Many people around the world are praying and crossing their fingers for some kind of Climate Change treaty to be signed at Copenhagen.
Practically all the nations of the world will have their United Nations delegations in Denmark’s capital this December, and many governments are hoping for a breakthrough of one sort or another on the form of words, the financial commitments and the political drive to get things done.
Trouble is, the nations can promise and sign and agree all they like, but nothing will happen, because the wrong players are in the room.
Let’s look at the United Kingdom as an example. We have the Climate Change Act. A bold statement of intent, to reduce Carbon Emissions by 80% by 2050. But who’s doing anything to achieve that ?
The Climate Change Bill was signed into law in 2008, but apart from a small blip in Energy consumption due to the Recession, nobody has reacted very much.
For every company that works with the Carbon Trust to reduce their energy spend, another bunch of households buy another bunch of energy-hungry home appliances, computer games and put the heating up a notch.
Or that’s how it appears to me :-
(Note how coal use went up. Oops – more Carbon emissions !)
“UK carbon emissions levels have peaked : Tue Oct 27, 2009 : LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s carbon dioxide emissions are on a downward trend to 2020 but the government is not on track to meet its domestic greenhouse gas reduction targets, a study by Cambridge Econometrics showed on Tuesday…”
The UK Government seems to be grasping on to this quaint idea that ordinary consumer-citizens can be encouraged to reduce their Carbon emissions, entirely voluntarily. For most people this would mean a change in the quality of their lifestyles, so most people won’t do it. They value their comfort.
But the citizen-consumers are not the real problem. Nations are not the real problem, and they can’t promise the solution either. The whole basis of the Copenhagen Climate Change talks is a rotten foundation.
The real Carbon Dioxide emissions problem comes from the Energy suppliers (we’ll skip for now on those who fell old-growth forests and build with concrete, and run modern agriculture, amongst a host of others).
What really needs to happen at Copenhagen is that all the Fossil Fuel Energy suppliers are pulled into the room and told that they are expected to begin a massive program of investment in Renewable Energy supply, or face closure of their business.
All the treaties in the world are not going to persuade the big Energy suppliers to fuel switch out of coal and into biomethane (for example).
It’s time for regulation.