The war in Ukraine is seeing parts of Europe reverting to coal as the price of oil soars, leaving the upcoming COP27 a futile endeavour, writes Manuel Ostos.
CLIMATE CHANGE is no longer an issue for scientists and specialists. Currently, it is a serious problem that affects us all and we do not know if it will be possible to put an end to it, or if it will become worse.
One of the most important examples is the melting of the polar mantle that affects the Arctic and the Atlantic. In Alaska, it has been found that the deep sea fauna is dangerously declining.
The famous snow crab, or royal crab, which is a luxury food, has just been banned from fishing this year. Two years ago, this shellfish was believed to exist in Alaska in billions. The latest census boils it down to a few hundred million.
In November, a new round of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, will open in the Egyptian town of Sharm El Sheikh, by the Red Sea. Previously, the participating nations adopted the Kyoto Convention in 1997 to reduce the effects of greenhouse gas, responsible for a large part of global warming.
The participants affirmed a desire to reduce the emission of harmful gases and save planet Earth, but the Kyoto objectives were never achieved, taking into account that China and the United States are the two most polluting countries.
The signatories were 187 countries. The United States did not sign it, saying the agreement was too rigid. Kyoto requested the reduction of the volume of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases that cause climate change, with the commitment of a 5.2% reduction.
The United Nations returned to the issue in Paris in December 2015. On that date, scientists confirmed that industrialised countries are responsible for 55% of the gases that lead to global warming.
The Paris Agreement adopted an action plan to lower the global temperature of the planet below 2%. This agreement has been in force since November 2016 but has not been fully complied with either.
The situation is complicated today by the increase in the price of oil. In countries such as the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and France, a large part of the production of fruits and vegetables is carried out under greenhouses. This allows, for example, the Netherlands to export tomatoes throughout the year. And the same thing happens in Spain with strawberries.
But with the price of oil used in greenhouses to generate energy rising sharply, voices are already being heard from European farmers who say they will have to get rid of their greenhouses. Goodbye Dutch tomatoes in December and Spanish red fruits in the winter months.
What can COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh give? The first wish is to ratify the Paris Agreement. Under former President Donald Trump, the U.S. walked out of the deal. President Joe Biden has approved it again, but voices have already begun to be heard in Europe and the United States to return to using coal to reduce dependence on Russian natural gas.
Germany wants to reactivate the coal mines in the Ruhr area. This year, the Berlin Parliament approved reactivating the mines to limit purchases of Russian natural gas, thus following the sanctions measures of the European Union. Poland is preparing to do the same.
But consuming coal to generate electricity means saying goodbye to Kyoto and Paris. It will be another consequence of the Ukraine war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally.
The Ukraine war, coal and sanctions against Russia penalise the whole world. If Putin had not sent tanks to the neighbouring country, we would not have so many bad prospects for climate change.
For this reason, no matter how many good intentions the upcoming COP27 summit may have, it will be very difficult for it to produce good results. There is no need to despair, of course, but climate change is here to last — of that, there is not the slightest doubt.
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