Adding to the ludicrousness of people who deny climate-change, was the decision by four countries — United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait — to reject the inclusion of a climate report, which they were party to commissioning in the first place.
The four countries, all of them signatories to the 2015 Paris Climate Conference that commissioned the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to report on the impacts of a temperature rise of 1.5C, blocked the same report when it was presented at the ongoing COP24 Climate Conference in Poland.
The IPCC report highlighted that the world is now completely off track, heading more towards 3C this century rather than 1.5C. And, that reaching the preferred target would now need “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. The report pointed out that if warming was to be kept to 1.5C this century, then emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be reduced by 45 percent by 2030.
Despite attempts by negotiators from the rest of the world to welcome and incorporate the scientific study at COP24, they faced strong opposition from the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The four countries objected to the conference “welcoming” the document, instead, they wanted to support a much more lukewarm phrase, that the conference would “take note” of the report.
Saudi Arabia had strongly opposed the conclusions of the document when it was initially launched in Incheon, South Korea in October, but eventually conceded defeat in the face of opposition from other countries. But, in Poland where consensus was needed for its inclusion, they received support from the other three countries and were able to get the passage of the text to be dropped.
Around the world there was dismay, frustration and growing anger at the outcome, with scientists and campaigners expressing disappointment at the stance of the four countries. Many delegates at COP24 are now hoping that ministers, who arrive on Monday 10 December, will try and revive efforts to put this key report at the heart of the conference.
“We are really angry and find it atrocious that some countries dismiss the messages and the consequences that we are facing, by not accepting what is unequivocal and not acting upon it,” said a spokesperson for the World Resources Institute, a US-based, global non-profit research organization.
Others pointed out that Saudi Arabia and the US had supported the report when it was launched in October. It appears that the Saudis and the US baulked at the political implications of the UN body putting the IPCC report at its heart.
One campaigner voiced her concern by saying, “Climate science is not a political football. All the world’s governments, Saudi Arabia included, agreed on the 1.5C report and we deserve the truth. Saudi can’t argue with physics; the climate will keep on changing.”
We hope the rest of the world will rally behind the report and ensure a decisive response to the report, so that COP24 will not end up as yet another missed moment in history.