Reader's letter: Worthless vague promises
Mr Southgate’s letter Missed Point (News Views, April 1) demonstrates the validity of scepticism in regard to the currently fashionable hypothesis that our use of carbon-based fuels is the cause of global warming rather than the more reasonable idea that we are now experiencing climate change for other causes, as we have done many times before and, without doubt, will see again.
I continue to be amazed at the millions of people who have bought into the belief that it is definitely a trace gas (CO2, currently about 0.04% of the atmosphere) that is going to bring about world climate doom a hundred or so years from now.
As a consequence of this belief, the UK and US governments will insist all countries should adopt Net Zero emissions targets similar to those being adopted by Western nations at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow.
But it is already clear that many developing countries may not agree.
India has already lambasted the richer world’s carbon-cutting plans, calling for long-term net zero targets. They insist that poor nations want to continue to use fossil fuels and the rich countries can’t stop it.
A recent report by a UK-based energy and climate research group points out that China accounted for 53% of the world’s coal-powered electricity in 2020, which is nine percentage points higher than was its share in 2015, when China joined the Paris Agreement.
Many developing nations are still increasing emissions, while demanding ever larger sums of money. Meanwhile, the West is finding that the transition to a low carbon world is going to be extremely painful.
At COP26, in November, it is likely that the usual fudges will be made. There will be vague promises from poorer countries to do something several decades in the future.
These will of course be utterly worthless, and be no more binding than their Paris pledges made in 2015. — ROBERT SHEPPARD, Beckingham.