vulnerable are paying the highest price.”
  • Papua New Guinea: “Current text does not credit Small Island States for work they have done. Instead benefits those with the most wealth.”
  • Philippines: “Some text is insidiously being removed. Developing countries should be allowed to continue sustained development. We do not have the needs, especially finance. Sustainable development is the ultimate goal, not emissions reductions.”
  • Saudi Arabia: “The draft cover decision is workable, but we cannot skew the balance agreed in Paris. The draft emphasises certain elements…”
  • South Africa: “We need to leave Glasgow with an agreement that shows ambition on adaption, mitigation, and means of implementation. We need support for the just transition of our economies. The text does not go far enough on implementation. We urge a constructive resolution.”
  • Switzerland: “1.5 can only be reached if all coal and fossil fuels are phased out, and not just inefficient subsidies phased out. We must avoid catastrophic tipping points. Switzerland is committed to working to a robust and ambitious outcome.”
  • The Maldives: “We have listened to disagreement on commas, full stops. We did not cause the climate crisis. Our islands are eroding, and the saltwater incurses further and further. We are losing families and friends. We are closing schools.”
  • The Marshall Islands: “1.5 is not negotiable. Nor is the future of my children…or yours. This is the crucial decade. This will only work if coal and fossil fuels are not removed from the draft. Indeed, they need to be emphasised.”
  • Tuvalu: “Tuvalu is a low lying nation at the forefront of climate change. Our land is fast disappearing. Our land is literally sinking. We must take action now. We propose stronger language on loss and damage. This is a defining moment.”
  • United States: “20 countries equal 80% of all emissions, and bear the greatest responsibility. For many, this is not existential in the future, it is existential today. This cannot be a place of words, in the next hours it must be a place of action.”
  • Venezuela: “For us, it is about what we shouldn’t do. The issue of subsidies is policy-prescriptive and is necessary for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”

Eliot Jacobson, Ph.D.

Retired professor of mathematics and computer science, retired casino consultant, now a full time volunteer, husband and grandfather. Know-it-all doomer. Born in the year 316 ppm CO2.

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