COP 26: HAS ANYTHING CHANGED? Yes, but not the Politics
Fifteen years ago, I taught a course on sustainable business for MBA students. During one class I led a simulation in which student pairs, representing 8 countries, negotiated an agreement on climate solutions.
The discussion invariably focused on the injustice of the poorest countries bearing the brunt of climate changes induced by the emissions of the richer countries. Would the developed countries fund the climate adaptation measures that the poorer countries needed?
This passage from the New York Times, (Climate Summit Reaches Accord Amid Contention, Sunday November 14, 2021) could have been lifted from those classroom conversations 15 years ago.:
“…vulnerable nations like Bangladesh had also called for a new stream of funding to help countries recover from climate disasters they can’t adapt to, paid for by industrialized nations like the United States and the European Union that are historically responsible for most of the extra greenhouse gases now heating the atmosphere…”
Much of the coverage of the COP 26 in Scotland repeats this same theme, and makes it seem, depressingly, that nothing has changed.
Here’s what I see that’s new:
Developed countries, too, are experiencing climate disruptions: fires, floods, heat waves, melting permafrost, diminishing glaciers.
An effort to halt deforestation has broadened into a focus on regeneration and nature-based solutions: soils, agriculture, tree planting, ecosystem restoration.
Hi and low-tech innovations are enabling climate solutions: blockchain, drones, and AI as well as managed grazing and tree planting are applied to regeneration efforts.
Finance advances highlighting opportunity as the next economy comes into focus: new funds, loan programs, big and small investors, a substantial addition to the role of the private sector.