Standing In the Path of a Runaway Train
President Biden is holding a virtual summit this week to encourage world leaders to unite in the fight against runaway climate change. "Runaway." There's a word you don't hear much these days.
I hope Mr. Biden succeeds. He will first have to tame an unruly Congress and face opposition in both parties. There was a time when, in the face of grave danger, Congress would fall in line behind the president. This might be the exception.
Canada offers a master class in how to suck and blow at the same time. We're all for taming the carbon beast to save the planet but we're also dead keen on building multi-billion dollar pipelines to flood world markets with our uniquely high-carbon, low value, climate killing bitumen while decrying Mr. Biden's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. Let's not get into those multi-billion dollar direct and indirect subsidies the Trudeau government lavishes on the energy sector. Suck and blow, suck and blow.
Getting world leaders to sing Mr. Biden's tune is one thing. They're really good at that. They've been doing it since the Kyoto Protocol of 1992. We've been celebrating that every year since with a climate action summit that, this year, will be held in the Glasgow from November 1-12, COP 26.
26 climate summits and where are we? According to the International Energy Agency we're already on course to make 2021 the second worst year ever for carbon emissions increases.Surging use of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, for electricity is largely driving the emissions rise, especially across Asia but also in the US. Coal’s rebound causes particular concern because it comes despite plunging prices for renewable energy, which is now cheaper than coal.
Speaking exclusively to the Guardian, Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, and one of the world’s leading authorities on energy and climate, said: “This is shocking and very disturbing. On the one hand, governments today are saying climate change is their priority. But on the other hand, we are seeing the second biggest emissions rise in history. It is really disappointing.”