Retreat from Glasgow - Or Is It a Rout?
The five bad boys of fossil fuels are pretty much ignoring some of the most important things nations need to do to avert climate catastrophe. These countries are called the Fossil Fueled Five. They are, in no particular order, the UK, the US, Norway, Australia and, brace yourselves, Canada.
Catherine Abreu, founder of climate advocacy group Destination Zero and member of Canada’s net-zero advisory body, highlighted the irony that after three decades, climate summits still aren’t structured to tackle the biggest problem.
“This process that we designed … to take collective action on the climate crisis, has had almost nothing to say about the predominant cause of the climate crisis — the production and combustion of fossil fuels,” Abreu said.
“It's as if we built an entire multilateral system to address a global pandemic and never let it be said that the virus causing the pandemic was COVID-19.”
Abreu noted the number of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP26 outnumbers even the largest nations’ official delegations at the summit.
“We have sadly seen the hand of fossil fuel interests interfering with that text to water it down with weasel words like ‘unabated coal’ or ‘inefficient fossil fuel’ subsidies,” she said, noting such language has been employed in negotiations before, and without concrete action or phaseouts stipulated in COP26 agreements, there will be no possibility of limiting global warming to 1.5 C to avoid calamitous climate impacts.
The world's five wealthiest nations — Canada, the U.S., Australia, Norway and the U.K. — are spending over $150 billion of taxpayers' money on fossil fuels, said Abreu, referring to a new report, The Fossil Fuelled 5, which outlines the widening gap between nations’ rhetoric on climate action and their plans to grow fossil fuel production.
But, but, but - how can this be? We just heard the Throne Speech in which the Trudeau government vowed to fight climate change. Isn't that a familiar refrain? Didn't the Liberals vow to do that in 2015 when they were handed a majority?
The Saudis and their co-conspirators are screwing with oil prices at the moment to teach us a lesson. Joe Biden even released 50-million barrels of oil from the national reserves to buffer the impacts. Not expected to succeed but still. Alberta, where the UCP has been squealing like pigs lately, will want in on this Mardi Gras. Jason is desperate for good news.
As for Justin, he could have switched the federal subsidies stream from high carbon fossil fuels to renewable technology but Ottawa isn't awash in cash these days. It's carrying a hefty cost in pandemic relief and now it seems it's going to have to start paying, on a catch-up basis, for our long-neglected infrastructure and I expect those coal and bitumen subsidies are long-term commitments. Even with heat domes and wildfires and washouts, changing horses in mid-stream, steering Canada onto a new path, might be more than Mr. Trudeau can manage.