WW0 x COP26: Daily Dispatch #7
GLASGOW, Nov 8. -- Week two is off and running at COP26, and pressure mounts as country negotiators work toward critical international agreements that clarify who is financially responsible for the destruction caused by climate change. Key focus points on Monday included how countries can adapt to climate change, and who will pay for the "loss and damage" that will be suffered by poorer nations and small island states. Painting a haunting, post-apocalyptic scene, Tuvalu Foreign Minister Simon Kofe delivered his speech to COP26 while standing knee-deep in seawater. Science tells us that the entire nation of Tuvalu could cease to exist before the end of the century. (See our interview with Surangel Whipps, President of the Republic of Palau.)
The Guardian: Tuvalu minister gives Cop26 speech while standing knee deep in seawater, November 8, 2021.
The Guardian: One of the greatest injustices': Pacific islands on the frontline of the climate crisis, Oct 25, 2021.
"It's unconscionable to leave developing countries footing the bill for a climate crisis they did least to cause and progress on climate finance is one of the litmus tests of COP26. A test that at this rate, world leaders are at serious risk of failing," said Tracy Carty with Oxfam Great Britain.
Leaders assembled in Glasgow committed $450 million Monday towards locally-led adaptation programs, which are meant to empower grassroots stakeholders to lead climate resilience efforts. While this may sound like a significant chunk of change, it is wholly insufficient compared to the true cost of climate disasters. A Morgan Stanely analysis revealed that from 2016 to 2018, climate-related disasters cost the world $650 billion. In the US this year alone, 18 climate disasters cost the country $1 billion per event, and in 2020 there were 22 events costing $1 billion or more each. And the damage is only going to get worse, with an expected cost of up to $500 billion per year by 2050 -- the year many countries and companies promise to reach net zero.
We had the chance to speak with Nana Firman and Meryne Warah from GreenFaith on the topics of "Loss and Damage" and the power of growing a faith-based climate justice movement. "Ask world leaders to stop dragging their feet and make decisions that are going to impact us on the ground," implored Ms. Warah, a Christian climate justice organizer from Kenya. "People at home should not stop from calling their governments to be accountable and make decisions to stop corruption in their areas where climate injustices are making it impossible for them to continue living."
WW0 COP26 Talks: Nana Firman and Meryne Warah, November 8, 2021.
Mobs of delegates crammed the halls of the conference center Monday, clamoring for a photograph with Barack Obama, the President who first committed the US to the Paris Agreement back in 2015. "I guarantee you every victory will be incomplete," said Obama in a speech delivered to delegates assembled at COP26. "Sometimes we will be forced to settle for imperfect compromises. But at least they advance the ball down the field. If we work hard enough, for long enough, those partial victories add up."
UN Climate Change: Barack Obama full speech at COP26, November 8, 2021
But climate justice advocates around the world argue that any "compromise" that fails to keep warming under 1.5 degrees can be considered a form of violence against poor people, and "ecocide" for animals and plant communities. "Unless we achieve immediate, drastic, unprecedented, annual emission cuts at the source then that means we're failing when it comes to this climate crisis,'' 18-year-old Greta Thunberg tweeted on Monday. "'Small steps in the right direction', 'making some progress' or 'winning slowly' equals losing."
The powerful fossil fuel industry spent decades lying to the world about the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, lobbied to weaken many countries’ climate policies, and provided common talking points for government leaders that tackling climate change will hurt the economy and "energy independence." In fact, the fossil fuel industry is the largest group at COP26, with 503 delegates in attendance linked to fossil fuel interests. That's more delegates than any single country, and more than twice as many as the UK, the host of this year's negotiations. "Their influence is one of the biggest reasons why 25 years of UN climate talks have not led to real cuts in global emissions," says Murray Worth from Global Witness.
Protests inside the convention center today targeted the largest single consumer of fossil fuels -- the US military, which is also one of the most potentially affected American institutions if climate change goes unchecked. A puppet representing the "monster of militarism" barked at delegates as they entered and exited the venue today, and the Brown University Cost of War project revealed that if the US military were a country, it would be the 47th largest carbon polluter in the world, falling between the nations Portugal and Peru.
Carbon Brief: Which countries are historically responsible for climate change?, October 4, 2021.
See our coverage of the previous days at COP26
Dispatch #5 & #6 - November 7
Dispatch #4 - November 4
Dispatch #3 - November 3
Dispatch #2 - November 2
Dispatch #1 - November 1