The following article written by Mike Small was first posted by bella caledonia.


COP28 means the target of 1.5°C is over. Once you get your head around that reality you need to be operating in a spectacular state of self-delusion to be anything other than despondent.

The problems with the COP (not just this one, all of them) are well rehearsed: they are captured by vested corporate and fossil fuel interests, operate as a performative act in liberal ‘progress’ politics and have been a proven failure over decades. It is no surprise then that certain, often deeply embedded and compromised media have hailed #COP28 as a ‘great success’.

Screeds of supposedly rational intelligent and well-informed ‘climate journalists’ and editors have written fanfares for the event.

In the real world others are speaking the truth.

As Kevin Anderson writes: “The final text from COP28 is a death knell for the stronger 1.5°C commitment of the Paris Agreement and even puts the much weaker 2°C obligation on critical life-support. No doubt there will be lots of cheer and back-slapping among many pontificators and even some climate ‘experts’, but the physics will not care. As the new agreement locks in high levels of emissions for years to come, so the temperature will continue to rise.”

Others agreed.

“The wording [of the agreement] does not force action, and delaying change further is indefensible,” said Daniela Schmidt, professor of Earth sciences at the University of Bristol. “Pretending that reducing emissions by 2050 is enough ignores the dangerous, life-threatening consequences of our anthropogenic heating of the planet. There are still trillions in subsidies given every year to fossil fuel industries who make money for their shareholders ignoring the consequences. Why is that money not redirected to help communities adapt, reduce vulnerability, create justice, and change the way we live?”

Ilan Kelman, professor of disasters and health at University College London, said: “Another COP circus extravaganza has ended with yet more documents offering little substance … COP has become a distraction from, not momentum toward, effective action. For addressing human-caused climate change and, in tandem, all other sustainability aspects, we have achieved much more outside of COP.”

Mike Berners-Lee, Professor at Lancaster University’s Environment Centre, was even more scathing, saying: “COP 28 is the fossil fuel industry’s dream outcome, because it looks like progress, but it isn’t.”

This is the crux of the matter, the illusion of change.

Much was made of the positive opening of the summit seemed to spark a breakthrough about Loss and Damage but that enthusiasm had quickly been dampened, said Lisa Schipper, professor of development geography at the University of Bonn. “The COP started with a bang when the Loss and Damage Fund was agreed, but over the course of the meeting, the lack of funding flowing into it became a major source of disappointment.”

Loss and Damage is also a case of giving money from the rich countries for the chaos they have caused to those who haven’t created the damage they’re experiencing. It’s like Guilt Money but the behaviour continues.

Kevin Anderson again: “The climate challenge we face today is 40 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide harder than it was last year, and around one third of a trillion tonnes more difficult than at the time of the Paris Agreement. COP28 might well have been appropriate if it had taken place in 2000, but in 2023 it falls far short of our Paris temperature and equity commitments. The time for polish, rhetoric and applause is long gone. We face a climate emergency that the COP process appears simply unwilling or unable to address.”

None of this is surprising, all of this was predicted. Much of the climate media is now about massaging the truth from within the tent. At a certain point some of the climate media will crumble under the sheer irrevocable of the logic facing us.

Representatives from the Marshall Islands said: “[We] did not come here to sign our death warrant. We came here to fight for 1.5C and for the only way to achieve that: a fossil fuel phase-out…We will not go silently to our watery graves.”



also see:

Omnicide – Mike Small, bella caledonia

Climate change or system change, Ali Fleming, rs21

Edinburgh marches against Cop27 – Stephen Topple, The Canary

Environmental degradation and sustainable development – EL&SD coverage