UN Climate Action: Anybody Left Out?

The last few days have been significant for those who have been watching the development of the climate change movement.

The Children’s Marches

The September 20th children’s Climate Action marches throughout the world were a model of effective organizing. The chosen face of the children’s demand for action, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, performed admirably in event after event.

UN Climate Action Summit

In New York City, the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019 on September 23rd was a wonder to behold.  World leaders meticulously selected for their commitment to fighting climate change reported on their country’s progress in implementing the mandates of the Paris Agreement.

Greta Thunberg’s presentation before the heads of state made headlines. The teen environmental activist strongly rebuked the grownups for thrashing the Planet and leaving a mess that will shorten or effectively end lives in her generation and that of her progeny.  Ms. Thunberg spoke of the abject fear the “existential crisis” of climate change has wrought upon today’s youth.

Mr. Antonio Guterres, current UN Secretary General and former Socialist Party Prime Minister of Portugal, echoed the children’s concern. His young granddaughters, he said, would not inherit a hospitable Planet unless we fixed our destruction through the collective action and distribution of resources prescribed in the Paris Agreement.

Some Reminders

Yes, our Planet has been warming. And yes, just as ice floating in the surface of your sangria melts faster in hot weather, so does Polar ice floating in the oceans. The meltdown might even eventually return the Poles to their ice-free condition during the time of the dinosaurs.  Ocean-front cities will be the first to go.

Chart showing Earth's cold and hot cycle
NOAA Climate Information – Extreme Events, Trends

However, if industrialization contributed to a current natural warming, perhaps we can delay the inevitable through some lifestyle changes.

We could use some lifestyle changes anyway to clean up our air and quit dumping non-biodegradable garbage everywhere.

The 74th Session of the U.N. General Assembly

Leaders of the United Nations member states met in New York City on September 24th for the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly and Debate.  All presentations are available for watching on YouTube or the UN WebTV.

In his opening presentation, UN Secretary General Guterres once again insisted on the end of talk and the start of evidence of prescribed action under the Paris Agreement. He views the Agreement as a social and moral contract that signatories need to honor if we are to avoid climate catastrophe. The Agreement principally calls for a drastic world-wide reduction in CO2 through phasing out of fossil fuels.

By contrast, recently elected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro , clearly and forcefully indicated to the assembled dignitaries that Brazil is a sovereign nation that has demonstrated in words and actions that it is committed to environmental protection that is specifically adapted to the country’s own characteristics. President Bolsonaro took the opportunity to indicate his distaste for widespread media fallacies, political correctness that replaces reality, and socialist ideology that routinely leaves a “trail of misery.” Socialism is working in Venezuela, he said – everybody is now poor.

Compliant leaders like Emmanuel Macron of France, Angela Merkel of Germany, and Sebastian Pinera of Chile did report their progress in implementing climate fighting mandates contained in the Paris Agreement.

In a show of inclusiveness, organizers of the 2019 UN Session invited the input of entrepreneurs who could contribute to the climate fight through technology and customer reach. Entrepreneurs spoke of devises farmers in poor countries can use to predict the approach of threatening weather conditions. Representatives of Google, Microsoft, Ubisoft and other gaming companies reported on their success in reducing the energy consumption of their games and data storage, and including ideas on Planet protection in the theme of their games.

Who Did the UN Leave Out?

The United Nations mostly called for action from governments and corporations. They should have asked who they were leaving out! The Summit left out people – buyers, consumers, trend setters, and boycotters.

Consumer distaste wiped the Ford Company’s Edsel and the New Coke off the market within a short time of the products’ introduction. Conversely, The Blair Witch Project was a 1999 movie produced for $60,000 that grossed $140.5 million, because people thought the low-budged viral marketing and the shaky camera effect were really cool.

Maybe if all those children that demanded climate action from government refused to ride on gas guzzlers, gave up watching anything on energy-sucking plasma entertainment screens, and reduced their meat consumption they might set a trend. Their Climate Action Fridays could be spent reaching out to consumers and featuring companies that work on making their premises as carbon neutral as possible.