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Climate Paradox: Less Emissions and More Fossil Fuels?

In the midst of the climate crisis, many of the countries that are supposedly seeking to lower their emissions plan to increase the extraction of fossil fuels. This is how this climate paradox works.

Petroleum refinery factory

We have been in the Paris Agreement for 6 years and the objectives and commitments that were initially proposed have not been met Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: Paradoja climática: ¿menos emisiones y más combustibles fósiles?

Tomorrow (October 31) starts COP26, the most important climate event where decisions will be made at the international level to mitigate climate change. At COP21, the Paris Agreement was established, in which the participating countries pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and contribute to the fight against climate change by opting for renewable energies. And despite the fact that everything seemed right, we have been in this agreement for 6 years and the objectives and commitments that were initially proposed have not been met. One, in particular, is to cut emissions from the extraction and use of fossil fuels by 2030. Here we find ourselves with a climate paradox: this commitment, apparently, only exists on paper, because in real life countries plan to double the extraction of fossil fuels over the next decade.

Why would fossil fuel extraction double?

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has left a lot of damage in its wake, especially economic damage. After a period in which economic activities were cut short by quarantines around the world, economic reactivation is expected to be the solution. The extraction of fossil fuels not only has to do with the gasoline that is consumed for cars and other means of transport, but with the energy that is used in daily life and on a large scale, which is not renewable because, precisely, it comes from from the burning of fossil fuels, which also has a very high demand. The problem with economic reactivation is that, if it does not take into account the risk to the environment, climate change, which is already far ahead, can accelerate abruptly.

It is precisely spaces like COP26 that would allow this to change. But, unfortunately, the monetary interests of large industries (which of course are the most polluting) seem to have more power than international regulators, such as the UN, which is the organizer of the COP and has also allowed spaces within the pre-event sessions with spokespersons for these industries, all from the lobby.

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This leads us to realize that if that regulatory entity does not act in a manner consistent with the Paris Agreement and with the ideals of which it claims to champion, much less will it act accordingly by regulating and carefully verify that the signatory nations comply with the objectives. and agreed commitments.

What is there to do?

Although the panorama looks problematic considering that the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, attached to the Paris Agreement, are not being fulfilled in almost any measure, it is very important to emphasize that as citizens we are within our right to demand that the world governments take action and, above all, make it real. Likewise, we must be attentive to the conclusions reached at COP26 and the guarantees that are proposed.

Of course, it is worth emphasizing that individual action is one of the most real changes that we can have as a society. If each of the people in a family, for example, considers changing their consumption habits, a lot is already being achieved.