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Op-ed: It’s Time to Re-think the United Nations’ COP Climate Negotiations

When you work on climate change, cognitive dissonance is a daily experience. I recently visited West Virginia to bask in the glorious colors of fall.

All seemed right with the world — normal in a way that can make one forget the existential crises humming along in the background.

I felt the same jarring disconnect as I watched the now concluded Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The people trying to hammer out solutions to this vexing global challenge are serious individuals who care deeply. Some have spent entire careers moving from venue to venue, making their best efforts to find a pathway toward a safer world. The negotiations are sober and sincere.

The cognitive dissonance arises because they have nothing to offer that matches the severity of the problem.

Carbon emissions might have been worse without this annual attention, but it’s hard to escape that the current pathway is essentially business as usual.