Importance of Natural Resources

Why politicians have failed to tackle climate change | The Economist


In 2019 millions of climate-change activists took to the streets Their figurehead, Greta Thunberg, addressed the US Congress I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists Here’s the thing American politicians have been hearing from scientists… …about the threat of climate change since the 1980s This evidence represents a very strong case, in my opinion… …that the greenhouse effect has been detected… …and it is changing our climate now Three decades on from James Hansen’s testimony… …climate change is now recognised as the defining threat facing the planet So, why has so little been done to stop it? 50 years ago environmentalism was a fringe topic But within a few years in the late 1980s… …climate change quickly rose up the political agenda We have begun to fight an important battle We must also expect environmental responsibility 140 species are becoming extinct every day At Rio we have made a start This is an incredibly fast bit of worldwide discussion and diplomacy It’s hard to think of something else, other than a war, that went that quickly But turning this gathering interest into decisive action was another matter In 1997 UN members met in Kyoto to agree, for the first time… …on specific cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions I am instructing increased negotiating flexibility But there was a catch The Kyoto protocol put various constraints on industrialised economies… …to cut their emissions It put no contraints on developing countries… …on the basis that, at that point… …the vast majority of emissions had come from industrialised countries Its origin in the UN gave the Kyoto protocol universal legitimacy But designing a treaty that all countries could accept… …meant producing one with very little practical power The UN has this fundamental issue that it’s a creature of its members UN organisations lack clout They can’t just tell their member countries what to do This wouldn’t have mattered if every country shared… …the same urgent need for action But they didn’t A sound environmental policy is likely to benefit everyone But the costs fall on particular groups… …typically those that do most of the polluting And it’s these groups that have a strong interest in avoiding these costs Most of the beneficiaries of climate action… …are people who don’t yet exist or certainly can’t yet vote And so, aligning the general interests of that mass of humanity… …with the specific interests who are genuinely harmed… …by reducing fossil-fuel emissions That’s a hard thing to do. It would be a hard thing to do… …within one political body But if you had to do it between lots of nations, that’s even harder America, a country which relies heavily on fossil fuels… …like petrol, coal and natural gas, refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol The use of fossil fuels has completely exploded… …and it’s impossible to disentangle that explosion… …from the huge growth in human population and in human wealth… …that took place at the same time So, still about 80% of the energy used on the planet… …is dug up from the ground Fossil fuels were formed from the remains of organisms… …that lived and died millions of years ago They hold a lot of carbon within them… …making them a very concentrated store of energy… …which helps to explain the political power… …of the companies that extract and distribute them There was a concerted campaign funded by various fossil-fuel interests And to some extent, it carried on some of the tactics that have been used… …by the tobacco companies to try and avoid restrictions on tobacco And the result was to undermine the science of climate change Beyond this, it played into a growing polarisation in politics The right tends to think that governments should regulate less… …sometimes much less And there’s no real way through the climate crisis… …without governments taking a very active role in the economy So, if your starting-point is not just I want to keep my oil profits… …but I want to keep the government out of the economy… …then wanting there to be less action on climate change kind of fits into that And then there’s China In 1997 China was considered a developing country… …and so, was exempt from the Kyoto commitment to cut emissions In the years that followed, it took full advantage of this exemption In the decade after Kyoto, China’s GDP almost tripled… …and its carbon-dioxide emissions doubled… …making it the largest greenhouse-gas emitter on the planet The Chinese attitude to climate action was… …basically that it was for someone else to do It was not going to get in the way of… …China’s extraordinary dash to industrialisation Developed countries should not impose all kinds of unreasonable requirements… …on developing countries that go beyond the stipulations of the convention For almost two decades China refused to act But in the 2010s all that changed Let us join hands to contribute to the establishment… …of an equitable and effective global mechanism on climate change So, why the change of heart? One reason may be that China genuinely does have… …quite a lot to lose from climate change Another thing is that in that period… …renewable energy really starts to become a factor And they’re really going to be able to produce some power… …and China is quite keen on making it And so, leading a renewables revolution… …is the sort of thing that the Chinese Communist Party can get behind The Paris agreement required all countries… …both developed and developing, to commit to tackling global warming It set a specific target… …the increase in average global temperature… …should be kept well below 2 degrees… …with strenuous efforts made to keep it down to 1.5 degrees But as with every previous breakthrough agreement… …it involved compromise The problem with this is that that was achieved by saying to all the countries… …you tell us what you can do, and that’s great They’d basically given up on the idea that countries would… …commit in some slightly legally binding way to specific reduction The emissions cuts that nations actually promised… …were far too small to meet the 2-degree target There is the problem—setting goals for 50-years’ time… …when your actions that you’ve announced… …to do in the next ten years are insufficient Within the climate diplomatic community, there is now talk of ratcheting up As things go on, countries will get more developed… …more ambitious in what they promise If countries really do ratchet up their action against climate change… …it would break the 50-year cycle in which political compromises… …have repeatedly enabled governments to avoid taking effective action In that time CO2 emissions have more than doubled And every decade since then has been warmer than the one before 50 years on from the first Earth day… …a new generation of environmental activists are taking to the streets They are determined to ensure that politics finally delivers… …the drastic action needed to protect the planet I’m Oliver Morton. I’m the briefings editor at The Economist We’ve written a series of climate briefs to cover the basics… …and a bit more than the basics on all sorts of aspects… …of the climate crisis that’s facing the Earth You can read them all at the link opposite Thank you for watching


Reader Comments

  1. It will only happen when the damage it causes is too costly to deny

    some may say that point has already been reached, but like in insurance you get the money today but pay the cost at some undetermined time in the future, consequently, they may think they've done well only to pay the price of their "mal-judgement" later

  2. Human development science leads to environmental pollution. We believe that human beings can also rely on science and technology to solve environmental pollution.

  3. Do really want me to believe that Politician and Capitalists are saving the world from Global Warming, when they're the ones that are responsible for it!!!!!! What a HYPOCRITE WORLD…

  4. "And there is no real way through the climate crisis without governments taking a very active role in the economy"
    I truly hate this assumption, as it just shows a serious lack of critical thinking and effort.

  5. Greta is the face of a massive push across mass media and the education system to convince children that their “house in on fire”. Since children absorb the information that is given to them without any kind of questioning, this push has created a new worrying phenomenon: Eco-anxiety.

  6. In the U.S., the sectors of transportation, industry and electric power account for over 80% of greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, elite-owned corporations are the main polluters in the world today. They are the ones emitting tons upon tons of carbon dioxide in the air while dumping tons upon tons of toxic waste in water streams. Instead of tackling these industries head-on, the elite parades around an autistic girl, films world leaders clapping at her speeches and encourages children to be afraid.

  7. At 2.13, the guys is wrong, in 1997 China was at least second producer of C02 and methane of the world

  8. Although Greta might be genuinely concerned about climate change, those behind her have a much darker agenda: To create a generation of children riddled with anxiety and depression, giving the elite carte blanche for drastic measures, ranging from tax hikes to the loss of personal freedoms

  9. Not to belittle activists who are rightfully fighting for their future, but the message never focuses on how appropriate climate action will affect the daily lives of people in both developed and developing countries. If governments could (and wanted to) curb back emissions, how would that affect travel? Our food supply? Access to clothes, appliances, and household goods?

    COVID-19 has given us a taste of what happens when we don't have ready and easy access to these luxuries. Cutting them back will become necessary, but we've also seen how unwilling most people will be in accepting it.

  10. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary to the UN on climate action was interviewed by "The Business daily" which was consequently reported by the Guardian News publication.
    I checked to see if others verified the interview and words spoken, it was.
    Figueres, now retired, spoke openly just prior to the Paris Accord talks, Trump walked away from.
    Randomly we are allowed to see through the information veil of intent.
    "Frankly, Climate change is more about an over reaching goal of replacing the Economic system that has reigned over the world for more than 150 years….Capitalism.
    We have a unique opportunity, within a defined period of time, to accomplish something never before done."
    Like Covid-19, Climate change is happening but they are being used and wrongly promoted to promote a worldwide Agenda,
    Socialism.

  11. It’s all about votes. Tackling climate change affects people lives in a very significant way
    . Just ask the Australians to reduce the size of their BBQ meat or abandon coal industry and see how they will vote..

  12. Must be lacking resources at Economist. Think a more relevant story about current shutdown affecting climate. Keeping news reporting safe I see.

  13. Climate change? Do you mean climate hysteria from the brainwashed and ill informed? Nice to see the peak conman Mr.Al.still at it.

  14. Will 6 Billion humans have to die to reduce emissions ?Volunteers please form an orderly queue 😀

  15. The great global warming scam, it was a documentary made about ten or so years ago it was about how decaying leaves, carbon from people breathing, from the ocean from much wider sources then oil and gas add to the carbon footprint. With co2 any way why don't they put it all underground and burry it forever.

  16. "Man Made Climate Change", just another Globalist HOAX designed to tighten globalist government control over "EVERYTHING"!!!

  17. The main problem is that most politician and scientist seems to think that when a technology is selected, everything fixes itself afterwards. But that is not so. E.g. Nuclear is unavoidable. Exercise : Explain why.

    Nobody understands that the treaties are completely unecessary. The underlying broken understanding is that energy prices have to rise when the reality is that they will go down. Think half.

    Why ??? Fossil free can be significantly cheaper than anything which uses fossil power. Is 40% cheaper than coal cheap enough?

    The real problem is that people love to talk, but does not want to do anything. Very few nations have actually investigated the fossil fuel alternatives; they have started their efforts based on assumptions which do not hold water.

    The main problem with fossil power was demonstrated solved between 1965 and 1969. If that work had continued there would be no fossil powered powerstations now. They would be too expensive.

    I believe that the EU beuracracy and the IEA is horriffied by the lack of understanding of the future needs of fossil free power. The deficiencies of wind and solar is hidden by the existing fossil fueled energy providers. And there is simply no understanding of the need for industrial heat.

    If China follows their plans, they will have built at least 300 1GW nuclear power stations based on Thorium by 2030. Those who do not understand that this is likely to change many industries that depends on industrial heat, will get a big surprise.

    Countries like China and India know that the treaties are no longer useful for them since they are heading for cheap nuclear.

  18. If climate fascists ever take power then every aspect of your life will be swept away. What you eat, where you live, how much you earn, what work you do, who you can marry, and how many children you will be allowed to have will all be subject to their whims.

  19. Biggest hole in ozone layer formed last month , yet no big news media picked it up because it disappeared just as fast as it came , science is not one sided

  20. There is a reason scientist arent business men , they dont care about us , middle / lower classes , they dont care about our jobs or lives , wake up to these communist.

  21. They failed because we give more time to useless people like stars and the like instead of respecting scientists and the scientific method.

  22. A minor pandemic has done more for the climate in four months than politicians in forty years. Humanity needs a natural predator.

  23. 0 emissions will never happen, let’s face it. There are no global instructions that have the authority or ability to enforce anything and most powerful and most polluting nations oppose it and will continue to do so. We’re living and most likely will continue to live in a a world of strong nation states, increasing nationalism and protectionism. This corona pandemic has shown there’s no unity and revealed fragility of global institutions. The world will continue to warm, people will have to adapt, more species will go extinct. After all this isn’t the first time this planet experienced such change. This will challenge H Sapience once again and drive our species evolution.

  24. It is not that politicians have failed to tackle climate change it is that climate change cannot be tackled … and furthermore doesn't need to be tackled if we look at the proper dataset …. where we cn see Co2 and temp being much higher in the past and life prospering during these warm Co2 rich periods … Forecasts made by activists (sorry, climate scientists) predict doom …. historical data shows us different …. and the way the activists counter this? … they simply ignore/truncate the relevant data …. and pretend it never happened and the really sad thing about that is that the media and the skeptics voice on this are just ignored too … What we see now is the modern equivalent of 'Tulip mania' … where hysterics went off in one direction and forgot that a Tulip was an easily grown bulb and the inevitable crash happens … the common people lost …. ever thought to stop and think who the forces behind Tulip mania were? … Follow the money on Climate Change ……

  25. The 1% don’t wanna learn a new way to extract every dime out of the peasants that’s why you’re not gonna see work on climate change in any meaningful way

  26. HEY EVERYONE I feel obligated by the responsibility of understanding to implore you, whoever you are, to GROW YOUR OWN FOOD INDOORS RIGHT NOW! And get everyone u can to do the same. U can grow any kind of plant in a 5 gallon bucket with drainge holes. Use half topsoil half sand mixture for soil. Or use all topsoil with some rocks at the bottom. Use mirrors to direct sunlight from windows. Its not that hard u dont need to starve. Do it. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD TODAY! LETTS GOOO!!!! And raise some chickens they eat bugs and grass. Plant two or 3 plants per CROP variety every week. THERE IS literally no choice .

  27. You should be brought before a Justice Court for crimes against Humanity accused of robbing to the poor and middle classes in the developed countries in the name of the biggest fraud in human History. This little increase in global temperature is not human-caused. We're just leaving behind the Little Ice Age!.

  28. We must fight global cooling. The oil corps are making billions from "green energy" for the climate change global warming hoax! The UN just wants global socialist control. The people are being lied to.
    Trillions squandered on insideous agendas.
    The globe is cooling! Mass starvation by 2028 !!

  29. Serously? Is this obvious 'sky is falling' mega agenda still kicking?
    Wow, the power of the global financial super elites is formidable!

  30. I'm not sure who the target audience of this is. Possibly the elderly who do not fear the damage they have done. Please don't blame the Chinese. Alot that you own is made by them. You paid for their pollution. This is really important, please vote for the politicians that are focused on this problem.

  31. I suggest that The Economist report on UN Agenda 21 and how it is being implemented locally across the world. That way people can see it happening,  not just a "conspiracy theory."

  32. Only when the last tree is cut down, the last river is polluted, and the air we breath is toxic. Will man realize they can not eat money…

  33. Maybe parading a mentally challenged teenager out there like she's some sort of climate change expert is part of the problem…

  34. I don't like how this video is blaming China. For a developing country, let's just say that climate problems are not their priority when they need get their own citizens out of poverty. China is a wealthy country now, but it wasn't the case back then. Making sure their people don't starve seems like a more important task.

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