Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

31 Dec 2022

A tale of two COPS

Posted by Michael Keating

We’ve had two huge global meetings on two of the greatest threats to our future, the climate crisis and the biodiversity crash. Thousands gathered at what are called Conferences of the Parties [COPS] in Egypt and Montreal. There were endless negotiating sessions as most of the world’s countries pushed their agendas, which especially for climate were sometimes in clear conflict. At least for climate the issues are clear even if the solutions are hard for many to swallow. Billions of tonnes a year of air pollution is changing the world’s climate, causing huge fires, droughts, giant storms and killer floods. We’ve got to virtually eliminate this pollution but that means retooling most of the world’s energy system to get it off fossil fuels. Countries did agree on money to compensate nations stricken by climate disasters but failed to agree on a deadline to stop producing and burning the fuels that are causing the climate crisis.

Biodiversity is one of the other great crises we face. The world’s great tropical forests are being cleared for timber and agriculture. This is leading to the extinction of tens of thousands of species. The oceans are being swept clean of big fish by giant nets that catch everything in their path. Again, the conference ended with promises of money to encourage biodiversity rich countries to preserve their species.

In both cases countries agreed to spend more money but they did not agree on the fundamental changes in values and the way we do business. The world is still dominated by an economic system that is supposed to grow forever on a finite planet. Until the political and business leaders come up with a new approach we will keep paying for the damage but not stopping the practices that are destroying our future.

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