Two women, in their late 20s or early 30ths

The condensed version: ‘The World is Watching COP 26’

The opinions you are about to hear belong to the people expressing them and are not necessarily shared by Cortes Radio, it’s board, staff, producers, volunteers or listeners. 

The World is Watching COP 26,’ is a +54 minute analysis/commentary  broadcast directly from Glasgow by Sierra Club BC. Cortes Currents made a +28 minute condensed version for its Monday, Nov 15, 2021, radio slot.

The ZOOM podcast/video was hosted by Anjali Appadurai and Flossie Baker of Sierra Club BC’s Climate Emergency Unit.

The +28 minute condensed version for raio. Image credit: Screenshot from the video ‘The World is Watching’
The full 58 minute Sierra Club BC video

Appadurai has been going to COP conferences for 11 years, during which time she says it has declined from a regime that was attempting to be legally binding to “a kind of pledge and review” process. 

“Every country makes voluntary pledges about how much they are going to reduce their emissions, with a series of reviews built into that, until the present day COP in Glasgow – where we are seeing that half of those pledges were not met,” she said. 

Appaduri calls Glasgow ‘the COP of announcements’ and alleges they do not match what is being negotiated behind closed doors. 

“The responsibility for the amount of emissions that are in the atmosphere right now, disproportionately rests with the richest countries in the world, which also happen to be mostly the colonial states and also happened to be countries that are quite wealthy and more capable of dealing with the impacts of climate change,” she said. “Unfortunately what we’ve seen is that the countries that have the most responsibility, for the largest part of that burden are the ones that really don’t want to pay their fair share.”

Screenshot from the video ‘The World is watching’

Canada is among the nations that promised to have net zero emissions by 2050. 

Appaduri notes that these are “not real emissions reductions,’ as polluters are allowed to continue pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere providing they find green projects to offset their tally. For example: A Canadian fossil fuel project’s emissions can be offset by funding a treeplanting project in a developing nation like Zambia.

One of the tweets in Scotland called this “the new climate denialism.” 

“The biggest polluters, both corporate and governmental, are the biggest champions for ‘net zero’,” said Appaduri.

She also said that one of the key solutions brought forward in Scotland involved technologies that do not (yet) exist.

Critics call this “chasing the carbon unicorn.”

Flossie Baker pointed out that while the commitment to end deforestation by 2030 means a great deal in nations like the Congo, where this is actually happening, it is meaningless in British Columbia where old growth forests are being replaced by plantations of much younger trees. (She calls this forest ‘degradation,’ not ‘deforestation.’)

At Glasgow, Prime Minister Trudeau promised, “We’ll cap oil and gas sector emissions today and ensure they decrease tomorrow at a pace and scale needed to reach net-zero by 2050.”

“This sounds hopeful, but it’s lacking any legally binding framework,” said Baker. “Without that, we fear that it is just a nice sounding aspiration.”

Two videos were played during the presentation. 

In one, the President of Barbados points out that the so called ‘solutions’ being brought forward are not working and the world is currently on course for a 2.7°C  rise in global temperatures. 

“Are we really going to leave Scotland without the resolve and the ambition that is sorely needed to save lives and to save our planet?” she asks.

Click on this link, to access the second video, produced by the Nuchatlaht First Nation in support of their rights and title lawsuit with the BC Government.

“We need to focus on actual indigenous based solutions which largely involves giving land back to indigenous people and incorporating land stewardship practices that indigenous people have practiced for time immemorial,” said Baker.

Sierra Club BC has a number of suggestions for people who wish to hold Canada accountable for its actions.

Response to BC being awarded two awards at Glasgow – from the video

Dear (insert name),

I have been following Canada’s words and actions at COP26. It is abundantly clear that the conference will not end with a commitment that is in line with keeping warming below 1.5 degrees. Canada’s contribution is not even in line with this.

We know that net zero won’t get us to where we need to be and we need our government to do better.

The federal government bought a pipeline. We are asking you to immediately halt the building of the Trans Mountain pipeline and offer those workers jobs building the climate crisis adaptation infrastructure that Canada and B.C. desperately needs as we face more summers of intense heat and fire.

We are asking you to do everything in your power to halt the building of this disastrous project.

Top photo credit: Screenshot of Anjali Appadurai and Flossie Baker taken from the video ‘The World is Watching.’

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