I heard a speaker on the radio who was optimistic about man’s ability to radically reverse our impact on the climate. He cited how quickly we’ve absorbed new technologies. And he’s right, human beings have an extraordinary capacity to adapt to new situations. We’re also hearing a lot of news coming out of COP26 about the billions governments are pledging to ‘going green’. It all sounds good, and I want to be taken in by all the positivity, but for some reason I’m skeptical.
Government pledges have been made before. Pledges that aren’t fulfilled, such as money to tackle poverty, or mass sharing of the Covid vaccine. Then I came across an article in The Guardian about the energy charter treaty (ECT). An obscure international agreement that allows energy corporations to sue governments over policies that could hurt their profits. – Can you see where this is going? – Yamina Saheb, a former employee of the ECT Secretariat, has estimated that companies could sue governments for 1.3 trillion euros in compensation for early closures of coal, oil and gas plants. It’s already happening that European / English companies are suing respective governments for billions. The thing with the treaty, signed by 54 members in 1994, is that it stipulates that companies don’t have to make public their claims. So there are most probably even more billions of taxpayers’ money already being allocated to these corporations.
Like aviation fuel, which it’s said is going to go green in a year, we have the tools. But as I’ve said before, do we really have the commitment to adapt to a more equitable economic governance?