On the road to Glasgow

This week in Glasgow, Scotland, the COP26 is opening with over 200 heads-of-state. We have a representative in the conference, Ewald Biemans, Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts.

He is Aruba’s only CO2 emission reduction champion.

Russia, China & Saudi Arabia, will stay away from the conference.

They think it’s their right to keep burning fossil fuels, so they could also reach the level of industrialization, urbanization and modernization, of other world economic powers, then, maybe in ten years, they will think about reducing green-house gases, but not before they are fully up and running.

All heads-of-states flying to the COP26 Summit will be taking about the burning issue, Climate Change. It is now recognized as the number #1 global threat, with a menacing menu of hurricanes, typhoons, fires, floods, pandemics, hunger, drought, heat waves, scarcity of food and other natural disasters, hanging over our communal heads. We’ve seen a lot of the above this summer.

Aruba, should also be alarmed because we are a tropical island and according to me, we already arrived at the predicted point of no return, 1 ½ degrees temperature increase, because this summer was hotter than ever, and I moved from one air-conditioned space to the other. The outside was unbearable.

If we were located in Scandinavia, we’d be perhaps welcoming the temperature increase, but not here because it is affecting everything, including air quality, and the ocean that surrounds us, and the more we build up the island, pour concrete, overconsume products and welcome tourists, the hotter the island will become.

Yes, airplanes. They are a major sources of CO2 emissions. One of my friends ran a chart: How much KG CO2 Aruba produces as a destination, welcoming 750,000 visitors a year, flying in on 7,036 flights, with an average seat capacity of 164 each, with a 65% load factor, 8 hours per round trip. He arrived at 14,071,295.00 KG of CO2 annually, that over 1 million KG CO2 a month.

How can we arrive at less emissions, to become Carbon Neutral, or Net Zero Carbon, meaning balance the carbon we produce by living, eating, driving, and flying, by savings CO2 elsewhere – eating less meat, driving electric cars, or by the active REMOVAL of CO2 from the atmosphere — planting trees is the easiest!

And that’s the goal. The universal goal at the moment is to reduce our carbon footprint, thus reduce the greenhouse gases that heat up the earth, that keep me glued to the airco that by cooling my office raises the global temperatures. Catch 22.

Glasgow is not the first UN climate summit, it’s the 26th. There was a famous one in Paris in 2015, when the global threat became apparent, countries decided to join forces, and take measures to combat the impending disaster, by doing their best to stop temperatures from rising. We didn’t hear much about the Paris Accord, until an American president decided to ditch its resolutions, but this October, in 2021, the world is in a different place, it understands we are in the throw of an incredible crisis, manmade.

We must change our behavior otherwise we will NOT be spared. We will see major disasters every few months, not just once a decade.

We must reduce CO2 emissions, and fast, if we want to avoid the above interesting menu of hurricanes, typhoons, fires, floods, pandemics, diseases, hunger, extinction, ice cap-melting, water rising, drought, heat waves and scarcity of food and less agricultural land. I can go on.

Climate change arrived here faster than we anticipated. And we feel it, see it.

So why is Aruba so carefree, complacent, calm? Why is only Biemans concerned?  Because we think we are so small and cannot contribute to the global solution? Because we think it will not reach us? Because our DNA is carefree?

I think that if GOA placed Climate Change on its agenda, the locals would slowly get on board, just as we went along with the ban on plastic drinking straws and the ban on single-use plastic bags, but someone needs to get the ball rolling.

What we need to learn first, and totally embrace is to reduce, reuse and recycle.

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November 01, 2021
Rona Coster