Last month I wrote a pre-COP 26 blog – explaining what we might expect to happen in Glasgow in November 2021. Now it’s time to have a post COP 26 blog and see how much further forward we are in the fight against climate change.
The COP circus came to town - it gave us a show - and it’s now left - leaving us wondering if we gained anything in our desire to protect the life on this planet.
The ringmaster (sorry) President of COP 26 was Government Minister Alok Sharman and he introduced everyone to the stage. He started with the big names – Royalty, United Nations spokesmen and Government leaders giving speeches, and David Attenborough putting it plainly ‘what we do in the next ten years is the last chance we have of saving our planet.’
Was anybody listening?
There was no representation from China or Russia - the biggest users of fossil fuels in the world. Big speeches were given – from those leaders of countries who did bother to turn up - but ….
Was anybody listening?
Then the big names disappeared. The Joe Bidens, the Macrons, the Merkels of the world left the discussions and battles to agree on the future to the civil-servant-types from around the world. There is no doubt those people were trying to do their best, but it was to be slow and difficult work.
On the first Friday – the young people arrived with Greta Thunburg leading them through the city. Her speech was ‘covered’ by the media – about 30 seconds on television news! Her statement was ‘the problem with climate change was still not being taken seriously, there was no real action and the politicians of the world were still failing everyone.’ Her dismissal of what was happening at COP 26 was summed up as ‘Blah, Blah, Blah’.
Was anybody listening?
The following day the adults took to the streets – the largest number of people on the streets in Glasgow, and only five arrests. A lot of police overtime was paid out, but the march remained peaceful. Surely this shows great restraint by the protesters. An amazing sense of commitment was shown by the public. Yet, once again hardly any media coverage for the citizens of our country. It was as if it hadn’t happened at all.
Was anybody watching?
Gradually, throughout the fortnight announcements were made,
An agreement was signed for deforestation to be stopped around the world. Yet, hadn’t we had an agreement like this in the past, which countries had ignored? The Brazilian government are the worst in the world at taking down the trees of the Amazon rain forest, yet they signed the document, but can we really believe they will stop their atrocious acts against the rain forests and the indigenous people who live there?
Will deforestation really be stopped?
An agreement was signed to give money to the smaller countries to help them protect their futures. Yet at COP21 in Paris 2015 – everyone had signed up for that – to pay billions of pounds to countries under threat – but it has never been paid out – and here we are again – everyone signing up to say they’ll put money in the pot to help them. Will the developed countries ever give money to the third world countries?
Will it really happen?
Indian announced the intention to become carbon neutral by 2070.
Isn’t this far too late?
In the last few days and last few hours the big push was to get everyone to agree to something. Alok Sharman rushed from group to group trying to get all countries to sign up to getting rid of coal – but finally all he managed to do was to get an agreement to ‘phase-down’ coal use - not ‘phase-out’. It’s questionable whether all those who signed the document will actually even phase-down the use of coal. In the whole of the documents that emerged from the final days – there was not one mention of the phrase ‘stop fossil fuels.’
This is not good enough – it’s all talk - blah, blah, blah – but no real action on getting rid of fossil fuels.
What can we take away from the COP 26 in Glasgow – was it a success or was it a failure?
Well, the answer depends on what you believe is needed and how quickly. If you are living on the Marshall Islands with the imminent threat of flooding which will destroy your whole country – then COP26 has failed you. If you are an oil producing country – then cheer and whoop – you’ve got away with it - again.
If you understand the climate problem on this planet, then you will not feel that we have moved forward to deal with the future we face. Once again, the politicians are failing us – they’ve been the clowns in the visiting circus.
Will it ever be any different – or will those people who peacefully marched in Glasgow be joined by others – more … and more … and more. People who demand that we leave a future to our children and grandchildren. People who demand we stop the destruction of life on this planet. People who demand action - responsible action which will help everyone peacefully change their behaviour.
Will we ever be heard?
Since writing the rather pessimistic blog above – I’ve found out that COP 26 did actually achieve a variety of successes – go to
to read the full details of both successes and disappointments – hopefully work to fill up the gaps will continue on this leading up to the next COP meeting.
COP 27 will be in Sharm El-Sheikh in November 2022.
As the covid pandemic continues to lead the headlines – can I ask you all – that you raise a glass to the people who have helped saved lives this year – the vaccine scientists, NHS staff, and all those whose community work has helped others. Thousands of these people are Rotarians – like you and me.
Thank you …
and I wish you all a Happy Christmas with your families and friends.
See you next month!
*Find out how Rotary Clubs are using Gloria’s work of ‘producing Environmental Education Resources for Primary Schools’ - to inform the next generation by visiting Gloria’s website here .
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(Remember – a blog is just the opinion of one person. All views expressed in this blog are those of the author)
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