Activism

Climate Scientist: COP21 Deal Is “A Total Fraud”

At last, an expert just admitted what so many of us were thinking...


The Paris Climate conference (COP21) has now ended, and the media (not to mention popular campaign groups like Avaaz) would have us believe that we, the people, have won. A fantastic deal has been reached; it’s ‘historic’, it’s worth celebrating, it’s cause to pat ourselves on the back. But is that the truth, or do we still need to keep fighting?

James Hansen, a former top climate scientist at NASA, has some strong opinions on the matter. He told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman during the Paris talks:

“This is a total fraud. We’re not going to reduce emissions as long as we let fossil fuels be the cheapest form of energy. There are lots of countries that want to lift their people out of poverty, and of course they should do that. but everyone would be better off if the price of fossil fuels was honest. It should include its cost to society.” 

As we reported back in June, the oil and gas industries are heavily subsidised: these already-filthy rich corporations receive $5.3 trillion US dollars per year globally, and you are paying for it through your taxes. There was absolutely no mention of this injustice during the Paris talks, and yet clearly, it is the single most important thing that needs to change if we are serious about climate change.

“Are these people stupid, or are they just badly informed?” Hansen asks host Amy Goodman, speaking of world leaders. “Are they just ill-advised?”

(Personally, I’d hazard a guess they are neither: they are simply easily bribed by the enormous power of the fossil fuel lobbyists).

Here’s the thing: The climate deal was only ‘historic’ in that for the first time ever, leaders around the world promised to commit to a goal of net zero: a target of completely cutting the planet’s carbon pollution. This is wonderful news, of course, but here’s the big question: Can we trust them to keep their word? One of our sources, who works for an NGO and would like to remain anonymous, attended the Paris conference. She admitted:

“The deal is essentially weak. There’s nothing concrete. There’s nothing specific. It’s not legally binding. It’s all about watching and waiting now, to see if governments follow up their words with action.”

She added that 197 countries were needed to agree with the terms, and while 195 signed up, the deal still fell short by two. “It’s all about follow-up action now,” she said. “Maybe the issue of subsidising the fossil fuel industry will be looked at in a year.”

The Guardian reports that Barack Obama was playing golf with the head of the World Bank when the deal was agreed. Hansen says of the President:

 “I think he really believes that he’s doing something. He wants to have a legacy, but what he’s proposing is totally ineffective. As long as fossil fuels are dirt cheap, people will keep burning them.” 

Hansen then proposes a carbon tax, paid by the fossil fuel industry, and that money should be given to the public.

What do you think of his proposals, and how can we pressure governments to do the one thing we desperately need: to end the ridiculous practice of subsidising the fossil fuel industry? Please let us know your comments below, and share this story if you agree we need more than just words from our leaders!


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