Climate action: Glasgow fails humanity

Concrete measures to keep or reduce global temperature between 2 to 1.5 degrees of Celsius remained in no man’s land

Muhammad Jahangir Kakar November 17, 2021
The writer is a civil servant based in Quetta

The COP26 summit has ended with reassurances to meet again with even more ambitious plans. Glasgow seemingly has failed the world with climate actions pressed hard under the yeas and nays of major global powers, consumers and producers. Weeks long theatrics have ended with Lords of Poverty turned teary.

China, USA, India and Australia denied phasing out of coal, and so for the sake to ‘reach an agreement’, COP26 agreed to amend ‘phasing out’ of coal to ‘phasing down’ of the same. The $100 billion commitment to have been realised by 2020 was further pushed to 2023 by when the developed world especially was to have this finance made available for global climate actions. Concrete measures to keep or reduce global temperature between 2 to 1.5 degrees of Celsius remained in no man’s land. The actions on contours of Mitigation and Adaptation were once more crafted in the ambitious, though demoralised, texts. Goal on Mitigation was halted by vested interests of ‘meaningful states’ while the Goal on Adaptation was resolved to be yet defined in two years from now. In a nut shell, Glasgow failed the humanity.

Of the many things the failure of Glasgow has revealed, the troubling questions are: does someone really care for environment? Has the climate change phenomenon truly been perceived as an existential threat? And are we really aware of the consequences of 2 degrees rise? The way Glasgow has fallen out, it can be sensed from assembling the fragments that we as ‘people and countries’ are not yet ready for any positive and immediate climate action or not ‘sensible enough’.

This exposes the mantra that people of the world have a lot of information and therefore the consequent awareness on climate issues. If this has been in place, there would have been alike public pressure behind these states of the world, and this pressure would have been visible in making decisions on the occasion. Strangely, the champions of world democracy under a climate-centric Biden could be seen falling to compromises and keeping themselves at bay on the question of coal. What to complain of hegemonic China!

This has further proven that if left to the states (more to be understood in terms of governments), people would never have something substantial and something most immediate to save the global heating of the world. The public pressure would count a lot to rise on the governments for more positive and refraining actions to make this climate action meaningful. In this regard, the democratic part of the world will count the most where voices are heard and where they are valued. So and yet again, a greater humanitarian load falls upon the American and the European people who have both the guts and the ‘space’ to now question the will and intention of their governments. Given the genetic trail of democracy, it is time to celebrate democracies around the world and therefore this celebration will come to people to question their countries, the so-called fate crafters of the world.

A dreadful thing coming off Glasgow is the US-China ‘Glasgow Handshake’ which allows both the countries to work together for more climate buoyancy while both openly rejecting the coal phasing out. This is where the interests meet no matter what ‘political antagonistics’ there may be. Not for China but for the US, it would be critical and might even fall to review should the American fellowmen rise to question the Biden intentions on this handshake.

Climate action which was seen to be responsibly handled by the governments has exposed their inability to do so. The people and especially the people of the major world democracies have now to manage the climate action themselves. Glasgow has failed the climate action and failed the governments as managers of this action. It is time we, as people, took over this cause else it would be fast autumn followed by long winter!

Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2021.

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