COPping out?

There was no way that COP26 was going to please everyone. That simply wasn’t a possibility when we are currently on track to miss that oh-so-important 1.5 degree increase, regardless of what intervention methods we put in place. Environmental groups are furious (as they loudly and creatively demonstrated throughout the conference’s duration) and even the Conference’s president was in tears as he apologised for the last minute changes.

So, what has come out of the twenty sixth Conference of Parties?

In the months leading up to Glasgow’s COP26, the world continued to be hit by the consequences of our current 1.1C global warming – floods, wildfires, storms and heatwaves dominated the news and environmental conversations. Coming on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, the logistical and implications made an already fraught conversation more so.

You win some, you lose some

The world leaders wrapped things up more than a day later than planned, after discussions and debates hit multiple obstacles, and came up with what some are calling, the “least worst” outcome. The last-minute changes, which environmental groups are saying eviscerates measures to reducing coal, were apologised for by a tearful Alok Sharma, Conference President.

There were some positives, and it is important to look at those rather than get lost in the worryingly  Coming out of the conference, we still have the unified goal of remaining under 1.5C (remember, small victories are still worth claiming), and even though there it’s looking like it will be slower than originally hoped for, the debate on how to phase down and ultimately end subsidies and support for coal and the production of other fossil fuel. At least this is an issue that’s being named now and that, too, is a good thing.

Is Greta right? Did those two COP26 weeks have us listening to politicians bent on delivering rousing, heroic statements written to bolster their country’s PR when in fact, what when all we were really hearing was, “Blah, blah, blah”?