Cop28 is a farce rigged to fail, but there are other ways we can try to save the planet

(The Guardian, 9 Dec 2023) Inaction and self-interest are built into climate summits. Instead, we need a voting system that can’t be subverted by fossil fuel producers

Let’s face it: climate summits are broken. The delegates talk and talk, while Earth systems slide towards deadly tipping points. Since the climate negotiations began in 1992 more carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels has been released worldwide than in all preceding human history. This year is likely to set a new emissions record. They are talking us to oblivion.

Throughout these Conference of the Parties (Cop) summits, fossil fuel lobbyists have swarmed the corridors and meeting rooms. It’s like allowing weapons manufacturers to dominate a peace conference. This year, the lobbyists outnumber all but one of the national delegations. And they’re not the only ones: Cop28 is also heaving with meat and livestock lobbyists and reps from other planet-trashing industries. What should be the most important summit on Earth is treated like a trade fair.

It’s not surprising that the two decisive measures these negotiations should have delivered at the outset – agreements to leave fossil fuels in the ground and to end most livestock farming – have never featured in the final outcome of any Cop summit. Nor should we be astonished that these agreements favour non-solutions such as carbon capture and storage, whose sole purpose is to provide an excuse for inaction.

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The Guardian, 9 Dec 2023: Cop28 is a farce rigged to fail, but there are other ways we can try to save the planet