At the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, President Biden boasted about America’s earnest intent ”to lead the world by example” in putting the brakes on the increasing climate catastrophe. Biden promised, as leader of the world’s third-largest coal consumer, “We’re going to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by well over a gigaton by 2030.” That promise rang hollow when the U.S. refused to sign the global agreement to slash coal use, signed by over 40 counties at the conference.
However, Biden was right when he said: “The science is clear: We only have a brief window [of time] left before us to…keep the goal of limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius.” Biden claimed that such a goal is “within our reach if each of our nations [come together] with determination… That’s what COP26 is all about.”
Tragically, any hope of global cooperation to remedy the impending end of the earth’s life-support systems was thrown under the bus, for Biden condemned the absence of the Chinese and Russian leaders at the conference. Will the new U.S. anti-China and anti-Russian policy undermine cooperation with these important countries on this most serious issue?
Biden did recognize the global nature of the climate catastrophe when he stated: “…no nation can wall itself off from borderless threats.” Biden was not a lone voice at COP26 to link the climate crisis to borders. Nancy Pelosi, when questioned how she could support approval of the massive increase in the military budget, while the Pentagon emits more green-house gases than 140 countries, shockingly contended: “It is a national security issue.” The U.S. military produced 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon emissions in its wars from 2001-17. Ironically, military carbon emissions are exempted from international climate treaties.
Pelosi continued: “The climate crisis is…cause for migration, conflict over habitat and resources, and…a security challenge globally.” The U.S. now spends double the amount on border enforcement and building walls against climate-disaster immigrants, than on global warming mitigation efforts.
And there is more. Oil companies hire security personnel to protect their interests and also profit from the climate crisis. For instance, ExxonMobil contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) border security to control areas where local communities protest oil extraction from their lands. BP contracts with a private company that conducts ICE surveillance of migrants. In return, BP receives essential information on drilling in the area.
Capitalist corporations and banks, including major fossil fuel and coal companies that emit 71% of global greenhouse gases, sent over 100 delegates to COP26 — more than any single nation. They used their power and green-washing rhetoric to weaken any commitments to true climate amelioration.
Meanwhile, the environmentalists who demanded bold action to end fossil fuel use, were walled out of the meetings; these activists were forced to take their protests outside the walls and into the streets!