GOLDSTEIN: UN climate summit in Glasgow is about rhetoric, not reality
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Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is not in Glasgow, says China – which in 2019 emitted more greenhouse gases than the rest of the developed world combined and burns more coal than everyone else combined – will not achieve net emissions until 2060.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Glasgow, has said his country will not get there until 2070.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is also not in Glagow, has said his country, the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, will not reach its net emissions until 2060.
If all of this is true, then, as science says, there is very little chance that the world will be able to avoid what the UN warns will be catastrophic global warming above 2 Â° C by 2100 compared to l preindustrial era.
This is because the UN says the world must reach net zero emissions by 2050 to avoid a climate catastrophe.
Plus, keep in mind that it’s the easiest thing in the world for leaders of democratic countries, let alone dictatorships, to promise zero net emissions long after most of them are not only out. of politics, but dead.
Right now, most countries on the planet are desperately accelerating the production of energy from fossil fuels in an effort to get out of the global recession that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indeed, wind and solar are not up to the task because, unlike fossil fuels, they are unable to supply basic energy to the electricity grid on demand.
The UN says during last year’s COVID-19 recession, global greenhouse gas emissions fell an unprecedented 5.4%.
But this year, they are expected to rise 4.8%, raising them to the second-highest level on record, barely behind the all-time high set in 2019.
This is after more than a quarter of a century of annual United Nations climate conferences like the one currently being held in Glasgow.
In the real world, unlike the United Nations bubble in Glasgow, the best indicator of future performance is past practice.