COP26: No better option than a Net-Zero Action Now!
November 22, 2021564 views0 comments
By Sunny Chuba Nwachukwu
Sunny Nwachukwu, PhD, a pure and applied chemist with an MBA in management, is an Onitsha based industrialist, a fellow of ICCON, and vice president, finance, Onitsha Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached on +234 803 318 2105 (text only) or firstname.lastname@example.org
World leaders and thousands of delegates from around the globe who gathered at the recently concluded UN Climate Change Summit (COP26) at Glasgow Scotland, left the conference after making inspiring speeches, promises and pledges, while they negotiated an accord to limit global warming.
This was actually in line with the persuasive speech of Antônio Guterres, UN Secretary General, who said; “We need a rapid and deep change in the way we do business, how we generate power, how we build cities, how we move, and how we feed the world. If we don’t urgently change our way of life, we jeopardise life itself.”
The climate crisis, the result largely of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the ecosystem, has increased the average global temperature far more than animals, man and plants can bear. A clear testimony to this is the recent climate induced fire disaster in California, United States of America. This environmental impact of heat-trapping resulting from human activities since the emergence of successive eras of the Industrial Revolution, has up till date accumulated to a breaking point, devastating and life threatening hostile weather conditions.
Human activities on coal, in addition to oil and gas developments, have both economic and social dimensions, including the drivers that propel them, primarily for the attainment of a better life (up to this fourth industrial revolution or the infotech-age/jet-age). In the process, carbon dioxide, which causes the warming, is constantly being discharged and injected into the ecosystem; as international travels are made by air (because fossil fuels are being burnt), forests are deforested, including some forms of livestock rearing.
Through these and more, the planet earth and its original ecosystem are polluted, denatured, devastated and degraded beyond expectation. This emergence of a palpable global environmental distortion is headed for catastrophe, if urgent action is not taken to stem the global warming within the 1.5°C ceiling, as being pursued. Urgent action by the comity of nations through a series of agreements, since 1992, has tended towards achieving a net-zero resilient future (endorsed at the COP26). This is for a 30% cut on Methane before 2030; for sustainability in favour of our children’s future existence on the planet earth.
From the body language of the COP26 President, Alok Sharma, we know that “no rhetoric, only action is needed from now (as a matter of urgency)”! The green solutions that can make the planet to be conserved to its original natural state, through protection of forests from further deforestation, must be collectively pursued, now, by the world bodies, to have greener and sustainable cities, if its future conservation planned for generations yet unborn, is aspired to manifest.
In the fight against the climate crisis, the UN Climate summit proposed a draft agreement to phase out coal, among other things. The UN chief also remarked that, “Climate pledges are hollow unless fossil fuels end,” while slamming world leaders for “not doing enough” to tackle climate change! He further remarked that time is running out, and that the global warming (the 1.5°C) goal is on “life support.”
It means, therefore, that urgency is desperately required at this point in time, to fix the global climate from the brink of total collapse, which ultimately endangers “life and nature” from extinction on the planet earth! The measures with urgency include, provision of clean, renewable energy technology, in practical terms without delay or procrastination. It also hungers for a future solutions management, free of fossil sourced energy; to be able to bring the rising global warming within the set ceiling. Otherwise, above 2°C to a feared 2.7°C is a big threat with unimaginable catastrophic consequences.
The former US president, Barack Obama, in his presentation, which was described in a commentary as “a delicate balance of hope and doubt,” spoke and urged younger generation to “stay angry” and “harness that frustration to push for more” because, the non physical appearance of China and Russia at the UN Climate Change Summit, according to Obama, shows a “dangerous lack of urgency!”
He concluded with a remark that the fight against climate change will be hard and messy and that “every victory will be incomplete.” His very revealing speech also informed participants, from the result of a conducted study, that Methane is 80% more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) at trapping heat in the atmosphere; and that using existing technology will reduce methane emissions up to 0.5°C of warming by 2100. But he was, at the same time, reminded that his administration failed to deliver the $100 billion a year climate finance to poorer nations.
As most countries (led by the US and the European Union) at the Summit pledged to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030, India, China and Nigeria announced varying pledges. India, known as the world’s third highest emitter pledged through its President, Narendra Modi, to hit a net-zero target by 2070; with a further promise to source half of its energy consumption from renewable energy by 2030. China had pledged to become net-zero by 2060. Nigeria’s President Buhari appeared to me to have taken a cue from China, by announcing the same 2060, to cut the country’s methane emissions by 30%.
The poorer countries are actually the countries suffering most of the extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change. In Africa, the hardest hit experiences severe drought, desert encroachment; famine, hunger leading to deaths of livestock and wildlife. The promise of a climate fund to the poorer/developing countries of the world, by the provision of $1 trillion from the developed countries could be a buffer to withstand the harsh climate conditions, while the global battle rages on, towards total reversal of the impact.
It is hoped that all peoples of the world would, in the nearest future, have a unanimous vote and take a total firm decision to collectively partake in this life threatening situation against global existence, by conserving green effects in all aspects of human endeavours; and retain sustainability in all modes of human activities.
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