COP 26 starting in Glasgow on 31 October is the most vital world gathering on climate change since the historic Paris Accords in 2015. But the runes for success are looking decidedly dicey.
Climate change is the most important issue of our time, the world has been told we are all on red alert, politicians across the globe have been (sort of) talking up their nation’s commitments to their Paris promises – and Glasgow is the time to show up and make net-zero by 2050 happen.
But the noise around COP26 is a whimper. Leadership is sadly lacking, nations are stalling on their targets, money that has supposed to have already been pledged is nowhere to be seen and now X1 Jinping, the Chinese leader, is probably not even going to turn up.
Depressing. And meanwhile, as Greta Thunberg says, our house the Earth burns.
Just a couple of weeks ago, climate change got short shrift in both the party conference speeches by PM Boris Johnson and Labour leader Keir Starmer. Instead of taking the issue by the horns and ramming home of the importance of COP26 – it’s being held in the UK after all – they plunged the issue deep down in their ramblings while lesser, popular, easier, short-term issues got top billing.
Since then Johnson has issued some green policy ideas including grants for heat boilers in homes but it’s all snipping round the edges, dropping a cup-full of water into a burning room.
Johnson and Starmer’s leadership failures are a national disgrace on the eve of the most important world gathering on our shores since Paris. As PM, Johnson has simply not prioritised Glasgow anywhere near as he should. And, if it fails, a great deal of the blame should fall on his and his government’s shoulders. Paris succeeded because there was painstaking preparation, intelligent, commitment and leadership willing to listen, discuss and win arguments. The British Government is not one for doing that.
COP26 may even now save itself. As Kaleidoscope has noted before, the conference may yet achieve that big ‘something’ that will be the climate change game-changer our choking Earth needs.
But don’t hold your breath.
And if COP26 does fail, in time, holding your breath may be exactly what millions around the world will have to start doing.
COP26 - https://ukcop26.org