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  • Robert Hinkley

Thought for the Day

11/29. What went wrong after the last 27 COPs? Why were laws not passed restricting emissions as promised by each nation to all the others? It’s conjecture on my part, but I suspect that the delegates returned to their home nations and had to face reality. They didn’t have the political support necessary to do what they’d just promised.

When they got home they found out there was already politicians lined up to oppose them, not because they were in favour of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, global warming, and climate change, but because they could make political points in fossil fuel producing electorates or in the name of defending

Photo by Richard Miller

the economy.

In Australia, the then Treasurer, attempting to ridicule the Opposition’s commitment to renewable energy, stood in Parliament with a piece of coal in his hand and taunted, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you. It’s coal”. Ridiculous, but it was effective. Soon thereafter he led a spill of the Prime Minister, took over the Government, and led it to victory in the next election.

The COPs have been full of talk about the number of degrees Celsius we can safely allow the Earth’s temperature to rise and reaching “net-zero” emissions by one date or another. This type of jargon can’t be understood by the vast majority of people. When the delegates returned home, they didn’t simply explain why emissions had to be cut and instead sat down with the fossil fuel, electric power, and motor vehicle lobbies to negotiate. As those negotiations wore on, the people were kept in the dark. The good feelings of the COP grew weaker and political opposition grew stronger. The moment was missed. Legislation stalled and carbon levels in the atmosphere continued to rise.

Contrast this with what could have happened if the delegates had agreed to all return home and change their corporate law duty of directors as I suggested yesterday. See, The good news of the COP would have beaten them home. The headlines would have screamed, “World Leaders at COP to Change Corporate Structure to End Deadly Emissions—Stop Climate Change.”

When they landed, they could have gotten to work explaining that no corporation should have the right to continue emitting significant quantities of GHGs and that laws would soon be put before the legislature to require company directors to bring it to an orderly stop and safe transition to alternative energy. Aside from the fossil fuel and motor vehicle industries, who could be opposed to that? Very few. Even the people in those industries have known for some time such a day of reckoning would arrive. They’ve been planning for it for years while they tried to put it off for as long as possible.

Returning home from COP 28 to negotiate with fossil fuel lobbyists isn’t going to work. Delegates and politicians should put something simpler to the people first.

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