Unpredictable environmental attacks Impossible without the climate crisis
This summer in Germany and Belgium lots of people got the fear of their life when a mass of water sloshed against their homes and brought swirling rivers through several streets of various municipalities. At other places in Europe, people had to undergo an unseen deadly European heatwave – named Lucifer – which saw a new temperature record of 48.8C set in Sicily.
Flood warnings and alerts, the last few months, have been something regular and were again in place for millions of people across England and Scotland last weekend. More than once the Environment Agency has had to bring out alerts for Southern Scotland and large parts of southern and northern England they all be impacted by torrential downpours. All this would have been impossible without the climate crisis, the analysis found.
Five days ago eight flood warnings and more than 50 flood alerts were in place across the UK after some areas saw almost a month’s worth of rain in 48 hours. Parts of Dartmoor, Devon, recieved almost a month’s worth of rainfall (125 millimetres) in 48 hours. Honister Pass in Cumbria saw 110 millimetres in 48 hours, but had received “two months of rain in the past week”, the Met Office said, resulting in the flooding of 40 properties.
Prof Peter Stott, analysis author and a leading extreme weather scientist at the Met Office said:
“Dangerous climate change is already with us. If you look at 48.8C in Europe and 49.6C in Canada and what’s come with that – fires, the impacts on people’s health, agriculture – this is now at just over 1C of global warming. With further warming, it will only get worse.
The Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability, at the University of Bethlehem, founded and directed by Mazin Qumsiyeh, on the occasion of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) recognises that millions of us have been working hard to change local situations and lobbying our own and global politicians (i.e. thinking globally and acting locally and globally as the world is interconnected). But, they say:
We obviously need and must do more and accelerate this. We are not merely in a “climate emergency” but in a global catastrophe (an Environmental Nakba). We only have 7 years to act at much higher levels.
They have argued in a number of meetings in the past few weeks (about 3 meetings weekly) in the lead to COP26 that among others. We need to liberate minds from mental colonisation and the systems dominating world economies like consumerism and capitalism must be changed to develop systems based on caring, empathy, and collaboration both across borders (which eventually should be dismantled) and within borders.
Many people have their hope set that at the 26th Conference of Parties (COP) the participants shall use their indigenous knowledge, practices, and value systems. Using technology that works together with these should create food sovereignty while protecting the environment.
We have to have environmental justice. People should be entitled to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment all around. [see also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for basic rights]
End of Coal in Sight at COP26
For centuries, lignite and coal have been used to power machines and provide heating. Over the years, this has placed a huge burden on our environment, and we now have to bear the consequences.
In many countries coal is still a major source of energy in the production of electrical power using steam generation.
Some of the world’s biggest coal-dependent countries, including China, India, Australia, and the US, are not willing yet to reduce their mining and use of coal. They have around half the coal-fired plants operating around the world and plan to build more. They did not sign up with more than 40 countries that have committed shifting away from coal, in pledges made at the COP26 climate summit.
Coal being the single biggest contributor to climate change it is really a pity and a shame that those major coal-using countries including Poland, South Africa and India did not commit themselves to reducing the use of it. They will need major investments to make their energy sectors cleaner.
Richer countries promising to end coal by the 2030s, with developing nations in the 2040s is a first success of the gathering in Glasgow, though we must remember that none of these commitments are binding, so we’ll have to wait and see how those countries shall apply to those agreements.
While the US was notably absent from the coal commitments, it joined 19 other countries – including the UK, Canada and New Zealand – in a new ‘Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement’, to commit themselves to scaling up clean power and ensuring a just transition away from coal.
“Investing in unabated fossil-related energy projects increasingly entails both social and economic risks… and has ensuing negative impacts on government revenue, local employment, taxpayers, utility ratepayers and public health,”
the signatories of the UK-led initiative said in a joint statement.
Yesterday’s announcements follow a collapse in the financing of coal, as developed nations have pledged new support to help developing countries make the transition to clean energy.
Banks and financial institutions also made landmark commitments at COP26 yesterday to end the funding of unabated coal, including major international lenders like HSBC, Fidelity International and Ethos.
UK energy minister Greg Hands said:
“Ending international finance for all unabated fossil fuels is the next critical frontier we must deliver on.
We must put public finance on the right side of history.”
25 countries have committed to ending international public support for the unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022 and instead prioritising support for the clean energy transition.
Collectively, this could shift an estimated $17.8bn a year in public support out of fossil fuels and into the clean energy transition. Developing countries including Ethiopia, Fiji and the Marshall Islands offered their support, signalling growing unity. This is an inclusive agenda that must recognise the development and energy needs of all economies.
This is a historic step. It is the first time a COP presidency has prioritised this issue and put a bold end date on international fossil fuel finance. COP26 has set a new gold standard on the Paris Alignment of international public finance and sends a clear signal for private investors to follow.
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