Greta Thunberg's dismissal of COP27 as an exercise in "greenwashing" intended to make political leaders and other powerful figures look good on the world stage appears to have some merit given the disappointing outcome of the recent conference.
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While it is good that the developed world is finally acknowledging that some of the poorest countries on the globe are paying the heaviest price for climate change caused by historic carbon dioxide emissions, movement on this front appears to have come at the price of stronger action to limit global temperature rises to less than 1.5 degrees.
This was spelt out as a major priority at Glasgow's COP26 where the point was repeatedly made that any increase above that would have dire consequences. Those wondering what those consequences may be only need to look at the ongoing Australian flood emergency and recent heatwaves in the northern hemisphere.
The deployment of emergency crews from as far away as Singapore and New Zealand to help with flood response for the first time in Australian history is strong evidence that what is happening in central western and south western NSW and parts of Victoria is without precedent.
While there have been larger floods, many of those occurred before the construction of dams such as the Hume Weir. And, even more significantly, major floods have never come this close together.
Large parts of Forbes, for example, have gone underwater twice within a fortnight. Condobolin is facing its third - or is that fourth? - flood threat of the year and what happened at Eugowra is one of the worst inland flood disasters since Gundagai was literally washed away in 1852.
None of these events are comparable to the recent floods that devastated large parts of Pakistan, Bangladesh, northern India and Afghanistan or the likely impact of rising sea levels on the populations of low lying islands in the Pacific however.
In Pakistan alone tens of millions of people were displaced by floods that left 15 million children in need of immediate relief and killed more than 1700. While the western news cycle has moved on the displaced survivors are living in the most temporary accommodations imaginable while under siege from water borne diseases, snakes, stray animals and malnutrition.
That suffering is not going to be ameliorated by COP27's much lauded "climate change fund" anytime soon. While hailed as a major achievement by the attendees, the reality is that at this stage the fund is only words on a piece of paper.
There is no detail on where the money will come from, what the criteria will be to access it, and whether or not it will be funded sufficiently to meet needs as they arise. The EU, for example, has committed itself to providing just $93 million while Pakistan's clean-up bill is expected to top $45 billion. COP27's apparent trade-off between the fund to assist poorer nations dealing with climate change induced catastrophes and more ambitious emissions reductions targets seems to be a shift away from mitigation towards resilience and cleaning up the messes the failure to act earlier have made inevitable. That's just not good enough. The prediction is that unless more is done, temperatures will have risen above the 1.5 degree tipping point by 2031.
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