Energy Day in Glasgow
If an enlightened legislature comes up with a novel killer app, it can go viral almost overnight.
Today is Energy Day at COP26. The Mayor of New York City timed a press conference to announce the city will be going on renewable electricity as its primary energy by 2025 by building a 300-mile transmission line to access Canadian hydropower, ay, and closing all those ancient, smelly, thermal plants on its rivers.
Meanwhile France and Poland earned a Fossil of the Day award for trying to slip language into the rulebook that would classify fossil gas and nuclear as ‘sustainable’ energy. One must ask what exactly it is that these forms of energy sustain.
We should focus on a fast transition to renewable energy and not spend the COP26 Energy Day on non-renewable ‘false’ solutions such as nuclear — that have proven to be too slow, too risky and of course too expensive. Who wants to pay tens of billions to address the radioactive pollution of water aquifers from uranium mining or the highly CO2 intensive digging of giant tunnels to try and store decommissioned nuclear power plants and waste underground?
Before Baroness Patricia Scotland became Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations she had first been the first black woman Solicitor General of the UK. She had used that position to enact sweeping reforms in both civil and criminal codes, backed by scientific validation of the social impacts of past and proposed laws. It was a tour de force. It should not be surprising then, that when she made climate action her first priority for the 50-plus nations she now oversees, she commissioned a study of the climate-related laws of all the countries in the world.
In the run-up to the Glasgow COP she formed a UNEP/UNFCCC/Commonwealth partnership to update the section of that study as it applied to energy laws. She rebuilt the Energy Module of the Law and Climate Change Toolkit as an online, open-access resource to enable easy assessment of national legal frameworks and to facilitate concrete steps for legislative reform, country by country.
The provisions of every statute of every country are now tagged according to a complex taxonomy. This enables not merely quick searches but comparative analysis, leading to uniform codes being developed to transition away from fossil dependency through a mix of carrots (tax code incentives and block grants) and sticks (emissions caps and transition deadlines). The algorithms allow the cream to rise. If an enlightened legislature comes up with a novel killer app, it can go viral almost overnight.
When we speak of energy, as we should on this Energy Day, it is useful not to limit ourselves to thinking just in terms of Watt-hours or torquing horsepower. There is also the energy of creative thought, turning human ingenuity to good use to solve problems. Patricia Scotland provides a splendid example of how that can be done by governments thinking outside the box.
The COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed lives, livelihoods, and economies. But it has not slowed down climate change, which presents an existential threat to all life, humans included. The warnings could not be stronger: temperatures and fires are breaking records, greenhouse gas levels keep climbing, sea level is rising, and natural disasters are upsizing.
As the world confronts the pandemic and emerges into recovery, there is growing recognition that the recovery must be a pathway to a new carbon economy, one that goes beyond zero emissions and runs the industrial carbon cycle backwards — taking CO2 from the atmosphere and ocean, turning it into coal and oil, and burying it in the ground. The triple bottom line of this new economy is antifragility, regeneration, and resilience.
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“There are the good tipping points, the tipping points in public consciousness when it comes to addressing this crisis, and I think we are very close to that.”
— Climate Scientist Michael Mann, January 13, 2021.
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Collective Healing in Action — PP @ COP 26
During this year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the Pocket Project will be exploring the connections between collective trauma and climate change. We will be hosting events to reflect on how the trauma symptoms of numbness, apathy, hyper-activation, and polarization slow down our ability to respond. Our lack of embodied relationship to the crisis is part of the crisis.
Join the community to witness, reflect and relate to what is happening at COP26:
- Daily live snippets of news and short interviews with key players at COP26
- Online live conversations with Thomas Hübl, Charles Eisenstein, Nora Bateson, Sabine Lichtenfels, John D. Liu, Karen O’Brien and others
- Participate in ‘Global Social Witnessing’ — a collective practice of relating to Climate Change with embodied awareness
- Meditation and prayer in support of good outcomes of COP 26
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