Climate Corner – December 2021

By Fraser Perkins —

The Glasgow Climate Conference:  the good, the bad and the ugly.  The recently concluded Glasgow Climate Conference offered a few rays of scattered hope piercing an unforgiving future.

The Good

  • The parties agreed to convene next year in Egypt with renewed pledges to further cut CO2 emissions
  • 40% of CO2 emissions worldwide come from burning coal – the parties agreed to phase down coal
  • Developed nations agreed to increase funding to developing countries to deal with Climate Change and the switch to clean energy
  • The parties agreed to phase out government subsidies to fossil fuel industries.  The US fossil fuel subsidies are over twice the subsidies to clean energy projects
  • Nations agreed to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030
  • The US and China agreed to cooperate more on limiting CO2 and methane emissions
  • 100 nations agreed to stop deforestation by 2030

The Bad

The above commitments lack enforcement.  The commitments rely on self-policing; few countries are legally bound.  Without transparency, public scrutiny and legal recourse, holding nations accountable will be difficult.  It will be tempting to “cheat”, evade detection and minimize the hardship inflicted on one’s own country…while watching other nations struggle to mitigate Climate Change.

The Ugly

Lack of ambition.  If all the current commitments are faithfully carried out, a big if, current emissions pledges amount to only one quarter of the emissions reductions required to limit global warming to 1.5o C.  Since the Industrial Revolution we have warmed by 1.1o C with severe consequences for all, including those who believe in magical thinking, rather than science and the reality of Climate Change.


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