357 Before COP26

Claire Adamson, Barbara Birkett, William Ryerson, and Doug Saunders share their worries about climate issues that they think should (but may not) be addressed in Glasgow at COP26. We all wish that the whole meeting were held on zoom to eliminate the huge amount of carbon being emitted by the participants’ travel.

The interdependent effects of wars and weapons (especially nuclear ones) and the climate emergency need to be emphasized.

Ryerson will give a short talk by Zoom about the effect on the climate of educating women and girls, thereby giving them more opportunity to achieve their desired family size (which is generally reduced thereby). He makes series dramas on television and radio to provide role models that change public norms about gender and reproduction.

Doug Saunders explained why he believes it is unnecessary and even undesirable to reduce consumption levels in order to reduce carbon emissions. Rural people are the world’s poor, and by raising their standard of living and enabling them to move to cities, it does indeed increase their carbon footprint, but it also reduces their family size, and this change means that they will be responsible for less global warming.

The panelists worry that the IPCC has under-estimated the warming effect of methane, which is more of a threat than generally recognized, especially since methane is being reduced in large quantities in the shallow areas of the Arctic Ocean. Only today the Washington Post carried an article about recent catastrophic emissions of methane in Russia, caused by a pipeline leak.


  • Claire Adamson
  • Barbara Birkett
  • William Ryerson
  • Doug Saunders



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Metta, be careful with your knowledge … concrete & cement off gas CO2 once laid. There are types of stone that sequester CO2, perhaps you were talking about a reformulation of cement, etc.
Methane is indeed tricky, to imply that there is a conspiracy of suppression is not wise to suggest. The science is incredibly complex. Methane when released off of the ocean floor typically adds to plankton growth, ie. it sequesters carbon….. and after 27 yrs atmospheric methane degrades into CO2. The sources you brought up are natural and therefore difficult to capture, like forest fires, which emit huge GHGs.
It has taken 26 CoPs to get here! I was 18 in Toronto at the first climate summit…. I am now in my 50s! Getting Article 6 right is going to be very difficult because the OECD nations’ worldview is based upon privatization, which doesn’t work for many pastoral nations. They will need to focus their language on Payment for Ecosystem Services.

Great to see Doug, but I am afraid I disagree that encouraging urbanization is a good idea. Be careful of how your data is sourced. As an economist, I can tell you that how one goes about measuring things influences out comes. Even modern cities’ tax base does not cover urban infrastructure expenses. Policies already favour urbanization too much. I work with W. African nations where charcoal is the primary urban cooking fuel. Rural people cook with wood. My work is to transform the economy so that charcoal cooking is reduced by 90%. And where rural people reduce deforestation by being paid with carbon offsets as forest stewards and make biochar, which has 80% less emissions than charcoal production when produce in the pit flame kiln method. In this scheme Payments are made to married women. While this May incentivize men to take more wives, the policy encourages women to have less children so that the stipend goes further. To begin with it represents about 10% of their annual income of about 110USD/yr. In these cultures wives banned together and exert power over their husbands, so they are stronger together.
All points of peace are well meant…… I think we have hopefully reached an age where enough people realise how costly and messy war is….. Xi’s China is worrying on this front.
Comments on nuclear energy need to be prefaced with molten salt reactors, which are a very different form of energy than old school nuclear, brings potential promise.

Dare I dream to hope….. that CoP 26 is a turning point.

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