More Hot Air

In ‘A Lot of Hot Air’ I suggested that there are a number of problems with the Paris Agreement, but I had space only to look at the most obvious one. That involved looking at “the Dragon in the Room” and an analysis of China’s NDC. I indicated that there are elephants in the room too, and it should be noted that they are of both varieties – African and Indian. In this article I propose studying the Indian elephant, normally smaller than its African cousin, but in this case it presents large and very real problems.

The rhetoric and the reality

India’s NDC was submitted on 1st October 2015. It starts with a paragraph which makes all the right noises, but says nothing of any value in terms of reducing India’s greenhouse gas emissions. It thereby sets the scene for the hot air that is to follow. First there is the spiritual message:

“Yajur Veda 36.17: ‘Unto Heaven be Peace, Unto the Sky and the Earth be Peace, Peace be Unto the Water, Unto the Herbs and Trees be Peace’.

Followed by sickly sentiment and bombast:

India has a long history and tradition of harmonious co-existence between man and nature. Human beings here have regarded fauna and flora as part of their family. This is part of our heritage and manifest in our lifestyle and traditional practices. We represent a culture that calls our planet Mother Earth. As our ancient text says; “Keep pure! For the Earth is our mother! And we are her children!” The ancient Indian practice of Yoga, for example, is a system that is aimed at balancing contentment and worldly desires, that helps pursue a path of moderation and a sustainable lifestyle. Environmental sustainability, which involves both intra-generational and inter-generational equity, has been the approach of Indians for very long. Much before the climate change debate began, Mahatma Gandhi, regarded as the father of our nation had said that we should act as ‘trustees’ and use natural resources wisely as it is our moral responsibility to ensure that we bequeath to the future generations a healthy planet.”

The very next paragraph, however, makes clear where India is coming from and what its plans are:

The desire to improve one’s lot has been the primary driving force behind human progress. While a few fortunate fellow beings have moved far ahead in this journey of progress, there are many in the world who have been left behind. Nations that are now striving to fulfill this ‘right to grow’ of their teeming millions cannot be made to feel guilty of their development agenda as they attempt to fulfill this legitimate aspiration. Just because economic development of many countries in the past has come at the cost of environment, it should not be presumed that a reconciliation of the two is not possible.

The size of India and its population, and its anticipated growth, combined with the understandable desire to at least ameliorate, if not eradicate, poverty, make this a difficult, if not impossible, circle to square:

India accounts for 2.4% of the world surface area, but supports around 17.5% of the world population. It houses the largest proportion of global poor (30%), around 24% of the global population without access to electricity (304 million), about 30% of the global population relying on solid biomass for cooking and 92 million without access to safe drinking water. The average annual energy consumption in India in 2011 was only 0.6 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) per capita as compared to global average of 1.88 toe per capita. It may also be noted that no country in the world has been able to achieve a Human Development Index of 0.9 or more without an annual energy availability of at least 4 toe per capita. With a HDI of 0.586 and global rank of 135, India has a lot to do to provide a dignified life to its population and meet their rightful aspirations.

Given the development agenda in a democratic polity, the infrastructure deficit represented by different indicators, the pressures of urbanization and industrialization and the imperative of sustainable growth, India faces a formidable and complex challenge in working for economic progress towards a secure future for its citizens.”

There then follows a table of “key macro indicators”, which are truly problematic. Population projected to grow from 1.2Bn to 1.5Bn (that’s an increase of 300 million people, in case the use of billions lulls one into a false sense of small numbers) in just 16 years between 2014 and 2030. Over almost the same period (2011-2030), the numbers living in urban areas are expected to jump from 377 million to 609 million. Crucially, electricity demand (Twh) is expected to more than treble from 776 in 2012 to 2499 in 2030.

It is hardly surprising then that the NDC makes no reference to GHG emissions in absolute terms, or even against a Business as Usual scenario, since on either basis, emissions are bound to increase exponentially. Instead they choose to talk about “reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP“. This is of course progress of a sort, but far from reducing emissions, it will see them increase hugely, just not by as much as might otherwise have been the case. The extent to which emissions will skyrocket becomes clear by a quick look at some simple numbers. Their key macro indicators include “Per capita GDP in USD (nominal)”, 1408 in 2014, happily increasing to 4205 in 2030. That looks like a trebling, which it is, broadly, on a per capita basis, but bearing in mind that the population is set to increase by 25% over broadly the same period it represents an increase of GDP of c. 370%.

Set against that is this INDC target:

To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.”

Maths was never my strong point, but even if that optimistic level of emissions intensity reduction was achieved, it still looks to me like close to a doubling of emissions by 2030. Not very impressive in terms of “saving the planet”, albeit it might be a major achievement, given India’s issues. But what will it cost? This is the really scary bit:

Preliminary estimates indicate that India would need around USD 206 billion (at 2014-15 prices) between 2015 and 2030 for implementing adaptation actions in agriculture, forestry, fisheries infrastructure, water resources and ecosystems. Apart from this there will be additional investments needed for strengthening resilience and disaster management…. While this would evolve over time, a preliminary estimate suggests that at least USD 2.5 trillion (at 2014-15 prices) will be required for meeting India’s climate change actions between now and 2030.”

Given that the USA seems to be expected to put up most of the funding, no wonder Trump decided to get out of the Paris Accords. Will Biden stump up?

The problem with sex

To my mind, India’s NDC neatly illustrates at least two of the failures of the Paris Agreement. The first is the question of population growth.

The Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers (aka IPCC AR5) is the bible of climate alarmists, so let’s see what it has to say about population growth as a driver of AGW. Population growth is another elephant in the room for those wanting to reduce GHG emissions, and one which the Paris Agreement (and the NDCs submitted under it) completely ignore.

Here are just a few quotes from AR5:

“SPM 1.2 Causes of climate change – Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth…“.

Page 5 – “Globally, economic and population growth continued to be the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. The contribution of population growth between 2000 and 2010 remained roughly identical to the previous three decades…“.

SPM 2.1 Key drivers of future climate – “…Anthropogenic GHG emissions are mainly driven by population size, economic activity, lifestyle, energy use, land use patterns, technology and climate policy.”

Page 20 – “Without additional efforts to reduce GHG emissions beyond those in place today, global emissions growth is expected to persist, driven by growth in global population and economic activities.”

This represents one more example of the failure and pointlessness of the Paris Agreement – by the IPCC’s own reckoning, population growth is one of the biggest issues relating to GHG emissions, yet the Paris Agreement mentions it not once. It lacks so much as a mild encouragement to the Parties to control their growing populations. If populations continue to grow exponentially, then the Paris Agreement might as well be torn up, as significant population growth renders it utterly pointless. But the UN won’t go near that inconvenient truth. India’s NDC makes the point neatly. The critical takeaway from my analysis of India’s NDC is this one, and it bears repeating:

Its population is projected to grow from 1.2Bn to 1,5Bn, i.e. an increase of 300 million people, in just 16 years between 2014 and 2030. To put it another way, that’s an increase in 16 years equivalent to somewhere between four and five times the entire UK population. Over almost the same period (2011-2030), the numbers living in urban areas are expected to jump from 377 million to 609 million.  Again, to put it into context, that’s an increased urban population in 20 years equivalent to between three and four times the entire UK population. Net zero in the UK anyone? What’s the point?

Money, money, money

The next issue raised by India’s NDC is that of finance. The key takeaway here was this one:

“…a preliminary estimate suggests that at least USD 2.5 trillion (at 2014-15 prices) will be required for meeting India’s climate change actions between now and 2030.”

That’s an awful lot of money to be found by an increasingly cash-strapped post-covid international community.

In this context, the Green Climate Fund is worth looking at. From its website:

http://www.greenclimate.fund/how-we-work/resource-mobilization

Responding to the climate challenge requires collective action from all countries, cities, businesses, and private citizens. Among these concerted efforts, advanced economies have formally agreed to jointly mobilize USD 100 billion per year by 2020, from a variety of sources, to address the pressing mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries.

Governments also agreed that a major share of new multilateral, multi-billion dollar funding should be channelled through the Green Climate Fund. At the G7 Summit in June 2015, leaders emphasized GCF’s role as a key institution for global climate finance. Many developing countries, too, have explicitly expressed their expectations from the Fund in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

So, how’s that going?

As of July 2017, the Green Climate Fund has raised USD 10.3 billion equivalent in pledges from 43 state governments. The objective is for all pledges to be converted into contribution agreements within one year from the time at which they are made.”

By 31st July 2020 this figure remained unchanged.

As of July 2017, the Green Climate Fund has raised USD 24.3 million [this figure had increased to 35.4m by 31st July 2020] equivalent in pledges from 3 regional governments. The objective is for all pledges to be converted into contribution agreements within one year from the time at which they are made.”

As of July 2017, the Green Climate Fund has raised USD 1.3 million equivalent in pledges from 1 municipal government. The objective is for all pledges to be converted into contribution agreements within one year from the time at which they are made.” [this figure remained unchanged as at 31st July 2020]

Thus, in the 3 years between July 2017 and July 2020 the Green Climate Fund obtained pledges of an extra $11.2M, on top of the $35.9m of pledges that had been made by July 2017. So it’s not going terribly well, especially against the requests for financial assistance in the NDCs, which make the hoped-for $100Bn per annum figure look like chicken feed.  As things stand, it’s about $450Bn short.

By the way, the Green Climate Fund is based in South Korea which, by coincidence (or not) is the home country of Ban Ki-moon, who just happened to be Secretary-General of the UN when the Green Climate Fund was created…

Did someone mention coal?

This article is about some of the problems with the Paris Agreement, and an analysis of India’s NDC was the peg on which to hang that analysis. However, coal is so central to India’s NDC, that I could not finish without looking at this issue. The next time someone tries to tell you that India is cutting down on its use of coal, this should enable you to put them straight. Their actual policy is this:

Clean Coal policies: Coal based power as of now accounts for about 60.8% (167.2 GW) of India’s installed capacity. In order to secure reliable, adequate and affordable supply of electricity, coal will continue to dominate power generation in future. Government of India has already taken several initiatives to improve the efficiency of coal based power plants and to reduce its carbon footprint. All new, large coal-based generating stations have been mandated to use the highly efficient supercritical technology. Renovation and Modernisation (R&M) and Life Extension (LE) of existing old power stations is being undertaken in a phased manner. About 144 old thermal stations have been assigned mandatory targets for improving energy efficiency.”

On 17th February 2021, Energy Voice produced an article headed “Coal use set to surge in India despite renewables boom“, and informed us that:

Coal-fired power generation is projected to surge in India as the expanding wave of renewable energy capacity cannot keep up with electrification growth in the South Asian country, home to the world’s second biggest population.

India’s coal-fired power generation fell to a five-year low of 1,064 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2020 due to the Covid-19-induced slowdown. However, this was only a dip, as coal still makes up a gigantic 70% of the country’s total electricity production. Significantly, coal-fired power is set to come back with a vengeance, expanding by 43% to 1,523 TWh in 2037, when Rystad Energy expects coal power to finally peak.

Still, the surge in coal consumption is not unexpected. India’s power generation is set to grow exponentially to 3,565 TWh by 2037, more than double the level in 2020. Electricity production will already exceed 2,000 TWh from 2025 and is set to break the 3,000 TWh ceiling from 2034, as a result of an electrification boost and rapid economic expansion, the latest research from Rystad shows.

In fact, Rystad Energy expects India’s electricity generation to increase with an average yearly growth rate of 4.2%, effectively tripling its current level over the next 30 years.

The problems just keep coming

There is no doubt that issues such as commitment to coal, having too much sex and not having enough money are massive issues for India’s NDC, making its aspirations almost certainly unachievable. But India is not alone in this respect. The costs of all the other NDCs, as well as the projected population growth of many countries, certainly justifies further investigation. However, transcending all of the above, there is one other fundamental problem that needs to be looked at: the question of lack of transparency implicit within the Paris Agreement process. Watch this space.

24 Comments

  1. Today in the Guardian, I read this, in an article on COP26:

    “The final element is the thorniest: finance. A 2009 commitment from developed countries to provide $100bn a year in new additional climate finance, reaffirmed in 2015, has been $20-50bn short every year.”

    I’m not remotely clear where those figures come from – I certainly don’t recognise them from the Green Climate Fund’s own website, the relevant page of which is here for anyone who wants to look into it further:

    https://www.greenclimate.fund/about/resource-mobilisation/irm

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  2. The months leading up to COP26 in Glasgow should be a fun time for us sceptics. If they arrive in their jets, there’ll be outrage from the natives deprived of foreign travel, and if they don’t the media will be deprived of all those images of indigenous representatives dressed in the feathers of disappearing species and elderly statespeople banging gavels and doing the hokey cokey.

    When Trump rejected the Paris Agreement there was a massive campaign to promote China as the world leader in renewable energy. That’s over, now that the media have swallowed the CIA’s Uighur story and we all mask up and lock down in the dress rehearsal for World War Three.

    It’s going to be much more difficult to push India as the shining light of a carbon zero future. Unlike China they could really do with a share of that non-existent $100 billion a year they’ve been promised, and unlike China they can’t be reviled as anti-democratic, however unsavoury many find Modi’s politics.

    As long as the media propaganda was about the Amazon and small tropical islands they could paint any picture they liked of impending catastrophe being held off by the courageous action of NGOs and local indigenous members of the Monbiot tribe. India is a place people know about. Pretending that the biggest problem facing hundreds of millions with no decent water and electricity supplies is a half a degree temperature rise is going to be difficult.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You don’t believe china is persecuting Uighurs, Geoff? The US has spent actual effort ignoring the story rather than trying to capitalize on it. If Europe hadn’t decided to implement sanctions, the US would likely have continued to ignore it. Russia, Russia, Russia is still the big boogieman whenever possible. Too many white people most likely. Ironically, it seems that China’s heading more towards a fascistic model of governance than anything else, heavily financed by western money.

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  4. DAVEJR

    I didn’t reply straight away because I didn’t want to derail any discussion under an article about India. Is China persecuting Uighurs? Obviously I don’t know, but given the country’s history, and the existence of a violent independence movement which the USA has recently removed from its list of terrorist organisations, I wouldn’t be surprised. However, the frequently made accusation of genocide is absurd, given the doubling of the Uighur population in recent decades, due to the fact that racial minorities (often living in sparsely populated areas) were exempted from China’s recent one-child policy.

    In article in today’s Guardian by British pro-Uighur activist Helena Kennedy
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/26/sanctioned-china-xinjiang-genocide-uighurs
    headed: “The evidence is clear: a genocide against the Uighurs is in progress” the author states “As a lawyer, my position on China’s conduct is evidence-based” linking to another Guardian article about a report emanating from the “Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy.”

    According to Ajit Singh at
    https://thegrayzone.com/2021/03/17/report-uyghur-genocide-sham-university-neocon-punish-china/

    the Newslines Institute report:
    “relies primarily on the dubious studies of Adrian Zenz, the US government propaganda outlet, Radio Free Asia, and claims made by the US-funded separatist network, the World Uyghur Congress… Zenz is a far-right Christian fundamentalist who has said he is “led by God” against China’s government, deplores homosexuality and gender equality, and has taught exclusively in evangelical theological institutions. A careful review of Zenz’s research shows that his assertion of genocide is concocted through fraudulent statistical manipulation, cherry-picking of source material, and propagandistic misrepresentations. His widely-cited reports were not published in peer-reviewed journals overseen by academic institutions, but rather, by a DC-based CIA cut-out called the Jamestown Foundation and “The Journal of Political Risk,” a publication headed by former NATO and US national security state operatives.”

    Later in her article, Kennedy says: “China is as a dominant power in our world. It is taking a lead on climate change, which is to be admired.”

    If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

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  5. Speaking of India and China….

    “Climate change: Net zero targets are ‘pie in the sky'”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56596200

    “Sharp divisions between the major global emitters have emerged at a series of meetings designed to make progress on climate change.
    India lambasted the richer world’s carbon cutting plans, calling long term net zero targets, “pie in the sky.”

    Their energy minister said poor nations want to continue using fossil fuels and the rich countries “can’t stop it”.

    China meanwhile declined to attend a different climate event organised by the UK.

    Trying to lead 197 countries forward on the critical global issue of climate change is not a job for the faint hearted, as the UK is currently finding out.”

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  6. There’s more from that article, but I don’t want to upset the BBC about infringing copyright. I think I can get away with this little tease to persuade you all to read it:

    “India, the world’s fourth largest emitter, doesn’t seem keen to join the club.

    “2060 sounds good, but it is just that, it sounds good,” Raj Kumar Singh, India’s minister for power, told a meeting organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

    “I would call it, and I’m sorry to say this, but it is just a pie in the sky.”

    To the discomfort of his fellow panellists, Mr Singh singled out developed countries where per capita emissions are much higher than in India.”

    The whole thing is worth reading IMO, as it touches at some point on each of the issues I’ve raised in the three articles about the Paris Agreement to date.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The BBC article starts with a reference to “..a series of meetings to find the building blocks of agreement” embarked on by “the UK team” “…as president of COP26, this year’s crucial climate meeting due to take place in Glasgow in November.”

    But the quotes from India’s energy minister Raj Kumar Singh come from a quite different meeting organised by the IEA. And Mr Singh may lambast us for our pie in the sky plans, but he’s anything but a climate sceptic. He continues:

    “What we hear is that by 2050 or 2060 we will become carbon neutral. 2060 is far away and if the people emit at the rate they are emitting the world won’t survive, so what are you going to do in the next five years that’s what the world wants to know.”

    I went to the COP26 site, linked to by the BBC, to find out about the ”series of meetings” but there’s nothing on their News page since 24th February. So I went to their page marked “Pre-Cop” but that merely announces a meeting of Ministers in Milan in November (Italy is our partner in organising COP26.)

    There’s a lot more under the heading “Volunteer” where Glaswegians are asked if they’re passionate about their city. In which case they’re invited to:

    Give a warm Glasgow welcome to attendees of COP26 as a Transport Hub (Airport/Train) or an Accommodation Hub Member or pass on your local knowledge of Glasgow as an Active Travel Route Team Member!
    Or:
    Inspire communities and businesses as a Green Zone Team Member or facilitate the conference’s primary events as a Protocol & Special Events Team Member!

    and under the heading: What’s in it for You?

    – All meals when on shift
    – Free transport when travelling to and from shifts within a defined geographical distance of the city centre
    – A unique COP26 Volunteer uniform which is yours to wear with pride throughout your volunteering and keep as a memento of your experience

    and you get to save the planet as well.

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  8. I mentioned in this article that lack of promised funding was one of many problems with the Paris Agreement. Today we have this news story:

    “Wealthy nations ‘failing to help developing world tackle climate crisis’
    Warning comes after lack of new funding pledges at virtual summit attended by 40 world leaders and hosted by White House”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/24/wealthy-nations-failing-to-help-developing-world-tackle-climate-crisis

    “Rich countries have failed to provide the financial assistance needed for the developing world to cut greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the impacts of climate breakdown, poorer nations have warned, after a US summit of world leaders ended with few new funding promises.

    The failure leaves billions of people at risk from the worsening ravages of extreme weather, as poor countries struggle with the Covid-19 crisis and rapidly mounting debt.

    US president Joe Biden brought together more than 40 world leaders for a two-day virtual White House summit on the climate crisis. The US led with a bold new target of halving carbon emissions this decade, while countries including Canada, Japan and South Africa also strengthened their emissions targets.

    The president also set a goal of increasing US climate finance to $5.7bn a year by 2024, twice the amount provided under Barack Obama, and in stark contrast to the approach of Donald Trump, who halted US contributions….

    …The other major economies at the summit were largely silent on funding. South Korea announced it would stop financing coal-fired plants overseas, and the UK reiterated existing pledges but made no new promises. Rich countries are already behind on a longstanding pledge, made in 2009, to give $100bn a year in climate finance to the developing world from 2020.

    Without climate finance, poor countries face a bleak future of extreme weather, water and food shortages, and climate-driven migration, which all threaten to reverse decades of progress in lifting people out of poverty. Many governments are also being wooed by fossil-fuel developers eager to exploit coal, oil or gasfields in exchange for cash.

    The problem is compounded by new waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, and poor countries are seeing debts soar and the cost of borrowing rise….”

    So that’s still going well, then.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. And now another similar story from the Guardian:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/26/johnson-must-push-g7-to-pay-billions-more-in-climate-aid-say-experts

    “The UN has estimated that poor countries may need more than $90tn in investment by the end of the decade, to put them on a path to zero emissions by 2050 and to make their infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of extreme weather. Much of this will take the form of redirecting existing and planned investments to green ends, for instance by directing spending on energy towards renewable generation instead of coal and gas, or by investing in more climate-friendly agriculture instead of current methods.”

    Good luck with that, given the complete lack of interest in providing funding for the Green Climate Fund to date.

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  10. “António Guterres on the climate crisis: ‘We are coming to a point of no return’”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/11/antonio-guterres-interview-climate-crisis-pandemic-g7

    “…while the G7 countries have agreed to stop the international financing of coal, the world’s wealthiest nations are pouring billions of dollars into developing gas, another fossil fuel, in the global south at a rate four times that of finance supporting wind or solar projects. With economies starting to reopen, planet-heating emissions are expected to jump by the second biggest annual rise in history in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency.

    Guterres said he welcomed the G7 commitment as “many countries are still addicted to coal” but that much more needed to be done in what he called a “make-or-break year” that will be rounded off by crucial UN climate talks in Scotland in November.

    “We need to abolish subsidies to fossil fuels, this is a central question,” he said. “We have to look at the real costs that exist in the economy, which means a price on carbon. If we do these things, many of the investments made to fossil fuels in the recovery phase will obviously not be profitable. They will be stranded assets with no future.”

    A key priority for the UN secretary general at the G7 summit will be to press leaders on the contentious issue of climate finance. As part of the landmark Paris climate agreement in 2015, rich countries agreed to provide $100bn a year to developing countries to help them adapt to the damaging flooding, drought, heatwaves and other impacts of the climate crisis.

    This money has never been delivered in full, however, and Guterres said it will be “impossible” to effectively deal with the climate crisis without assistance for poorer countries. He said the G7 will need to deliver the money to “rebuild trust” with developing nations.

    “The $100bn is essential,” said the secretary general. “Climate action has until now been centered on mitigation, on reducing emissions. But developing countries have huge problems in adaption from the existing impacts of climate change.”…”.

    My money is on the money still not being forthcoming, and also on the point of no return being passed, only to find that we are still approaching the point of no return. One more last chance…..

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  11. Guterres should state plainly after COP26 whether it was make or break. Either we’ve* won the war or we’ve lost it. Either way, there’s no point fighting any more at that stage. You would think.

    *Humanity in general. Sceptics will lose either way, no doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “G7 summit: How significant are group’s climate pledges?
    By Roger Harrabin
    BBC environment analyst”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-57462040

    “The world’s rich nations which caused the climate crisis know what’s expected of them – but they consistently fail to deliver in full.

    This summit made some progress, especially on heralding the demise of coal – the fuel that drove the industrial revolution and sent emissions soaring.

    But for the umpteenth time the rich club has failed to deliver on its promise to channel $100bn a year to poor nations coping with a heating climate.

    Yes, bilateral deals have offered top-up funding to developing nations – but although we haven’t seen the details yet, it’s clear that they won’t tot up to the magic 100 mark.”

    Nice picture to accompany the article by the way. I remain convinced that it’s a cult.

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  13. Mark, I liked that photo too. This is one I clipped from the same page, the BBC’s report on the Falmouth protest.

    What are they protesting against? What do they think their wetsuits are made of? Are their paddleboards the expensive bamboo kind or perhaps rather more affordable PVC types? I see one pair of jean shorts, and a cotton t-shirt. Polyester swimming costumes.
    If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “UN blasts world leaders for failing to seal £72bn-a-year deal on climate
    Financial aid ‘critical’ to help developing countries limit fossil fuels – and make Cop26 a success, says UN”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/20/un-blasts-world-leaders-for-failing-to-seal-72bn-a-year-deal-on-climate

    “The head of climate change at the UN has warned that world leaders are still “far away” from securing a deal to limit the disastrous effects of global heating, with less than five months to go before a key summit in Glasgow.

    Time is now running out, said Patricia Espinosa, who was formerly foreign minister of Mexico but now leads the UN on climate policy. She told the Observer that although advances had been made at the G7 meeting in Cornwall last weekend, progress had not been made on honouring past commitments to find $100bn (£72.5bn) a year to help developing countries invest in green technologies.

    “We’re still very far away from being fully confident of having a full success at Cop26,” she said. The UN climate conference, opening on 31 October in Glasgow, is considered to be of special importance in the battle against global warming, which is now melting ice sheets, raising sea levels, destroying coral reefs and disrupting weather systems across the planet.

    The Paris climate agreement in 2015 pledged that nations would try to limit temperature rises to less than 1.5C by drastically limiting fossil fuel emissions, the principal cause of global heating. Glasgow will be the first opportunity to assess the impact of the promises made in Paris and to implement new measures to avert global catastrophe.

    The G7 had offered hope that this process could be boosted in advance of Cop26, but Espinosa expressed disappointment, saying: “Regarding finance, I’d have really hoped for a clearer signal on how and when we will be able to see the commitment to mobilise the $100bn fulfilled.”

    Honouring the pledge is seen as critical if developing countries are to come into line with plans to cut emissions and take costly steps necessary to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. At the G7, there were commitments to get to the target before Cop26, but a lack of detail remained about precisely how much money wealthier nations would be willing to give.”

    I think I can safely say “I told you so”.

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  15. “Climate change: ‘No more excuses’ at COP26 climate summit – poor nations”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-57839368

    “More than 100 developing countries have set out their key negotiating demands ahead of the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow.

    These include funding for poorer nations to fight and adapt to climate change and compensation for the impacts they will be subjected to.

    Those backing the plan represent more than half of the world’s countries.

    Without progress on these points, they say that COP26 will be worthless and will end in failure….

    …In the report, the countries lay out what’s termed a “fair share accounting”, which allocates emissions cuts based on historical responsibility and the capacity to act.

    Under that scenario, the US would need to reduce emissions by 195% below 2005 levels by 2030. This could be made up of a 70% cut in domestic emissions plus $80bn a year in support for developing countries.

    For the UK, a similar approach would see a 70% emissions cut by 2030 plus $46bn a year in climate finance.”

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  16. “COP 26: How much is the developing world getting to fight climate change?”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/57975275

    Some interesting snippets here, showing that this too is not going as intended:

    “Ministers and officials from more than 50 countries have been meeting in London to discuss funding to help poorer countries fight climate change.

    Climate finance is a big issue in the run-up to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (Cop26), in Glasgow, in November.

    Richer countries have long been promising $100bn (£720m) a year by 2020 but this has yet to be achieved….

    …But, although the official figures have not yet been released, an expert report commissioned by the United Nations concludes the target has not been reached – even though a new and more ambitious target is now supposed to be set for 2025.

    “The $100bn commitment should be seen as a floor not a ceiling,” lead author Amar Bhattacharya, from the Brookings Institution, says.

    “Some progress has been made – but a lot more needs to be done.”…

    …It is quite hard to calculate what money should be included in the overall figure, because it is a complicated mix of money from governments and private companies.

    But the UN and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimate the total had reached nearly $79bn by 2018 – and failed to reach $100bn by 2020….

    …In April, the US announced it would double its 2016 climate-finance contributions to $5.7bn by 2025 – but compared with the size of its economy, that is still very small.

    Meanwhile, Italy provides only about $0.6bn per year….

    …Dr Alina Averchenkova, from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, says: “$100bn isn’t going to do it – we need to move trillions in both public and private money….

    …By 2018, about three-quarters of the government money made available for climate action in developing countries was in the form of loans that need to be paid back, rather than grants that do not.

    The share of grants was higher to the very poorest countries – but still less than half the total.

    And that is a big problem in countries, many already heavily in debt, where Covid has made access to international funds even more pressing.

    “Developing countries cannot just rely on loans, so it is going to be really important that more climate finance is provided in grants,” Dr Averchenkova says.

    “It’s never going to be the whole amount – but it needs to be more.”

    So it is the quality as well as the quantity of funding.

    And the message from the world’s poorer countries is pretty simple – if you want ambitious climate targets, you are going to have to pay for them.”

    Loans, not grants? So they’re nowhere near reaching the sums set out in the Paris Agreement, in other words.

    Like

  17. “Without help for oil-producing countries, net zero by 2050 is a distant dream
    Ali Allawi and Fatih Birol
    To meet climate targets and avoid economic collapse, countries such as Iraq need international support in the transition to clean energy

    Ali Allawi is deputy prime minister and finance minister of Iraq. Fatih Birol is executive director of the International Energy Agency”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/01/oil-producing-countries-net-zero-2050-iraq

    “To stand a chance of limiting the worst effects of climate change, the world needs to fundamentally change the way it produces and consumes energy, burning less coal, oil and natural gas. The International Energy Agency’s recent global roadmap to net zero by 2050 shows the world’s demand for oil will need to decline from more than 90m barrels a day to less than 25m by 2050. This would result in a 75% plunge in net revenues for oil-producing economies, many of which are dominated by a public sector that relies on oil exports and the revenues they produce.

    An energy transition that fails to engage with fossil fuel-producing countries and their needs could have profound implications for regional and international security and the stability of global energy markets. If oil revenues start to decline before producer countries have successfully diversified their economies, livelihoods will be lost and poverty rates will increase. In a region with one of the youngest and fastest-growing populations in the world, economic hardship and increasing unemployment risk creating broader unrest and instability.”

    And much, much more in similar vein.

    This whole article is basically a desperate plea for the west to send money. However, it illustrates neatly why the aims of the Paris Agreement and any agreement reached at Glasgow are cloud cuckoo land. So many poor (and middling, and even rich) are massively dependent on the revenues they receive for selling fossil fuels. It’s as simple as that.

    Like

  18. “Climate change: Vulnerable nations call for ’emergency pact'”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-58477926

    “The countries most vulnerable to climate change are calling for an “emergency pact” to tackle rising temperatures.

    The group wants all countries to agree radical steps to avoid “climate catastrophe” at the upcoming COP26 meeting in Glasgow.”

    Which translates as – “send money; cancel debt”.

    “The vulnerable nations say that richer countries must fulfil their obligations to deliver $100bn in climate finance per year over the 2020-24 period.

    The CVF nations want this money to be split 50-50 between cutting carbon and helping countries adapt to the threat posed by rising temperatures.

    The countries also want the UK to “take full responsibility” for this aspect of the negotiations, saying it is vital to restore confidence in the Paris pact.

    Among the other areas that the most vulnerable nations want to see progress on is the question of debt-for-climate swaps.

    Many of the world’s poorest countries have large debt burdens, and these have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic which has stretched finances even further.

    In a debt-for-climate swap, a country can reduce what it owes to international creditors by directing the debt service payments to fund renewable energy or greater protection for nature.”

    Like

  19. “Why Kerry failed to get emission pledge from India” becomes, when you click on it,

    “Climate change: The world awaits India’s net zero emission deadline”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-58594216

    “US climate envoy John Kerry secured a modest win in announcing renewable energy plans with India last week – but got no clarity on how India plans to achieve its net zero emissions target.

    Mr Kerry has been trying to agree ambitious carbon reduction targets with major emitters in a bid to reassert US leadership on climate.

    China however rebuffed his attempts to separate climate from other disputes. “The US hopes to make climate co-operation an ‘oasis’ of China-US relation but if the ‘oasis’ is surrounded by ‘desert’, the ‘oasis’ will sooner or later become desert,” FM Wang Yi reportedly told Mr Kerry.

    India was happy for Mr Kerry to announce (for the second time – it was initially launched in April) the Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD), which is mainly aimed at helping India achieve its 450 gigawatts (GW) renewable energy target.

    But there was nothing on how India plans to slash its carbon emissions to the required level…

    …But the world’s third-largest emitter India has neither announced the net zero year nor has it submitted to the UN an updated climate plan with raised carbon-reduction ambition, as required by the Paris agreement every five years.

    The UN, however, says of the 191 countries taking part in the agreement, only 113 have so far come up with improved pledges.

    Analysis of the climate plans submitted so far shows that emissions are actually set to rise by 16% by 2030, which could lead to a temperature rise of 2.7C (4.9F) above pre-industrial levels….

    …During his Delhi-visit last week, Mr Kerry did not put the spotlight on India on this issue, at least not in public, but he did stress on the net zero agenda.

    “Beyond just deploying renewable energy, my friends, we need to develop, demonstrate and scale up emerging technologies that will be crucial for the net zero transition, let me just emphasise this,” he said during the launch of the CAFMD.

    During the same programme, India’s Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav, neither mentioned net zero nor talked about any new carbon-reduction ambition….

    …But India has been arguing that it should not be expected to make deep carbon-cuts like developed countries because it is still developing and fighting poverty while having to rely on an energy-mix that largely relies on fossil fuels.

    While going big on renewable energy, particularly solar power, the Indian government has announced plans to significantly increase coal production as part of post-Covid economic recovery….

    …So, by the end of his trip, Mr Kerry did praise India’s track record on renewable energy but had nothing on whether India had committed itself for net zero and increased emission-reduction ambition….

    …If India really does what Mr Kerry hopes it would do, it might unintentionally help the US in its bid to regain leadership in global climate regime – particularly when Washington faces an “unfriendly” China on the climate front as well.

    But what if India chooses not to do so and if China continues with its “no co-operation if it is just climate” position?

    Will the two team up to resist developed countries as they have done during past climate negotiations even when there were issues between them?

    There are no easy answers.

    But what India and China do will have an immense influence on global climate action – or inaction, for that matter.”

    Like

  20. “Developing nations welcome US climate finance pledge but warn more is needed
    Rest of G20 should follow Joe Biden’s lead on funding commitments, says climate envoy”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/22/developing-nations-welcome-us-climate-finance-pledge-but-warn-more-is-needed

    “Developing countries and campaigners welcomed the offer of increased climate finance from the US president, Joe Biden, at the UN on Tuesday, but warned that rich countries needed to do more to ensure the poorest received the assistance they need.

    Biden, speaking to the UN general assembly in New York, said he would ask the US Congress to double to $11bn (£8m) a year by 2024 the financial assistance the US offers to developing countries to help them cut greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the impacts of extreme weather….

    …But the US efforts were not likely to be enough, said John Nordbo, of Care International. Given that the US is the world’s biggest economy and second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, many hoped for more. “This updated pledge from Biden of an additional $5.7bn is definitely a positive step and it sends a strong signal. Considering where the US was this time last year [under Donald Trump], this is a leap forward in terms of climate leadership. However, the reality is that we are still a long way from closing the gap on climate finance commitments,” he said.

    Some groups have called on the US to provide more than $40bn a year.

    He added: “The climate finance gap is not just an American problem, it is a global problem. Almost all rich countries, apart from Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden, need to commit more.”…”

    Nothing is ever enough. More will always be demanded (but not from China, apparently).

    Like

  21. From the text. On awareness raising:

    ‘Indeed, psychology – and the therapeutic ethos more broadly – unites social engineers and identitarians. Though noisy advocates of identity causes inhabit a different world to no-nonsense technocrats, they share a common desire to displace outdated ideals and values with ones that are in tune with their psychological and technocratic sensibility. And they want to feel good about themselves while doing it.

    As Stewart Justman explains in his insightful study, The Psychological Mystique, ‘awareness’ is a ‘good impossible to question and a power impossible to oppose’ (5). Initiatives designed to raise awareness provide participants with virtues and moral qualities that distinguish them from those who have not seen the light. The very gesture of ‘raising awareness’ symbolically distinguishes those who possess awareness from those who do not. Those with awareness are deemed more sensitive, broadminded and enlightened than those lacking it.

    Despite its innocuous and feel-good appearance, the word awareness is a politically loaded one. To be aware is to be informed. But it also signifies being watchful, vigilant, on one’s guard. In its most neutral form, raising awareness can mean enhancing people’s consciousness of a problem. But in practice, it means demanding others adopt the awareness-raiser’s outlook and values.

    The practice of awareness-raising is often devoted to gaining support for attitudes that as yet lack significant support in society. Awareness-raising is not a response to a public demand for a new way of life. On the contrary, its aim is to create a demand for social and cultural practices that a relatively small coterie of self-ascribed awareness-raisers believe are good. Raising awareness about white privilege is a perfect illustration of this. It is very much a top-down affair.”

    Like

  22. “Climate change: Why India can’t live without coal”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-58706229

    “India, the world’s third largest emitter of fossil fuels still relies heavily on coal. As nations are urged to phase it out, how easy will it be for India – a fast-growing and developing nation – to ditch the crucial energy resource?

    India’s challenges with climate change can be reflected in a conversation I had with a young businessman named Shaunak back in 2006.

    “Why should Indians be asked to reduce carbon emissions, when the West has been polluting the planet for decades, and has reaped the benefits?” he asked.

    The sharp-suited entrepreneur from the city of Mumbai ran a shoe factory, which by his own admission, chugged dirty gases into the air.

    “I export these shoes to the UK and America. It’s like the West has just exported its emissions to developing countries… now why should we stop?” he asked, bemused.

    A lot has changed since then – global emissions have continued to grow, as has India’s population and its economy.

    And as the West urges India to reduce its carbon emissions, the focus remains on its reliance on coal, one of the dirtiest of fuels which is responsible for more than 70% of India’s energy production….

    …As many as four million people are employed directly and indirectly in India’s coal industry, according to a recent report from the Brookings Institution. Majority of the coal reserves lie in the east – the so-called coal belt – in the states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

    In these areas, coal also powers the economy. It’s the lifeline of the local communities, which are some of India’s poorest….

    …In the last decade, India’s coal consumption has nearly doubled. The country continues to import large quantities of coal and is planning to open dozens of new mines in the coming years….

    …With a population of more than 1.3bn, India’s energy needs are set to rise more than any other nation in the next twenty years, according to the International Energy Agency.

    But communities like the one in Odisha remind us of the challenges in reducing the dependence on coal for meeting these requirements.

    Jamuna Munda is squatting by a smoky outdoor stove in a makeshift slum on the edge of a colliery.

    A labourer who survives on odd jobs, she is one of tens of millions of Indians who still do not have access to electricity. She is using coal she has taken from the mine to heat up her chicken broth.

    “If we do not have coal, we can’t cook. At night, we burn it and keep it in the house so we also have some light,” she said as she stirs the soup vigorously….

    …Talking to Jamuna reminded me – in a very different way – of my conversation with Shaunak. And of how complicated it is to cut India’s cord with coal.

    In this energy hungry nation, progress often comes at a price.”

    Like

  23. “COP26: India says coal will be mainstay in leaked report”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-58991207

    “Coal will continue to power much of India for the next few decades, the country told the UN, according to leaked documents seen by BBC News.

    India is one of several countries that has been lobbying the UN against completely moving away from fossil fuels, the documents show.

    Countries will be asked to commit to slashing greenhouse gas emissions at the COP26 climate summit in November.

    India is the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, after China and the US.

    India aims for renewables and nuclear energy to account for 40% of its installed electricity capacity by 2030 – a goal it could achieve ahead of time, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT).

    But it remains the world’s second-largest consumer of coal, which still powers more than 70% of its grid. But coal will be difficult to give up, India has told the team of scientists compiling the UN report ahead of the summit in Glasgow.

    The reports – which bring together evidence on how best to slow down global warming – are by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body studying climate change.

    “In spite of substantial growth in renewable energy sector in India, coal is likely to remain the mainstay of energy production in the next few decades for sustainable economic growth of the country,” said a senior scientist from India’s Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research, according to the leaked documents.”

    Like

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