This is the 13-point plan that we must see implemented at Cop26
WWith the UN Secretary General warning the G7 summit that we were on the brink of climate and ecological crises, it was heartbreaking to see the summit fail deeply on the climate.
While they announced a reduction of over 50 percent in emissions by 2030, in the fine print was classic Johnsonism. the Baseline from which the cut was to be measured was sixteen years ago – in 2005, not in 2021!
The main action point was an agreement to end most of the G7 public funding for coal projects, but not coal funding from private sector banks. And while they hosted the historic International Energy Agency (IEA) report on net zero 2050, they ignored his call for an immediate global moratorium on all new investments in oil and gas supply.
This despite the call of economists claiming that the ban was essential to have even a 50 percent chance of not exceeding the 1.5 C maximum elevation target.
So, just over four months away from the crucial Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, what should the UK as chair of the summit come up with, if it took the UN warning seriously?
Here is the agenda for the Independent Climate Column Cop26 that I suggested:
1. Agree on a net zero target in 2030, rather than the oil company approved target of 2050. Mankind surpassed the safe level for carbon emissions in 1988, we cannot wait until 2050 to stop spilling oil on climate fires.
2. Impose a global moratorium on the destruction of all ancient humid tropical forests, mangroves and peatlands by the end of 2021. These are the largest territorial carbon reservoirs. We have lost almost 70 percent of wild animal populations since 1970 and continue to lose them at the rate of about 1% per year. Waiting until 2050 would mean the loss of almost everything that is left of nature.
3. Implement the UN call for 20 percent of government transport budgets to be invested in active travel by 2025. Transportation is a major source of air pollution and carbon emissions. Investing in infrastructure for walking and cycling would make our cities healthier, greener and more efficient.
4. Stop all trawling on the ocean floor by the end of 2022. A report in ‘Nature“found that bottom trawling, which inflicts devastating destruction to life on the ocean floor, also releases huge amounts of stored carbon from the ocean floor into the waters above it. A ban would protect stocks. of fish and ensure that the oceans remain an invaluable carbon sink.
5. Accept an international tax for frequent travelers. Studies show that the richest 1% are responsible for 50% of aviation emissions.
6. Impose a emergency break for the cruise ship industry, until alternative fuels such as green hydrogen are developed. Cruise ships emit up to four times more carbon emissions per passenger / kilometer than aviation and are an unaffordable luxury in this crisis.
7. Adopt a zero waste, zero incineration and circular global economy by 2030. Excluding food, material consumerism emits around 30% of global carbon emissions.
8. Set a target for land transport, electricity and heating to switch to fully renewable electricity by 2030.
9. Governments should support the voluntary shift to a herbal diet by 2030. This is crucial to restore the world’s forest carbon sinks, to allow nature to thrive again and to reduce direct emissions. Livestock are responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and occupy 70% of all agricultural land.
10. Guarantee access education, family planning and economic empowerment as a human right for all women and agree that developed countries abandon policies of population expansion and constructively manage the natural population declines that are beginning to occur in industrialized countries. Having to reduce the carbon emissions and ecological impacts of an additional 2 billion people by the 2060s would make the already difficult task of doing so for the existing 7.8 billion people almost impossible.
11. Agree on a global ban on advertising and promotion of high carbon industries. Society will not act fast enough if those with a financial interest in industries threatening human civilization are able to delay action by advertising their destructive products and creating social permission for them.
12. Agree on a climate version of the Tobin tax on all stock market and foreign exchange transactions. The funds to be mortgaged to a UN fund to provide literally billions of dollars to the countries of the South, to face the impacts of the climate crisis imposed on them by historical emissions industrialized north and finance their transition to renewable energy savings.
13. Call on central banks to impose the IEA moratorium on all investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure by the end of 2021.
Besides aviation, we already have the technologies and policies to get us out of the abyss. What is needed is the political will. But politicians cannot invent this themselves. They need larger sections of the media – and the public opinion that media executives shape – to be willing to support such an agenda.
The failure of the G7 should motivate us to ensure the success of the Cop26. We must not go beyond the global point of no return of Secretary General Antonio Guterres.