Our leaders had one last chance to stop climate degradation. They failed all of us | George Monbiot

JA person’s chances of birth were calculated by life coach Dr. Ali Binazir. It multiplied the likelihood of your parents meeting, mating, and conceiving by the odds of a particular sperm and egg fusing; of all your human and hominid ancestors reaching childbearing age; and all breeding successfully. He arrived at a figure of one in 10 to the power of 2,640,000. In other words, a 10 followed by 2.6 million zeros. It is an unimaginable and miraculous number. Yet here we are.

The odds of being alive right now, as a member of one of the first generations to know the path he is on, and one of the last who can change it, must add several more zeros to this crazy number. The odds of being your nation’s president or prime minister at this critical time… well, you get the idea.

So how did government leaders choose to use this miracle? Extend our stay on Earth, earn the gratitude of all the unlikely humans of the future? No. They chose to do nothing. Nothing that has a realistic chance, in this contest of odds, of changing our course. They had a choice at the Cop27 meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh to defend the habitable planet or appease their sponsors. They went with the sponsors.

We know how path leads to path, how the power accumulated by corrupt decisions in previous generations drives the corrupt decisions of our time. We know that the license granted to fossil fuel companies by 50 years of failure has allowed them to make prodigious profits – $2.8 billion a day on average over this entire period – and that they do not need to invest only a fraction of that money in politics to buy every politician and every policy decision they need.

We know that the easiest way for a politician to secure power is to appease those who already have it, those whose power transcends elections: oil barons, media barons, corporations and markets. financial. We know that power appoints the worst possible people at the worst possible time. We know how, as older billionaires seek to grab more and more of the life that’s slipping away from them, they’re creating a death cult.

Fifty years, you ask? Yes, the first international summit that claimed to address the environmental crisis took place in 1972. A handful of powerful nations, including the United Kingdom and the United States, convened what their secret minutes called an “informal and confidential” body. “at this summit, the purpose of which, the notes show, was to ensure that the poorest countries would not get what they wanted and that no international standards would be agreed on pollution or environmental quality.

They learned an important lesson there. You make threats to your sponsors go away by nodding and smiling, saying the right things in public, then blocking effective action behind closed doors. When they arrived at COP27 this year, they had no intention of disbursing the money they had promised to the poorest countries to help them adapt – if possible – to the climate degradation, much less seek to prevent this degradation from occurring.

So here we are, after 50 years of artificial failure, with none of the 40 climate action markers on track to meet the targets agreed by governments. In the first nine months of this year, the seven largest private sector oil companies made about $150 billion in profits. Yet governments continue to supplement this plunder by giving oil and gas companies $64 billion a year in public subsidies.

There is no longer any feasible way to prevent more than 1.5°C of global warming if new oil and gas fields are developed. Yet fossil fuel companies, with the encouragement of the governments that own or license them, are predicting a surge in investment between 2023 and 2025. The biggest planned expansions, by far, are in the United States. The hard facts – vague and unsecured promises from Sharm el-Sheikh to reduce consumption – count for nothing against the hard facts of expanding production.

We no longer need to speculate where this path might lead: we have walked through the gates. Floods in Pakistan that displaced 33 million people and washed away 3 million acres of soil followed a heat wave that ravaged crops. This is the see-saw effect predicted in scientific articles: moderate weather giving way to a violent cycle of extremes. It is hard to see how the country will ever recover from the economic shocks of these disasters: as it begins to recover, it is likely to be toppled by another. China this year, though little reported in Western media, suffered not only the biggest heat wave on its instrumental record, but the biggest heat anomaly on record. The devastating drought in the Horn of Africa, now in its fifth year, offers a glimpse of what ‘the uninhabitable’ can look like.

Rich country governments came to the conference in Egypt saying “it’s now or never”. They left saying “what if?”. We navigate through every target and goal, red line and promised holdback toward a future in which the possibility of anyone’s existence begins to dwindle toward zero. Every life is a wildly unlikely gift. How much longer will we sit and watch as our governments throw it all away?

#leaders #chance #stop #climate #degradation #failed #George #Monbiot

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