It is disappointing to hear that global carbon emissions have shot back to the record levels that we saw before COVID-19.
Admittedly, the lockdown measures that were instigated across many parts of the world had provided the world with some breathing room. But it seems that the respite has ended. Fossil-fuel burning has surged faster than expected, as economies have started to reopen.
So much for “build back better”. So much for the pledges and commitments made at COP26. There is a greater than evens chance that COP26 could turn into FLOP26, as economies prioritise growing over greening. That is a crying shame….
…. Indonesia has already dialled back its pledge to zero deforestation. The country, which is home to the third-biggest rainforest, said forcing the country to zero deforestation is “inappropriate and unfair”.
Additionally, it said that economic development must not stop in the name of carbon emissions and deforestation. How can a country, such as Indonesia and many others besides, ever square the circle between green and growth?
Is it possible to stop any sovereign state from chopping down its own rainforests to make way for commercial plantations such as palm oil?
The simple answer is no, especially when palm oil is a cheap ingredient in foods from ice cream to instant noodles, in cosmetics from lipstick to moisturiser, and in cleaning products from detergent to soap.
We often don’t even know that we are actually destroying the environment, even if we care passionately about global warming. So, what can we do about it? Stop washing our hair? Stop eating pot noodles? That isn’t going to work.
What could work is a switch from palm oil to other oils. But it will cost us more. Are we prepared to stump up more money for our personal-care products? Are we prepared to dig deeper into our pockets for that plate of mee goring or char kway teow at our local hawker?
Only we can answer that question. But remember this: nothing spurs a company faster to sustainability than the idea that it could lose revenue if it doesn’t. Forget about the bigwigs with even bigger egos at the talking shop in Glasgow.
We have the power to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees by the end of this century. But we must learn to say no to deforestation, and any company that promotes the destruction of rainforests.
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David does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.