After COP27, all signs point to world blowing past the 1.5 degrees global warming limit – here’s what we can still do about it

Young activists have been pushing to keep a 1.5-Celsius limit, knowing their future is at stake. AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty

Peter Schlosser, Arizona State University

The world could still, theoretically, meet its goal of keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, a level many scientists consider a dangerous threshold. Realistically, that’s unlikely to happen.

Part of the problem was evident at COP27, the United Nations climate conference in Egypt.

While nations’ climate negotiators were successfully fighting to “keep 1.5 alive” as the global goal in the official agreement, reached Nov. 20, 2022, some of their countries were negotiating new fossil fuel deals, driven in part by the global energy crisis. Any expansion of fossil fuels – the primary driver of climate change – makes keeping warming under 1.5 C (2.7 Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial times much harder.

Attempts at the climate talks to get all countries to agree to phase out coal, oil, natural gas and all fossil fuel subsidies failed. And countries have done little to strengthen their commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the past year.

There have been positive moves, including advances in technology, falling prices for renewable energy and countries committing to cut their methane emissions.

But all signs now point toward a scenario in which the world will overshoot the 1.5 C limit, likely by a large amount. The World Meteorological Organization estimates global temperatures have a 50-50 chance of reaching 1.5C of warming, at least temporarily, in the next five years.

That doesn’t mean humanity can just give up.

Why 1.5 degrees?

During the last quarter of the 20th century, climate change due to human activities became an issue of survival for the future of life on the planet. Since at least the 1980s, scientific evidence for global warming has been increasingly firm , and scientists have established limits of global warming that cannot be exceeded to avoid moving from a global climate crisis to a planetary-scale climate catastrophe.

There is consensus among climate scientists, myself included, that 1.5 C of global warming is a threshold beyond which humankind would dangerously interfere with the climate system. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/temperature-anomaly?time=earliest..latest

We know from the reconstruction of historical climate records that, over the past 12,000 years, life was able to thrive on Earth at a global annual average temperature of around 14 C (57 F). As one would expect from the behavior of a complex system, the temperatures varied, but they never warmed by more than about 1.5 C during this relatively stable climate regime.

Today, with the world 1.2 C warmer than pre-industrial times, people are already experiencing the effects of climate change in more locations, more forms and at higher frequencies and amplitudes.

Climate model projections clearly show that warming beyond 1.5 C will dramatically increase the risk of extreme weather events, more frequent wildfires with higher intensity, sea level rise, and changes in flood and drought patterns with implications for food systems collapse, among other adverse impacts. And there can be abrupt transitions, the impacts of which will result in major challenges on local to global scales. https://www.youtube.com/embed/MR6-sgRqW0k?wmode=transparent&start=0 Tipping points: Warmer ocean water is contributing to the collapse of the Thwaites Glacier, a major contributor to sea level rise with global consequences.

Steep reductions and negative emissions

Meeting the 1.5 goal at this point will require steep reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, but that alone isn’t enough. It will also require “negative emissions” to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide that human activities have already put into the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide lingers in the atmosphere for decades to centuries, so just stopping emissions doesn’t stop its warming effect. Technology exists that can pull carbon dioxide out of the air and lock it away. It’s still only operating at a very small scale, but corporate agreements like Microsoft’s 10-year commitment to pay for carbon removed could help scale it up.

A report in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change determined that meeting the 1.5 C goal would require cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 50% globally by 2030 – plus significant negative emissions from both technology and natural sources by 2050 up to about half of present-day emissions.

A direct air capture project in Iceland stores captured carbon dioxide underground in basalt formations, where chemical reactions mineralize it. Climeworks

Can we still hold warming to 1.5 C?

Since the Paris climate agreement was signed in 2015, countries have made some progress in their pledges to reduce emissions, but at a pace that is way too slow to keep warming below 1.5 C. Carbon dioxide emissions are still rising, as are carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

A recent report by the United Nations Environment Program highlights the shortfalls. The world is on track to produce 58 gigatons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 – more than twice where it should be for the path to 1.5 C. The result would be an average global temperature increase of 2.7 C (4.9 F) in this century, nearly double the 1.5 C target.

Given the gap between countries’ actual commitments and the emissions cuts required to keep temperatures to 1.5 C, it appears practically impossible to stay within the 1.5 C goal.

Global emissions aren’t close to plateauing, and with the amount of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere, it is very likely that the world will reach the 1.5 C warming level within the next five to 10 years.

With current policies and pledges, the world will far exceed the 1.5 C goal. Climate Action Tracker

How large the overshoot will be and for how long it will exist critically hinges on accelerating emissions cuts and scaling up negative emissions solutions, including carbon capture technology.

At this point, nothing short of an extraordinary and unprecedented effort to cut emissions will save the 1.5 C goal. We know what can be done – the question is whether people are ready for a radical and immediate change of the actions that lead to climate change, primarily a transformation away from a fossil fuel-based energy system.

Peter Schlosser, Vice President and Vice Provost of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, Arizona State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Continue ReadingAfter COP27, all signs point to world blowing past the 1.5 degrees global warming limit – here’s what we can still do about it

Extinction Rebellion actions at fossil fuel enablers across London

From 11am on Monday November 21st, Extinction Rebellion and other aligned groups took nonviolent action at thirteen sites across central London, targeting the offices of companies and organisations which have links to the fossil fuel industry. The groups sent a universal message that it’s time to ‘cut the ties’ with fossil fuels.  

Actions took place at BP, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, BAE Systems, Church House, Ineos, Eversheds Sutherland, Schlumberger, the International Maritime Organisation, the Institute of Economic Affairs, JP Morgan, Arch Insurance, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

The actions follow the conclusion of COP27 in Egypt, which was widely criticised for the heavy presence of representatives of oil and gas companies. Hill+Knowlton Strategies, one of the companies targeted today, has worked for fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco and recently managed communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference at Sharm El Sheikh.

Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, Sarah Hart, said: “Behind incomprehensible government decisions to double down on fossil fuel development, sign off new oil exploration licenses and allow the big energy companies to rake in record profits, lies a network of companies and organisations that are profiting from this destructive path. 

“While the rest of us worry about the cost of turning the heating on our government is prioritising the profits of the very companies that are jeopardising our climate and environment. But everyday people are way ahead of politicians. They want to be able to heat their homes and they want a future for their children. 

“So today, Extinction Rebellion are sending the message that it’s time to cut the ties with fossil fuels or lose the social license to operate in the UK.”

DETAILS OF THE ACTIONS: 

XR Cymru at Hill+Knowlton Strategies offices, Clerkenwell Green
XR Cymru splattered fake oil over the offices of public relations consultancy Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Hill+Knowlton has worked for fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco and recently managed communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference at Sharm El Sheikh.

IEA Writers Rebel. Photo: Extinction Rebellion.

Writers Rebel at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Lord North Street
Writers Rebel poured fake oil on the front steps of free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs. The institute, located just meters from the Houses of Parliament, has received money from fossil fuel companies, regularly publishes materials questioning the consensus on climate science and has huge influence on politicians.

21st Nov 2022. J P Morgan offices, 60 Victoria Embankment, London, UK. Three Doctors for XR arrested after pasting posters and gluing themselves to the outside windows.Photo: Extinction Rebellion.

Doctors for XR at JP Morgan, Victoria Embankment 
Doctors for XR glued themselves to the windows at the London HQ of JP Morgan and pasted images to the front facade of the building depicting scenes of climate breakdown both here in the UK and overseas. JP Morgan are the world’s biggest fossil fuel financiers.

Christian Climate Action at BAE Systems offices, Carlton Gardens
Christian Climate Action left handprints of fake blood and oil on the offices of Britain’s leading arms manufacturer BAE Systems. BAE Systems supply weaponry to conflicts which increase the vulnerability of people living on the front lines of climate change. The arms giant also provides military and technical support to Saudia Arabia, enabling the regime’s oil production.

Christian Climate Action. Photo: Extinction Rebellion Holly

Christian Climate Action at Church House, Great Smith Street
Christian Climate Action also took action outside Church House in Westminster to highlight the Church of England’s failing strategy to stay invested in fossil fuels and influence the industry as shareholders.

A spokesperson for Christian Climate Action, said: “The Church should be showing moral leadership in rejecting profiting from investments in companies that continue to fuel climate suffering.”

Plastics Rebellion at Ineos offices, Hans Crescent
Plastics Rebellion sprayed fake oil outside the offices of Ineos, one of the world’s largest petrochemical producers and a significant player in the oil and gas market. Many of the plastics produced in the UK start their life at the INEOS Grangemouth refinery.

HS2 Rebellion at Eversheds Sutherland, Wood Street
HS2 Rebellion sprayed the offices of multinational law firm Eversheds Sutherland with fake oil. As solicitors for HS2 and Esso, Eversheds Sutherland have been forerunners in criminalising nonviolent environmental protest through the use of injunctions.

XR East of England and XR Youth at Schlumberger offices in London, Buckingham Gate
XR East of England and XR Youth poured fake oil over a globe at the offices of the world’s largest oilfields services provider Schlumberger to expose their complicity in ecocide. As the world’s largest oilfield services provider, Schlumberger enable fossil fuel extraction, operating in 120 countries around the world, with over 36,000 patents dedicated to extracting every last drop of oil and gas from the ground.

Ocean Rebellion at the International Maritime Organisation, Albert Embankment 
Ocean Rebellion held protests outside the offices of the International Maritime Organisation where performances illustrated the UN shipping body’s refusal to regulate shipping emissions. A heavy plume of smog filled the air and an oil slick appeared on the ground with dead birds caught in it.

Money Rebellion at Arch Insurance, Great Tower Street
Money Rebellion poured fake oil at the offices of Arch Insurance. Arch Insurance are understood to be in negotiations with fossil fuel giant Total regarding the insurance of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a project that will jeopardise important ecosystems, fuel climate change and pose significant risks to millions of people. Money Rebellion is there to say ‘Arch must rule out EACOP’.

Sky Rebellion at Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, Portman Square
Sky Rebellion poured fake oil in front of the London offices of Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan. The Canadian based pension fund invests in infrastructure projects including the controversial expansion of Bristol Airport which it owns.

XR South East at BP. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

XR South East at BP HQ, St James’ Square
XR South East used fire extinguishers to spray fake on oil BP headquarters in central London. 

A spokesperson for XR South East, said: “The addiction to fossil fuels must end. The huge fossil fuel corporations like BP and those who aid and abet them KNOW what we face. BP hides the dirty secrets that lie behind its latest big profit of £7,100,000,000. Enough is enough. Today we are exposing the ties between the collaborators and we will piece together the web of lies with our actions.”

XR South West at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Victoria Street
XR South West sprayed fake oil on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to protest against its plans to issue more than 100 new licences for exploration and extraction of oil and gas in the North Sea – meaning renewed and accelerating extraction way beyond 2030 and way beyond the UK’s Paris Agreement commitments.

XR Rhythms (marching between the locations listed above)
In June, London endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, so XR Rhythms is marching through London to highlight the web of fossil fuel enablers still working in our city. We want to drum out fossil fuel investments and celebrate the future transition to a more sustainable economy!

[from an Extinction Rebellion press release.]

Continue ReadingExtinction Rebellion actions at fossil fuel enablers across London

‘Another Terrible Failure’: COP27 Ends With No Action to Cut Off Climate-Wrecking Fossil Fuels

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

“If all fossil fuels are not rapidly phased out, no amount of money will be able to cover the cost of the resulting loss and damage,” said one climate justice advocate.

KENNY STANCILNovember 21, 2022

Despite mountains of iron-clad evidence that extracting and burning more coal, oil, and gas will exacerbate deadly planetary heating, negotiators at the United Nations COP27 climate conference failed yet again to directly confront the fossil fuel industry whose insatiable quest for profits is putting the future of humanity in jeopardy.

“More fossil fuels equals more loss and damage.”

“In a critical year, this COP made no progress towards the just and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” Oil Change International executive director Elizabeth Bast said Sunday in a statement. “Despite important progress on the establishment of a loss and damage fund, the final outcome reiterated unambitious language on fossil fuels that will lead to catastrophic consequences.”

In what climate justice advocates called a major breakthrough, the United States on Saturday dropped its opposition to the establishment of a loss and damage fund that aims to compensate low-income nations for the devastating effects of global warming. Through no fault of their own, the world’s poorest people are most vulnerable to the deadly impacts of increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather caused primarily by wealthy polluters. A committee of 24 countries has one year to hammer out details, including which governments will contribute to the fund and which will benefit from it.

However, “COP27’s key steps toward a loss and damage fund are deeply marred by the lack of progress on fossil fuels,” said Collin Rees, U.S. campaign manager for Oil Change International. “Despite unprecedented discussion of equitably phasing out oil, gas, and coal, the end result was yet another COP without formal recognition that Big Oil is driving the climate crisis and harming communities.”

“The failure of leaders at COP27 to commit to an unqualified phase-out of oil, gas, and coal not only pushes 1.5ºC further out of reach, it also undermines progress on loss and damage,” Nikki Reisch, director of climate and energy at the Center for International Environmental Law, wrote on social media. “The plain truth is that more fossil fuels equals more loss and damage. Remedy requires cessation of the harm.”

“In settling for a copy-paste of the Glasgow Pact’s incomplete and loophole-ridden language on a ‘phasedown of unabated coal power’ and ‘phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies,'” Reisch continued, “governments at COP27 took a giant step backward.”

This critical assessment was shared by many observers.

“If all fossil fuels are not rapidly phased out, no amount of money will be able to cover the cost of the resulting loss and damage,” said Yeb Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “When your bathtub is overflowing you turn off the taps, you don’t wait awhile and then go out and buy a bigger mop.”

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Ahead of the COP27 summit, the U.N. found that Earth is on currently track to be up to 2.9°C hotter than the preindustrial average by century’s end. Existing emissions reductions targets and policies are so weak, the body warned, that there is “no credible path to 1.5°C in place,” and only “urgent system-wide transformation” can prevent the world from crossing dangerous tipping points that will lead to the most cataclysmic outcomes.

Temperature rise of roughly 1.2°C to date has already unleashed chaos around the world, including calamitous flooding in Nigeria and Pakistan, along with several other disasters in various places this year.

Despite the worsening nature of the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency, hundreds of corporations are planning to expand dirty energy production in the coming years, including several proposed drilling projects and pipelines in Africa. To make matters worse, delegates at COP27—where more than 630 fossil fuel industry representatives made their presence felt—refused to endorse a complete phase-out of coal, oil, and gas.

“We are at risk of a major surge of new oil and gas production.”

“I don’t in any way want to diss the great success by poorer nations in achieving a loss and damage agreement,” environmental journalist George Monbiot tweeted Sunday, though he predicted that “rich nations will break their promises to pay,” as they have when it comes to providing $100 billion each year to fund climate action in the Global South. “There was no progress on stopping climate breakdown. COP27 is another terrible failure.”

“Whenever an agreement is reached at one of these meetings, people celebrate, largely with relief at having got to the end,” Monbiot added. “It’s only afterwards that we begin to ask, ‘What exactly has been achieved?’ If it’s is anything other than decisive action, the answer is not much.”

David Tong, global industry campaign manager at Oil Change International, said that “some people turned up to negotiate for their futures, but oil and gas lobbyists turned up to negotiate for their wallets.”

“The reality is that the only way to safely limit warming to 1.5ºC is to equitably phase out oil, gas, and coal,” said Tong. “Instead, we are at risk of a major surge of new oil and gas production.”

Tong noted that “new fields and shale wells approved from 2022-2025 could result in 70 gigatonnes of additional climate pollution—and every single tonne of that would take us further beyond 1.5ºC because burning just the oil and gas in already existing fields would exhaust our carbon budget for a 50% chance at 1.5ºC.”

“Although this COP failed to call for an equitable phase-out of oil, gas, and coal,” Tong continued, “momentum is growing. A remarkable group of countries across numerous negotiating blocs spoke up together, urging the phase-out of fossil fuels.”

Notwithstanding the anti-extraction struggles being waged by communities and climate justice campaigners the world over, Seve Paeniu, minister of finance for the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, denounced his fellow policymakers for omitting language that explicitly demands a fossil fuel phase-out. Tuvalu called for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty at COP27, becoming the second country to do so, after Vanuatu at the U.N. General Assembly in September.

“We have finally responded to the call of hundreds of millions of people across the world to help them address loss and damage. So this is a defining COP in that respect,” said Paeniu. “However, it is regrettable that we haven’t achieved an equal success in our attempt to achieve the 1.5ºC target. It is regrettable that we haven’t got strong language included in the cover decision before us on phasing out fossil fuel.”

“It is regrettable that we haven’t got text on peaking emissions before 2025,” Paeniu continued. “It is regrettable that we haven’t managed to get stronger mention of methane reduction.”

“In Glasgow, we saw a phase-down of coal,” Zeina Khalil Hajj, head of global campaigning and organizing at 350.org, said in a statement. “At COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, we needed to see an equitable and just phase-out of all fossil fuels.”

“A text that does not stop fossil fuel expansion, that does not provide progress from the already weak Glasgow Pact makes a mockery of the millions of people living with the impacts of climate change,” Hajj continued. “The agreement on loss and damage is a major breakthrough, but without action to phase out the expansion of the fossil fuels that will cause further loss and damage, COP27 has failed to make the progress needed. And we are building a fund for our own destruction.”

Bast, for her part, said that “even with this disappointing outcome, we’re seeing growing momentum from individual governments making meaningful commitments to phase out fossil fuels through initiatives like the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance and the Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition.”

“Most importantly, COP27 has showcased the growing power of the climate justice movement,” said Bast. “Throughout these two weeks, civil society voices have demanded a phase-out of fossil fuels and called for rich countries to pay up for climate debt.”

“Every day, we are seeing the power of communities resisting harmful oil, gas, and coal projects,” she added. “We are seeing massive growth in the breadth and depth of the movement. With this people power, we will force an equitable end to fossil fuels and a just transition to clean energy.”

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Continue Reading‘Another Terrible Failure’: COP27 Ends With No Action to Cut Off Climate-Wrecking Fossil Fuels

‘Deeply Depressing’ Study Shows Planet-Warming Emissions Continue to Rise

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

“If current emissions levels persist, there is now a 50% chance that global warming of 1.5°C will be exceeded in nine years.”

JAKE JOHNSONNovember 11, 2022

Rapid and drastic cuts to global greenhouse gas emissions are necessary to curb warming and prevent the most dire climate scenarios from becoming reality.

But a new study released Friday by the Global Carbon Project finds “no sign of the decrease that is urgently needed” as emissions remain at record levels this year, with fossil fuel giants and governments plowing ahead with new extraction efforts that could push critical climate targets out of reach.

Scientists with the Global Carbon Project estimate that total CO2 emissions will reach 40.6 billion tonnes this year—driven by rising pollution from fossil fuels—and will likely continue to rise in 2023 without bold action from policymakers worldwide.

“If current emissions levels persist, there is now a 50% chance that global warming of 1.5°C will be exceeded in nine years,” the researchers note. “Projected emissions from coal and oil are above their 2021 levels, with oil being the largest contributor to total emissions growth.”

“The 2022 picture among major emitters is mixed: emissions are projected to fall in China (0.9%) and the E.U. (0.8%), and increase in the USA (1.5%) and India (6%), with a 1.7% rise in the rest of the world combined,” the report finds.

Professor Pierre Friedlingstein of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute, the lead author of the new study, lamented in a statement that “we see yet another rise in global fossil CO2 emissions” in 2022 “when we need a rapid decline.”

“There are some positive signs,” Friedlingstein added, pointing to the slowing growth of fossil fuel emissions over the long term, “but leaders meeting at COP27 will have to take meaningful action if we are to have any chance of limiting global warming close to 1.5°C.”

That increasingly imperiled warming target remains a focus as world leaders gather in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt for the annual United Nations climate conference, a key opportunity for nations to commit to collective action against a climate emergency that is wreaking havoc worldwide.

Climate campaigners warn the opportunity is at risk of being squandered as Big Oil lobbyists swarm the conference and gas producers use the event to push their dirty energy source as a “transition fuel.”

Professor Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, a co-author of the Global Carbon Project study, said that if governments respond to worsening climate chaos “by turbocharging clean energy investments and planting, not cutting, trees, global emissions could rapidly start to fall.”

“We are at a turning point and must not allow world events to distract us from the urgent and sustained need to cut our emissions to stabilize the global climate and reduce cascading risks,” Le Quéré warned.

Allowing planetary heating to exceed 1.5°C above preindustrial levels by the end of the century would spell disaster for large swaths of the planet as trends already seen around the world—from increasingly extreme weather events to species extinctions to rapidly melting sea ice—would accelerate, potentially locking in irreversible climate damage.

Professor Mark Maslin of University College London told The Guardian that the Global Carbon Project study is “deeply depressing.”

“It sends a clear message to the leaders at COP27—the world needs to have significant cuts in global emissions in 2023 if we are to have any chance to keep climate change to 1.5°C,” said Maslin.

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

3 months ago: Firefighters from across EU battle huge wildfire in France – BBC News

Continue Reading‘Deeply Depressing’ Study Shows Planet-Warming Emissions Continue to Rise

Fossil Fuel-Linked Companies Dominate Sponsorship of COP27

From software giants to soft drinks makers, the vast majority of partners at climate talks in Egypt are enmeshed with the oil and gas industry, researchers find.

Republished from DeSmog according to their republishing guidelines.

Stella Levantesi

ByStella Levantesi

onNov 16, 2022 @ 09:05 PST

Series: COP27 COVERAGE

Eighteen of the 20 companies sponsoring U.N. climate talks in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh either directly support or partner with oil and gas companies, according to a new analysis shared with DeSmog. 

The findings underscore concerns over the role of the fossil fuel industry at the negotiations, known as COP27, which have become a focal point for deals to exploit African natural gas

“These findings underline the extent to which this COP has never been about the climate: It’s been about rehabilitating the gas industry and making sure that fossil fuels are on the agenda,” said Pascoe Sabido of Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory, which co-produced the analysis with Corporate Accountability, a nonprofit headquartered in Boston. 

“These talks are supposed to be about moving us away from fossil fuels, phasing them out,” Sabido told DeSmog. 

A previous analysis by the two organisations and research and advocacy group Global Witness identified at least 636 fossil lobbyists who have been granted access to COP27 – an increase of more than 25 percent compared to the previous COP26 talks held in Glasgow a year ago; and twice the number of delegates from a U.N. body representing indigenous peoples.  

“This is part of the bigger problem which is linked to the overall corporate capture of the U.N. climate talks,” Sabido said. “We need to kick big polluters out.” 

Social license

As documented in the latest edition of DeSmog’s Gaslit column, fossil fuel sponsorship of COP27 represents an extension of a decades-long effort by oil and gas companies to buy social legitimacy by bankrolling sports, arts, and education around the world. 

COP27 partner Hassan Allam Holding, one of the largest privately owned corporations in Egypt, has announced plans to invest  $17.1 billion to turn North Africa into a regional natural gas hub, and $830 million in oil projects over the next two years, the analysis found. 

Sponsors also include Cairo-based Afreximbank, which plans to finance new oil and gas projects through the creation of a multi-billion dollar “energy bank”, and Mashreq, the oldest private bank in the United Arab Emirates, which refinances oil and gas projects. 

Microsoft, which uses cloud-based artificial intelligence to help companies such as Chevron optimize oil and gas extraction, is a partner at COP27, along with rival Google. 

Google says it has cracked down on climate misinformation on its platforms. But the company is still taking money from oil and gas companies to place adverts in search results that present their industry as environmentally friendly, a report found.

German engineering company Siemens, another COP27 sponsor, services firms such as Cairo-based Orascom Construction, which built one of the world’s biggest gas power plants in Egypt in 2018. IBM, also a sponsor, works with pesticide and fertiliser companies to promote “carbon farming” – a carbon offsetting technique that generates carbon credits for storing carbon in soils. Many climate groups believe such practices will provide an excuse for big companies to continue polluting. 

Conflict of interest

The predominance of fossil fuel sponsorship at COP27 cuts a stark contrast with demands from countries facing an existential threat from climate change for urgent action to cut emissions.

Last week, the island states of Vanuatu and Tuvalu became the first countries to back calls to cut greenhouse gas emissions at source by developing a treaty modeled on Cold War-era nuclear arms control agreements to wind down oil, gas and coal production.

Advocates of the campaign for such a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, including a growing number of cities and municipalities, also want to ban fossil fuel advertising and sponsorship. 

“We’ve got numerous countries calling for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and yet COP27 is sponsored by the same companies either directly funding them [fossil fuels], facilitating the extraction of oil and gas, or using their products,” Sabido said. 

The Boston Consulting Group, an American consulting firm and one of the main COP27 partners, works with Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell. COP27 lead partner Coca-Cola, which relies on plastic bottles derived from hydrocarbons, was named the world’s top plastic polluter for five years in a row by the Break Free From Plastic movement in its annual brand audit. The oil industry is banking on expanding production of plastics and other petrochemicals for its future growth. 

Only two out of the 20 COP27 sponsors, renewable energy provider Infinity Power and real estate developer Sodic, have no strong ties to the fossil fuel industry, the analysis  found. 

Corporate Europe Observatory and Corporate Accountability are calling for the U.N. body that organises the annual climate negotiations to adopt a conflict of interest policy that would exclude fossil fuel companies and their partners from attending or sponsoring the events. 

More than 450 organizations have already supported a campaign to Kick Big Polluters Out of COP27.

“What we need to do is end big polluter sponsorships of the talks, they shouldn’t be allowed to bankroll this process,” Sabido said. “They shouldn’t be allowed to greenwash their image through their presence at COPs.” 

Republished from DeSmog according to their republishing guidelines.

Continue ReadingFossil Fuel-Linked Companies Dominate Sponsorship of COP27

‘Abdication of Responsibility’: Fury as COP27 Draft Omits Oil and Gas Phase-Out

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

“At a COP shaped by more than 600 fossil-fuel lobbyists roaming the halls, parties fighting for progress must push back against weak language that allows the fossil fuel industry to continue its deadly expansion,” said one campaigner.

Julia Conley November 17, 2022

Climate action groups were outraged Thursday as global policymakers released a draft agreement making clear that dire warnings from energy experts and scientists regarding fossil fuel extraction have not gotten through to them, with the document failing to endorse a phase-out of oil and gas use.

The draft agreement was published as the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) comes to a close in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and is expected to be heavily revised in the coming days.

“As climate impacts and injustice accelerate, lives, livelihoods, cultures, and even whole countries are lost, the latest draft cover note from the COP27 presidency pushes the pedal to the metal on the highway to climate hell.”

The absence of crucial language regarding oil and gas left campaigners concerned that the conference, where hundreds of fossil fuel lobbyists were present, will ultimately fail to produce an agreement that treats the climate crisis with the urgency needed.

“We came to Sharm el-Sheikh to demand real action on meeting and exceeding climate finance and adaptation commitments, a phase-out of all fossil fuels and for rich countries to pay for the loss and damage done to the most vulnerable communities within developing countries by agreeing a Loss and Damage Finance Fund,” said Yeb Saño, Greenpeace International’s head of delegation at the summit. “None of that is on offer in this draft. Climate justice will not be served if this sets the bar for a COP27 outcome.”

The draft agreement “encourages the continued efforts to accelerate measures towards the phase-down of unabated coal power and phase out and rationalize inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”

It also echoes the call in last year’s document out of COP26 to emphasize “the importance of exerting all efforts at all levels to achieve the Paris agreement temperature goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

But the omission of a phase-out of all fossil fuel extraction, which delegates from India have lobbied for at COP27 and which the U.S., U.K., and European Union expressed conditional support for in recent days, denotes a draft document that “ignores the science of 1.5°C” even as it pledges to limit the temperature increase, said Tzeporah Berman, chair of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative.

“Acknowledging only the need to phase down coal while ignoring oil and gas is hugely problematic. This predatory delay is out of line with the science and with 1.5 degrees,” Collin Rees, campaign manager at Oil Change International, told Bloomberg. “At a COP shaped by more than 600 fossil-fuel lobbyists roaming the halls, parties fighting for progress must push back against weak language that allows the fossil fuel industry to continue its deadly expansion.”

The draft is the first agreement out of an annual U.N. climate conference to address “loss and damage”—the harms already suffered by countries in the Global South due to the climate crisis and the need for wealthy governments to help finance their recovery.

The document does not provide details about how a loss and damage fund would operate, saying only that it “welcomes” the inclusion of the issue in the final agreement.

“More than 40 million people in the Horn of Africa are currently experiencing climate-induced hunger crisis,” said Nafkote Dabi, climate change policy lead for Oxfam, on Wednesday. “Pakistan is faced with $30 billion worth of loss and damage from the recent mass floods that left a third of the country under water. It is crucial that developing countries can access a formal fund to pay for the damages and losses they are already suffering today.”

Rich countries must meet their $100 billion annual goal for climate finance in addition to establishing a new Loss and Damage fund that is fit for purpose, accessible and gender responsive,” Dabi added. “Rich countries must heed the urgent call and deliver a loss and damage fund at COP27.”

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COP27 protest

As COP27 Failure Looms, Climate Movement Demands: ‘Phase Out All Fossil Fuels’

Brett Wilkins

The document includes some areas of improvement over the agreement written at COP26 last year, such as a call for multilateral development banks to scale up climate finance “without exacerbating debt burdens” for countries in the Global South, but leaves out details on how wealthy countries must strengthen their emissions-slashing targets.

“There should be a clear road map by those who are emitting a lot to start reducing their emissions,” Collins Nzovu, Zambia’s environment minister, told Bloomberg. “We are headed completely in the wrong direction—driving very, very fast into a ditch.”

Saño condemned the draft as “an abdication of responsibility to capture the urgency expressed by many countries to see all oil and gas added to coal for at least a phase-down.”

“As climate impacts and injustice accelerate, lives, livelihoods, cultures, and even whole countries are lost,” he added, “the latest draft cover note from the COP27 presidency pushes the pedal to the metal on the highway to climate hell.”

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Continue Reading‘Abdication of Responsibility’: Fury as COP27 Draft Omits Oil and Gas Phase-Out

Is COP27 Already Too Lost and Too Damaged?

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

To date, the world’s wealthy countries have so far refused to pay for “loss and damage,” that is, to admit that they’ve massively polluted the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gasses.

Amy GoodmanDenis Moynihan November 17, 2022 by Democracy Now!

The United Nations Climate Change Conference has convened here in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. It’s called COP27, the 27th Conference of Parties to the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the ever-evolving, never-quite-fully-negotiated treaty that, it is hoped, will someday ensure all countries rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to forestall catastrophic climate change. An estimated 30,000 people from around the world have descended on this Red Sea resort on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. The summit is hosted by Egypt, a dictatorship propped up by billions of dollars annually in military aid from the United States. This has been dubbed “The Africa COP,” to highlight the continent’s plight as one of the world’s poorest regions, already suffering dire impacts of the climate crisis.

The phrase “Loss and Damage” denotes the devastating climate impacts millions are already experiencing in poor frontline nations—those that have contributed the least to global warming.

“This is not an African COP. Africa is not here,” Nnimmo Bassey, renowned Nigerian environmentalist, said on the Democracy Now! news hour. “The poor people who are suffering floods, droughts and all kinds of adverse situations, they are not here. They can’t afford to get here. They wouldn’t get accreditation. They can’t afford the accommodation in this city that is mostly for tourists…The other COPs were exclusive, but this is super exclusive. We are all cordoned into a peninsula, cut off from even the country in which we are supposed to be.” Bassey concluded, calling the UN climate process itself “lost and damaged.”

While Bassey has been coming to COPs for many years, members of the growing youth climate movement joined more recently. Vanessa Nakate founded the first climate strike in Uganda. “Fridays for Future” grew out of a solo protest by teenager Greta Thunberg in front of the Swedish parliament in August 2018 and blossomed into a global movement involving more than 14 million young people. Students take a school day off to strike, typically on Friday, demanding that the older people in charge take urgent action on the climate emergency.

In December, 2019, at COP25 in Madrid, Vanessa Nakate described her early days as a climate striker in Kampala, Uganda: “People found it very weird that I was on the streets. Some of them threw some negative comments, like I was wasting my time, and the government will not listen to anything that I have to say. But I just kept going.”

One month later, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Vanessa was photographed with Greta and other youth activists. The Associated Press published an edited version of the photo, cropping Vanessa out of a group of five. The four remaining in the photo were white. The AP apologized and restored the image.

“Being cropped out of that photo changed me. I became bolder and more direct in how I talk about the climate crisis and racism,” Vanessa later wrote in her book, A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis.

Here at COP27, Vanessa said on Democracy Now!, “We have more than 600 fossil fuel lobbyists at this COP, and yet so many communities and activists from the frontlines of the climate crisis weren’t able to make it here…The climate crisis is pushing so many communities beyond adaptation. You cannot adapt to starvation. You can’t adapt to extinction.”

She continued, “What will make it an African COP is ensuring that there is an establishment of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility…supporting a just transition to renewable energy while addressing the energy poverty on the African continent.”

The phrase “Loss and Damage” denotes the devastating climate impacts millions are already experiencing in poor frontline nations—those that have contributed the least to global warming. These developing countries are demanding that rich, historically high-polluting countries meet their pledges made at COP21 in Paris, in 2015, to contribute $100 billion per year to a fund “for mitigation and adaptation.” “Mitigation” refers to investments that lower emissions, like building renewable energy installations. and “adaptation” to building infrastructure and capacity to deal with the impacts of climate change—for example, building seawalls to cope with rising sea levels.

To date, the world’s wealthy countries have so far refused to pay for “loss and damage,” that is, to admit that they’ve massively polluted the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gasses—in the case of the United States and most of Europe, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution—and thus must pay climate reparations for the impacts of their pollution.

But those who have been fighting for a just climate transition aren’t giving up hope. Hundreds packed into a People’s Plenary here as COP27 neared it close. Asad Rehman, lead spokesperson for the Climate Justice Coalition, offered his assessment of the entrenched fossil fuel interests as he rallied those gathered for the struggles ahead:

“The word they fear the most: solidarity.”

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Continue ReadingIs COP27 Already Too Lost and Too Damaged?

Court finds Doctors for XR not guilty for Lambeth Bridge blockade

Seven health professionals have been acquitted at City of London magistrates’ court today. Dr David McKelvey, Dr Chris Newman, Dr Mark Russell and Dr Patrick Hart – all GPs, Dr Alice Clack – a hospital consultant obstetrician, Rosie Jones – a clinical psychologist and Anna Bunten – a specialist nurse, faced a charge of ‘breach of section 14’ of the public order act.

Judge Robinson remarked on acquittal, “I was impressed by the integrity and rationality of their beliefs” and “their evidence was highly moving.”

Doctors for XR block Lambeth Bridge 10th April 2022. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

They are part of a group of approximately thirty health professionals who blocked Lambeth bridge in the late afternoon of Sunday 10th April, including former Editor in Chief of the British Medical Journal, Dr Fiona Godlee. They displayed a banner saying ‘For Health’s Sake. Stop Financing Fossil Fuels’, to highlight the estimated £10 billion in annual  financial support the government gives to the fossil fuel industry, according to the OECD.

The group were present at an earlier blockade by Extinction Rebellion, which had taken place from 2pm to 4:30pm. Most protesters left by 4.30pm but the health professionals elected to block the bridge to make their own protest. Thirty minutes later, shortly after 5pm, they were arrested.

This followed an earlier protest on World Health Day, the 7th April, when the group blocked the road outside HM Treasury, while delivering a letter requesting ‘the removal of UK financial support for fossil fuels’. The Treasury made no immediate response but replied to the letter in May.

Doctors for XR block Lambeth Bridge 10th April 2022. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

Jenny Winter, a solicitor acting on behalf of Dr David McKelvey, said:“The right to peaceful protest is a cornerstone of any properly functioning democracy so that a government found wanting in protecting public interest or health is called to account. These health professionals have been exonerated of wrongdoing after raising the alarm about urgent, major, public health issues.”

Dr Fiona Godlee, Ambassador of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and former Editor in Chief of the British Medical Journal, said: “I was a part of the protest on Lambeth Bridge and these doctors and health professionals have my full support. They have acted at all times with enormous professionalism, courage and integrity. Their protest is in a long tradition of non-violent civil disobedience for causes that seek to improve social justice and, in the case of climate protest, to secure a liveable future for all. 

“By acting as they have done, they are fulfilling their duty of care to their patients and the public, alerting us all to the real and present dangers of the climate crisis and calling on our political leaders to act now to avoid climate catastrophe.”

Defendant Dr Chris Newman, a GP, said: “Medical institutions have been printing ever more concerned articles about the risks of climate change to health in the past couple of years, but it has not been enough. Protest, like this one, is like attempting to shock a failing heart, in the hope it will change its rhythm.  The Lancet said recently “There is some evidence that disruptive or radical non-violent actions…are successful at garnering public attention for a cause. Thankfully today, the court recognised that right to protest “

14.11.22_XR Docs_City of London Mags_Helena Smith_7224
14.11.22_XR Docs_City of London Mags_Helena Smith_7224

Dr Patrick Hart, a GP, said: “I’m trying to make a point. It’s not about our morning coffee being too milky, it’s about the deaths of millions, the loss of everything we care about, in particular the loss of law and order. The level of disruption we caused was proportionate to the problems we face. I don’t want to be arrested, but I accept it as a consequence. I’m heavily invested in the rule of law, and I do this to protect the rule of law, 18 King’s Counsellors have said that we face the collapse of the rule of law.”

Anna Bunten, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, said: “The Lancet, a top medical journal, said just this year ‘A persistent fossil fuel addiction is amplifying the health impacts of climate change, and compounding the concurrent energy, cost-of-living, food, and COVID-19 crises we face.’ We believe that this protest will help to wake us all up to this inconvenient truth and the need for society-wide change to get us off fossil fuels – our future health depends on it.”

DefendantDr Alice Clack, a Consultant Obstetrician, said: “As an Obstetrician it’s becoming ever more clear that climate change will impact the life of every child I deliver. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently said ‘We have a rapidly closing window of opportunity to create a livable future’, and yet our government continues to invest in new fossil fuels we cannot safely burn.  As a health practitioner, an aunt, and a member of society, I have a responsibility to speak out and demand both an end to this destructive policy, and an appropriate commitment to the urgent action we need to protect our children.” 

Continue ReadingCourt finds Doctors for XR not guilty for Lambeth Bridge blockade

‘Not Yet Defeated’: 1,000+ March for Climate Justice at COP27

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

People participate in the Global Day of Action Climate Justice March at COP27 on November 12, 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. (Photo: Gertie Goddard/Greenhouse Communications via Twitter)

“COP27 needs to be a turning point for the climate crisis,” said one activist.

KENNY STANCILNovember 12, 2022

Hundreds of people rallied Saturday at the United Nations COP27 summit in Egypt to demand the fundamental political-economic transformations required to achieve climate justice.

“There can be no climate justice without human rights,” declared the COP27 Coalition, an alliance of progressive advocacy groups that planned the protest as part of its push for “an urgent response from governments to the multiple, systemic crises” facing people around the world. “We are not yet defeated!”

“We march today as part of the global day of action,” Janet Kachinga, spokesperson for the COP27 Coalition, said in a statement. “Solidarity is the cornerstone of climate justice.”

“We are marching inside the U.N. space to highlight that our movements are unable to march freely on the streets of Egypt,” said Kachinga.

Ahead of COP27, human rights groups denounced Egypt’s repression of dissidents, including hunger-striking political prisoner Alaa Abd El Fattah. Since the conference began last week in the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egyptian officials have been accused of spying on and otherwise intimidating participants.

“We refuse to greenwash the Egyptian government’s denial of the right to freedom of association, assembly, and speech by marching in a government-controlled march in the streets of Sharm El-Sheikh,” Kachinga continued.

Instead, from inside a designated Blue Zone governed by U.N. rules, activists sought “to lift up the voices and demands of all our frontline communities and movements facing repression because they dream of a better world,” said Kachinga.

“We are at a crossroads of overlapping crises and governments are not on track to stop the worst of the climate crisis,” said Kachinga. “COP27 needs to be a turning point for the climate crisis, and not a moment to silence people.”

The U.N. recently published a series of reports warning that as a result of woefully inadequate emissions reductions targets and policies, there is “no credible path to 1.5°C in place,” and only “urgent system-wide transformation” can prevent temperatures from rising a cataclysmic 3°C by century’s end.

“Solidarity is the cornerstone of climate justice.”

According to the latest data, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—the three main heat-trapping gases fueling global warming—hit an all-time high in 2021, and greenhouse gas emissions have only continued to climb this year.

Despite overwhelming evidence that new fossil fuel projects will lead to deadly climate chaos, oil and gas corporations are still planning to expand dirty energy production in the coming years, including in Africa.

“The call for greater oil and gas production is completely out of step with climate science,” Jeni Miller, executive director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance, said Friday in a statement. “Presented as a necessity for development, new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure would instead simply lock a new generation into these dirty fuels, at a time when clean energy is viable and ready to be scaled.”

“The rightful need of people in low- and middle-income countries for access to energy—for clean cooking, for healthcare, for education, for jobs, and many other key determinants of health—must not bring with it the health costs associated with fossil fuels,” Miller added. “It is vital that high-income countries provide financial support for the transition in low- and middle-income countries.”

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Among the key demands of the COP27 Coalition is that the rich nations most responsible for causing the climate crisis “fulfill their obligations and fair shares by reducing their emissions to zero and providing poorer nations the scale of financial support needed to address the crisis.”

The coalition argues that “repayment should include adaptation, loss and damage, technology transfer, and factor in debt cancellation for vulnerable countries [that] have been impoverished while dealing with the impacts of the climate crisis.”

A recent U.N.-backed report estimates that poor nations will need a combined total of $2.4 trillion per year by 2030 to fight the climate emergency—including funding for mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage.

“Unless more urgency is shown, marches will only be the start.”

A separate analysis from Carbon Brief reveals the extent of wealthy countries’ failures to mobilize far smaller sums of money to support sustainable development and enable equitable responses to escalating extreme weather disasters.

Since the COP15 meeting in 2009, developing countries have been promised that rich nations would provide at least $100 billion in climate aid each year by 2020. However, just over $83 billion was delivered in 2020, the most recent year for which data is available. The Global North is not expected to hit its annual target, widely regarded as insufficient, until 2023.

The U.S. is most responsible for the shortfall, providing less than $8 billion toward the $100 billion figure in 2020. That constitutes a mere 19% of the country’s approximately $40 billion “fair share,” or what it should be paying based on its cumulative contribution to global greenhouse gas pollution.

U.S. President Joe Biden has vowed to allocate $11.4 billion per year toward international green finance by 2024—less than 2% of the annual Pentagon budget and still far less than Washington’s fair share—but congressional lawmakers approved just $1 billion in a $1.5 trillion spending bill passed earlier this year.

When it comes to the U.N.-backed loss and damage fund, just a handful of high-polluting countries have pledged a combined total of around $250 million so far, a tiny fraction of the $31.8 trillion that the world’s 20 wealthiest economies collectively owe the Global South, according to the Climate Clock, a recently unveiled display at COP27.

“The science of climate breakdown has never been clearer, and seeing the suffering of my fellow Africans facing drought and famine, the impacts have never been more painful,” said Mohamed Adow, a representative of the COP27 Coalition.

“It’s no wonder that people are rising up across the world to make their voices heard that they will not stand for inaction from their leaders,” Adow continued. “Unless more urgency is shown, marches will only be the start.”

“Today we rise as a people, despite the restrictions, to demand our collective rights to a livable future,” said environmental justice champion Nnimmo Bassey. “We demand payment of the climate debt accumulated by centuries of dispossession, oppression, and destruction.”

“We need a COP led by the people and not polluters,” Bassey continued, alluding to the massive presence of fossil fuel lobbyists at the meeting. “One that rejects ecocidal, neocolonial false solutions that will widen the emissions gap, burn Africa and sink small island states, and further entrench environmental racism and climate injustice!”

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Continue Reading‘Not Yet Defeated’: 1,000+ March for Climate Justice at COP27