What the G7 leaders should have said at their summit
15 June 2021
In his article for The Conversation, Myles Allen argues that the recent G7 summit in Cornwall ended with little cause for celebration from anyone worried about climate change. Most of the pledges were simply restating promises already made.
And, again, the world’s richest democracies failed to mention (let alone agree) to new funding to help poorer parts of the world invest in green technology and adapt to extreme weather. The G7 countries are among those who have most contributed to climate change historically. But there is no way of accurately measuring who has actually contributed most.
Allen explains that this is largely due to the effects of climate change depending on how much we warm the planet overall, while the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) only requires countries to report their contributions to emissions. This method to report emissions reflects their effect on the balance between the energy the Earth absorbs from the Sun and the energy it emits back into space over the 100 years after the date of the emission. While this matters less for carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, other pollutants, such as methane, it matters a lot.
Allen writes, "Any country contemplating setting up a fracking industry (notorious for leaking methane) can be quietly confident that it will be 100 years before the warming effect of their fugitive methane emissions will be accurately reflected in their reports to the UNFCCC."
The information we need to make accurate calculations does exist and would reveal that we do not simply need to stop global warming as soon as possible, we need to use methods such as carbon capture to try and reverse it.
Photo by Tim Hill on Pixabay