If you visit the website of the UN body that oversees the world’s climate negotiations, you will find dozens of pictures, taken across 20 years, of people clapping. The celebratory nature of the images testifies to the world of make-believe these people inhabit. They are surrounded by objectives, principles, commitments, instruments and protocols, which create a reassuring phantasm of progress while the ship on which they travel slowly founders. This process is futile because they have addressed the problem only from one end, and it happens to be the wrong end. They have sought to prevent climate breakdown by limiting the amount of greenhouse gases that are released; in other words, by constraining the consumption of fossil fuels.
But, throughout the 23 years since the world’s governments decided to begin this process, the delegates have uttered not one coherent word about constraining production.
[Unfortunately, he himself seems to miss the point and also addresses the problem from “only one end”, the production of fossil fuels, not overall global production and consumption, which is beyond the limits of earth’s sustainability. He’s perhaps closer to the real end, but not much closer to this root of the problem, which is a whole system of production and consumption dedicated to increasing accumulation for the “1%” at the expense of the “99%”, not just fossil fuels. This is a picture of one hand clapping, unfortunately.]