Our COP26 Recap features a US/China Agreement, and why bicycles finally matter! And last of all, a couple of COP26 powerful moments.
COP26 Reluctant Recap, US/China Agreement, Bicycles Matter, COP26 Powerful Moments
COMMENTARY—WE ARE ALL MOSS HILLS, FOR THE CLIMATE
COP26, by any measure was not the success of COP21 in Paris 2015, from which we derived the Paris Agreement. It’s disappointing but not unexpected. And it didn’t help matters that the largest delegation, by far, were the combined forces of oil and gas-with 500 representatives.
Climate change is an enormous problem, bigger than most ordinary humans to grasp. It’s also apparently too big for most ordinary governments to grasp, too. governments and institutions are largely failing to take the significant and ambitious action required to tackle the climate crisis, with hopes for saving the environment lying primarily at the grassroots level.
We’re disappointed often lately by ordinary governments. We elect leaders on the promise they will represent our interests. 72% of North Americans and western Europeans think we must act decisively and immediately on climate change. 59% of all Asian nations- the larger India and China as well as the smaller southeast Asian and Pacific island countries, too. Over 60% of citizens of African nations clamor for climate change action.
As John Kerry said at COP 26 regarding the inability of nations to agree on a date certain as to the end of coal use, “How could we possibly in 2021, knowing what the evidence is, be wishy-washy on that subject?” And yet here we are.
It reminds me of the time Moss Hills, a guitarist and cruise ship bandmember. Back in 1991, while on the cruise ship MTS Oceano, Hills discovered the ship was taking on water. When he asked a member of the ship’s crew why they weren’t preparing the 400 passengers to get to the lifeboats, he got a wishy-washy answer.
Not satisfied, Hills and his fellow musicians made their way to the Oceano’s bridge. They wanted to speak to the captain. Except nobody was on the bridge, not even the captain. He’d abandoned his responsibilities, the passengers, and the ship.
It was left to Moss Hills and his plucky group of cruise ship musicians to notify the authorities, organize the rescue and one-by-one help get all 400 passengers off that sinking ship. And they did. A drummer, a pianist, a guitarist and a singer—people without rank or nautical expertise working with rescue professionals.
Today, we are all Moss Hills, for the climate. Thanks to the disappointment of COP26, we at The Climate Daily will redouble our efforts to bring you, our loyal listeners, more stories of strength, hope and change in the era of this climate crisis. Then you too can rise up and claim you too are Moss Hills, for the planet.
Forget lackadaisical governments. Forget unduly influential fossil fuel. This fight is our fight. And it’s our fight to win. Say it with me—we are Moss Hills. We ARE Moss Hills. WE ARE MOSS HILLS, for the climate!
CHINA AND US MAKE PLEDGE ON JOINT ACTION IN 2020s
A television pundit recently described the chinese/u.s. delegations negotiating climate change action between their countries as being, “Frozen out in the wilderness.” Thanks to last week’s consensual commitment, it looks like they’ve been called back in from the cold.
In a surprise announcement at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, China and the US have agreed to boost climate co-operation over the next decade. The United States and China, the world’s two largest emitters of carbon dioxide, unveiled a deal to ramp up cooperation tackling climate change, including by reducing methane emissions, protecting forests and phasing out coal, in the 2020s.
The joint declaration said China would begin phasing out its coal consumption during the five years from 2026-30 and would cut emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane.
Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan welcomed the declaration between China and the US, but warned that both countries needed to show greater commitment to reaching climate goals. Said Morgan, “Ultimately their statement falls short of the call by the climate-vulnerable countries demanding that nations come back to the table every year with greater ambition until the 1.5C gap is closed.”
Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s executive vice president for the European Green Deal, said the deal “shows that the United States and China can cooperate on issues that transcend other conflicts”.
“Humanity is faced with the biggest challenge we’ve had ever, which is the climate crisis, and now China and the US are going to cooperate more closely,” Timmermans told Al Jazeera from the conference in Glasgow. “And this is completely in line with what we need to do here at COP, so I really welcome this joint declaration, I think it’s good news for us.”
RECAP!!!! EXTRA—BIKES NOW IN COP26 ZERO EMISSIONS DECLARATION
The COP26 declaration on accelerating the transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans’ is a 700 word document that sets out a commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. The document, known as, The Glasgow Declaration on Accelerating the Transition to 100% Zero Emission Cars and Vans, was signed by the Governments of over 30 nations, including the UK, Canada, Israel, Mexico, Turkey, New Zealand and the Netherlands. Even automakers including Ford, Mercedes and Jaguar Land Rover, also signed up to the commitment.
VW, Toyota, Germany, the US and France all decided to take a pass.
However, the good news is where an obvious way to obviate climate change by increasing bicycle ridership in cities had been left out of the declaration, it is now in!
Thanks to arguments given by Matthew Baldwin, EU coordinator for road safety and sustainable urban mobility and Deputy Director General of the European Commission, the final paragraph of the declaration now reads: “We recognise that alongside the shift to zero emission vehicles, a sustainable future for road transport will require wider system transformation, including support for active travel, public and shared transport, as well as addressing the full value chain impacts from vehicle production, use and disposal.”
Why does this matter to us? Because the signers are saying, “As representatives of governments, businesses, and other organizations with an influence over the future of the automotive industry and road transport, they are committing to working towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission globally by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets.”
Setting a deadline establishes a stable market, and business people love nothing more than a stable market in which to innovate and grow. And let’s face it, we need business people on board this train, too.
COP 26 RECAP!!!!—POWERFUL MOMENTS BY REGULAR FOLK
There were gaffes and there were blunders, there were disappointments and there were hypocrisies galore at COP 26
And on their way to COP26, President and First Lady Biden got a lot more than an eyeful of the sweeping vistas and misty glens of the Scottish countryside as they motorcaded to the conference. According to a member of the press travelling with the White House team: ‘At one point when we were still on smaller country roads, a large, naked, Scottish man stood in his front window taking a picture of the motorcade with his phone.’
But there WERE also some special, powerful moments, too: Like when Simon Kofe, foreign minister of the tiny island nation of Tuvalu in the South Pacific, wanted to really drive the urgency of this message home at COP26, so he gave a speech with his lectern in the ocean at the far end of Fongafale, the main islet of the capital Funafuti in Tuvalu. Standing knee-deep in water, he called for the climate crisis to be taken seriously.
He told CNN, “The statement juxtaposes the COP26 setting with the real-life situations faced in Tuvalu due to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise, and highlights the bold action Tuvalu is taking to address the very pressing issues of human mobility under climate change.”
Or like when Ayisha Siddiqa, co-founder of PollutersOut and Fossil Free University recited her poem, “On Another Panel About Climate, They Ask Me to Sell the Future, but All I’ve Got is a Love Poem.” Check out her Instagram for the full poem by clicking on the link, The Poem, in the Deeper Dive section of this story at theclimate.org/episodes.