Unfortunately, for many, the very issue of global warming remains a hoax

Rashid Husain SyedWorld leaders assembled last week at the Red Sea tourist resort of Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt for the COP 27 U.N. summit, the annual global environment conference aimed at finding solutions to the environmental issues faced by the world.

The almost two weeks long yearly event is a major global congregation, grabbing the attention of global leaders, environmentalists, and energy leaders.

The U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, set the tone for the annual United Nations-led international climate talks. “We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing,” Guterres said in his opening remarks at the summit, making an impassioned plea to the world leaders to take concrete steps and to help Pakistan and other climate-vulnerable countries.

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Standing in front of a sign that read “What goes on in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan” at that country’s pavilion, Guterres said the recent deadly floods (in Pakistan) were a harbinger of disasters to come. “The international community has a duty to massively support Pakistan at this moment,” he said to applause.

“If there is any doubt about loss and damage, go to Pakistan,” Guterres said, calling on the world leaders to create “a road map to deal with it.”

At last year’s climate summit in Glasgow, the United States signed a statement agreeing to “increase resources” for loss and damage without committing to specifics. Many feel such commitments made in the previous conferences are still to be met. This is a significant issue of concern as the threat of global warming continues to grow.

Just before the beginning of the summit on the 8th, the World Meteorological Organization said the planet had likely witnessed its warmest eight years on record, including every year since countries came together in 2015 to create the landmark Paris agreement.

Many now feel the world is heading into a deep crisis. A report released at the COP 27 climate summit also underlined that deep and rapid cuts to carbon emissions were urgently needed to avoid climate catastrophe.

The Guardian reported that an assessment undertaken by German NGO Urgewald and 50 NGO partners pointed out that virtually all oil and gas companies were planning further exploitation of fossil fuels, pouring $160 billion into exploration since 2020. This would result in 115 billion tonnes of climate-heating CO2 being pumped out, equivalent to more than 24 years of U.S. emissions. The world is far away from meeting its commitments towards global climate change.

The Guardian report also underlined that none of the investments undertaken by the global majors to explore more fossil fuel sources is compatible with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) route to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, limiting the growing climate crisis.

In the wake of the incoming energy crunch due to the squeeze on Russian oil and gas exports, some see liquefied natural gas as the answer to the impending crisis. Most of this gas, centred in North America, would be produced by fracking, but this is not the answer to the global energy requirements. “Liquefied gas is a false solution,” NGO Reclaim Finance’s Lucie Pinson asserted in the press. “The newly planned projects will come too late to solve Europe’s energy crisis. But they will lock us into a high-carbon.”

Climate Action Tracker said that countries scrambling to source more natural gas following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could put climate goals at risk.

“We’re witnessing a major push for expanded fossil gas (LNG) production and import capacity across the world – in Europe, Africa, North America, Asia and Australia – which could cause global emissions to reach dangerous levels,” the report quoted Bill Hare, CEO of research institute Climate Analytics as saying, highlighting the 10 biggest climate insights from 2022.

While “we need an urgent, global and coordinated response to reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions to secure a safe and just future for humankind,” said Wendy Broadgate, global hub director (Sweden) for Future Earth, the world seems far from achieving its goals of keeping the global warming to 1.5° Celsius in the coming years.

Hundreds of protestors, angry about little action on the impending climate crisis, took to the streets of Lisbon on Saturday, with dozens storming a building where Portugal’s Economy Minister Antonio Costa e Silva was speaking, demanding the former oil industry executive resign.

Holding banners and chanting slogans, protesters demanded climate action.

The world needs to meet its growing energy requirements. But no one can seriously deny that, for now, fossil fuel remains the world’s principal energy source.

But the current situation cannot go on for long. Fossil fuels cannot be allowed to remain’s world’s principal source of energy for long.

However, despite verbal proclamations, global political leadership is still not convinced and does not appear to be serious about moving away from fossil fuels. Inaction is evident.

Despite serious warnings by many, including the U.N. chief, the very issue of global warming remains a hoax to many. That needs to be intellectually challenged.

Otherwise, the world is in for a major catastrophe.

Toronto-based Rashid Husain Syed is a respected energy and political analyst. Energy and the Middle East are his areas of focus. Besides writing regularly for major local and global newspapers, Rashid is also a regular speaker at major international conferences. He has provided his perspective on global energy issues to the Department of Energy in Washington and the International Energy Agency in Paris.

For interview requests, click here.


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