The United Nations’ annual climate change conference, COP24 (Conference of the Parties), is being held in Katowice, Poland. This long-anticipated event has already seen a mix of bizarre and eyebrow-raising incidents.
Time travel typhoon demonstration
A group of young demonstrators engaged in an organized bit of silly street theater, where they pretended it was 2030, and wished they could have returned to 2018 and took action to prevent (you guessed it) dastardly climate change while they still had time. 2030 was picked because of the 12-year tipping point alarm recently hyped by the UN IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) report.
The participants then acted like they went back in time to 2018, and held up signs that said “Stop Spinning or the Typhoons Will.”
“We demand that all the politicians here…to focus and emphasize on the 1.1 degrees.”
They then in unison chanted “Stop spinning or the typhoons will,” several times.
It is unclear how UN climate policy will prevent typhoons from spinning. In fact, it won’t. But they seemed to be having a good time, and there wasn’t anyone watching in this partisan crowd that was about to spoil their fun with facts. You can watch the bizarre event here.
The United Nations proclaims that “Gender Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of gender-responsive climate policy and action as well as highlighting women’s leadership in climate action.”
Half of the bodies of governments sending representatives to COP24 have female representation of 38% or more. And “there is a record number of female delegates elected to the position of Chair or Co-Chair of these bodies…”
Encouraging the involvement of women in discussions at an international level may be a worthy goal, but the UN, as usual, takes it in a direction that doesn’t make too much sense.
One of the panels held on Gender Day tried to answer the question: “How do we ensure that technology development and transfer contributes to gender-responsive climate policy and action?”
What is gender-responsive climate policy and action? Well, according to the Gender Action Plan (GAP) of the UN COP:
Gender-responsive climate policy requires further strengthening in all activities concerning adaptation, mitigation and related means of implementation (finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building) as well as decision-making on the implementation of climate policies. The GAP recognizes the need for women to be represented in all aspects of the UNFCCC process and the need for gender mainstreaming through all relevant targets and goals in activities under the Convention as an important contribution to increasing their effectiveness.
If you were expecting easy to understand details from this document, look somewhere else.
Later, the GAP explains that a goal of the GAP is to make findings on the “Integration of gender considerations into adaptation, mitigation, capacity-building, Action for Climate Empowerment, technology and finance policies.…” It also says “Update report on how the Climate Technology Centre and Network” can “…ensure coherence and synergy within the Technology Mechanism…” and “…the development and transfer of technology, taking into account gender considerations.”
It sounds like even the United Nations can’t explain how women are impacted worse than men by supposed climate change.
COP Presidency in Polish hands once more
Michal Kurtyka, Secretary of State in the Environment Ministry of the Polish government, is now President of the “Conference of the Parties.” His term lasts for a full calendar year, and he takes over the reins from Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji.
According to the UN, “The role of COP President is essential for the negotiations and to reach a possible agreement, while the impartiality rule enables him to take over the mediator’s role mitigating disputes and looking for compromises.”
In 2013, then president of the COP, Marcin Korolec, was fired by then Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk from his role as Environment Minister in the Polish government, due to his lackluster performance in promoting development of Poland’s shale gas reserves.
Only time will tell if this year’s new COP president will follow in his countryman’s footsteps, or if he will hold on to both of his positions going forward.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day
On December 9, 2018, COP24 dedicated the day’s proceedings as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” One of the top priorities was establishing the “Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform.”
According to the COP24 website, Jannie Staffansson from the Saami Council organization of the Saami community said: “The platform will strengthen the voice of indigenous peoples around the world and I believe that the impact on the negotiations and the possibility to share our recommendations will help to ensure a temperature increase of only 1.5 degrees, not as much as 3 degrees, which would have a huge impact on the Arctic.”
The themes of Indigenous Peoples’ Day seemed to spill over to following events, as protesters authorized by the UN disrupted a panel held by the US delegation on energy innovation for approximately 10 minutes. Many things were chanted and said, such as CFACT specifically being called out as “deniers” and “profiteers,” but it was also claimed that indigenous communities were being impacted more severely by climate change.
One protester yelled: “Nuclear energy is genocide!”
“…climate change is a process of colonization repeating itself! The destruction of the lives of those of us in the global south and indigenous lives by the fossil fuel elite,” another proclaimed.
The panel, in contrast to the protesters, discussed how new technologies can improve energy efficiency and emissions, as well as bring millions without electricity out of energy poverty.
You can watch the protest here.
In addition to the official sessions and side events, there are exhibitors with booths touting everything from non-profit efforts to environmental services and activism. One particularly interesting exhibition was called “Carbotopia: A World in Carbon Balance.”
At first glance, it seemed like Carbotopia was advocating for some sort of green utopia, where carbon emissions were non-existent. But on further investigation, the policies advocated for in the brochure actually weren’t as crazy as they first appeared.
Carbotopia claims to possess a sort of carbon capture technology that, if implemented in cooperation with utilities, can capture carbon emissions and use it to facilitate recycling, cleaning, and the production of other products.
While it is surprising to see an organization attending COP24 advocate for the better and more efficient use of fossil fuels as opposed to elimination of fossil fuels, there are some potential issues with the plan at first glance.
The questionable aspects of Carbotopia’s ideas involve the market side. Similar to that of cap and trade schemes or government-run health care systems, Carbotopia seems to encourage stakeholders to join the carbon capture market early so as to facilitate the process. The more businesses and utilities involved, the smoother things will run.
“First time implementation for an infrastructure innovation needs sponsored co-developing of swift roll-out capable plant design by knowhow and application owners.”
Their brochure has similarly cryptic corporate lingo throughout. To those who truly understand exactly what that means, more power to you!
Stay tuned for more from the world of green and strange at COP24.