We were discussing the recently completed COP26. Too bad we couldn’t afford to be there, I told Swamp Rabbit. In the news reports, the Glasgow natives seemed more serious about fighting climate change than your typical gas-guzzling American, maybe because the climate over there is already terrible.
“We didn’t miss much,” Swamp Rabbit said. “Same old story. Too much talk, not enough action. Blah, blah, blah, as Greta Thunberg would say.”
The climate crisis became real to Swamp Rabbit in September, when the remnants of Hurricane Ida hit the Greater Philadelphia area and flooded our shacks in Tinicum, PA. He read up on the subject and was dismayed to learn that humans must achieve net-zero emission of carbon by 2050 in order to prevent catastrophical levels of global warming.
“Net zero ain’t happening,” he said. “Not with China using more coal than ever last year, and India on its way to new coal-burning records. Not with the U.S. gov’mint leasing the Gulf of Mexico to all them oil drillers.”
I told him to stop being a gloom peddler. The countries at COP26 (what a weird name!) have all pledged to end deforestation. by 2030, and to put more money into fighting climate change in so-called developing countries.
“You’re a saleman,” I said. “You know how to accentuate the positive. Why don’t you come up with a new sales pitch for clean energy, something that will help save the planet?”
He put down his can of beer and turned toward the swamp. “Okay, peeps, let’s save the planet in three easy steps,” he shouted, as if addressing a crowd. “Step one, stop driving. Step two, stop using plastics. Step three, stop worrying, and ignore steps one and two. The planet will still be here long after us humans are gone.”
“This is about saving the the planet for humans, you stupid rodent,” I said. “What sort of planet would this be if there were no humans on it?”
“A healthier planet,” he replied, without missing a beat.
Footnote: Environmentalist Bill McKibbon blames Covid-19 for slowing the worldwide movement to replace fossil fuels with clean energy, but he cautions against despair: “… As Covid recedes… rejuvenated activism will combine with the continuing horror of the climate crisis to produce more pressure for change. It had better – Glasgow’s finish makes clear that when activists aren’t able to push as hard as we need, inertia and vested interest remain powerful forces. The idea that the world’s governments will simply do what needs to be done is just a fairytale.”