Friday, June 21, 2024

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Why Mentioning Fossil Fuel In The COP26 Agreement Was Impactful

While many are still debating if the latest climate conference was successful or more of the same, one thing that has many split was the significance of mentioning fossil fuel was in the final agreement. This might sound like a no-brainer, but it was a huge deal.

In fact, it made reaching the final agreement difficult. Ultimately, it took several rewrites to keep all of the members happy. However, even though it is the first time they were mentioned by name, many believe it to be more of the same.

Let’s take a look at both sides.

The World Is Starting To Ackowledge Fossil Fuel Is A Probelm

While many understand in no uncertain terms that fossil fuels create heat-trapping gases that raise the temperature, many still dispute it.

This is one of the main reasons why the conference has never been able to mention them by name in an agreement since the Paris Agreement was signed. Yet, this year was different, nations were willing to finally acknowledge this fact.

At least, with a lengthy list of caveats that they can fall back on later. However, while it may be too little too late, it is something.

That said, by finally beginning to officially recognize the impact fossil fuels have, the world may start to do more. Granted, many nations that heavily rely on coal, like India and China, were very hesitant to accept the agreement.

In fact, India only agreed once the language concerning coal was changed from “phased out” to “phased down.”

We Are Well Past the Point of Acknowledgment


On the flip side, the scientific community has a mountain of evidence that proves this is the case. We are well past the point of acknowledgment.

For many, this acknowledgment seems like something from that is a decade too late. As conditions continue to worsen at a faster pace than expected, the world can no longer afford to slowly transition.

Yet, that’s exactly what it is doing. Despite many big announcements, the world is not on track to 1.5C.

Instead of acknowledging the harmful effects of fossil fuels, people are looking for action. Yet, many nations are looking like they will not be changing anytime soon, with India saying it is not possible to stop using coal.

Many also fear that by using the term “phase down,” nations will have a free excuse to continue using coal for decades.

Both Sides Have A Point

The truth is, both sides have a point.

In reality, I don’t see a scenario where the world can truly get rid of fossil fuels without first acknowledging that they are a problem. At the same time, we’ve known about the connection between fossil fuels and climate change for decades.

It’s a significant move, but it’s coming far too late. It would be like playing a game of Football and in the fourth quarter, acknowledging that the ball is used to score.

The difference here is that billions of lives will be altered by the world acting too slowly.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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