After a one-year delay due to Covid-19, the 26th Conference of the Parties finally kicked off in Glasgow last week, drawing a throng of world leaders, business leaders and climate activists. Will it deliver? Or is it more ‘bla bla bla’, the now infamous words of Greta Thunberg who has already written the conference off as greenwash. Is she right to do so?
‘Paris promised, Glasgow must deliver’ said the UK’s COP26 President Alok Sharma in his opening address. In light of ever accumulating and verifiable climate data and modelling, it really is, or should be, a make or break gathering of minds. The moment to turn ‘build back better’ mantras into concrete action. Without firm commitments and follow through action, runaway climate breakdown is inevitable. There is no wiggle room when it comes to climate science. ‘We made some progress’ simply won’t cut it. We either reduce emissions to the required level in time to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, or we risk flicking the first domino in a feast of frightful feedback loops.
So, what has COP26 dished up so far? Is it all hot air and haggis, or is there some meat to the bone?