The COP27 has just finished, with disappointing results. On the positive side, for the first time, the concept of compensation for loss & damage for developing countries has been included.
On the negative side, two big disappointments. First, there was no clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels at some point in the future. Second, the gap between what is needed in greenhouse gas emission reductions to contain temperature increase to 1.5℃ – the level agreed upon by world governments in the Paris Agreement – and the current policies in place is huge. The planet needs a reduction of 45% in GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels to maintain the temperature increase below 1.5°. However, as the chart below shows, with the current policies announced so far, the world is instead on a trajectory to increase GHG emissions by 11% compared to 2010.
On this trajectory, the world will end up with a temperature increase way higher than the critical but manageable 1.5° level, which would have dramatic consequences on climate and therefore on humanity. Scientists are certain that temperature increases higher than 1.5° would create an existential risk for humanity.
We all need to understand this reality and, individually and as a society, urgently pressure governments and corporations to accelerate the decarbonization of the economy that would reduce GHG emissions.
You can see a great summary of the complete COP27 outcomes by consulting firm BCH here.
At the same time, European regulators are pursuing policies that make it more difficult, not less. Specifically:
1) Germany is shutting their nuclear capacity. Yes, they have delayed a bit, but the trend is there.
2) Belgium is closing its nuclear capacity.
3) France – which has a significantly lower carbon output per capita (because they have a lot of nuclear) – is being fined heavily for not meeting their GHG goals.
This is insanity. Wind and solar projects consume a great deal of land, are not dispatchable without significant storage (which has not magically sprung into existence, despite incentives), and require some pretty nasty mining for rare earths… not to mention added transmission lines. As someone on Twitter said, when we finally build a sustainable grid, it will be *despite* wind and solar, not because of it.
This is what happens when policies are made by ideologues and bureaucrats instead of engineers.