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  • Charles Bromley-Davenport

COP26: What A Bloody Waste of Time

Last Friday, the annual virtue-signalling contest at the United Nation’s COP Climate Summit came to a close. This year’s reminder of the global elite’s revulsion towards us was like no other. While Prince Charles’ carbon-guzzling Gulfstream Jet emitted in just two weeks more than eighteen times the average amount of CO2 a Brit gives off each year, we are told that unless we stop the hot showers and start consuming insects, the entire planet will implode.

The event got off to a difficult start. With mountains of litter and militant industrial action, the staff responsible for treating rat bites at Glasgow Royal Infirmary were presumably working overtime. Delegates stepping over bags of rubbish on their way into a climate conference hardly leaves the correct impression, for which the SNP-controlled council gave a powerful response: ‘Edinburgh is dirtier’. It is clear why I trust this party less than the exotic dancer who says she likes me.

If there was anything needed following the past 25 COPs, it was more empty promises. After the usual doomsday speeches to open, it was day three when this seemed to change. After Poland’s arch-nemesis, Madame von der Leyen, took to her Glasgow soapbox to announce the urgent need to tackle methane emissions, delegates announced a ‘landmark decision’. To the delight of eco-warriors, a score of nations signed the ‘global’ plan to reduce such emissions by 30% over the next decades. Yet, with Russia and China (the nations emitting the highest levels of methane) failing to sign this pact, it was as much of a landmark as teaching my dog to raise his paw on demand.

What is truly remarkable was the deal reached on deforestation. A pact by the nations with 85% of all forestry to achieve net-zero tree felling by 2030 is a huge victory by all definitions. What challenges this however is the United Kingdom’s glaring hypocrisy. While signing this agreement, we continue destroying ancient woodland with the HS2 vanity project.

Over the past two weeks, it was clear that coal was on all minds. A firm pledge here would take pressure off states and will be a strong kick of the can down the road. As days came and went, this was thrown into real doubt. With just 24 hours left, an India-led coup threatened to derail progress, and placed the entire two weeks in jeopardy. Unlike their Western compatriots, the delegates of India refuse to enter deals they plan to break. Such honesty clearly has no place at COP, so the poor President, Alok Sharma, was left looking like a heartbroken boyfriend who’s partner professed her love elsewhere. On the final day, a snivelling Sharma took to the stage to apologise for the last minute changing of word, from coal being ‘phased out’ to now being ‘phased down’. While still a long way from this olive branch giving away the entire tree, we all know the importance a further promise would have been. For there sure hasn’t been enough of those made in the previous 25 COPs.

With the messiah-like arrival of Greta Thunberg, flanked by her Praetorian Guard of Student Union representatives, the radical fringes crawled into action from their parent’s basement. Glasgow’s streets were besieged by two kinds of people: Ukulele players and Ushanka wearers. Beyond the general absence of any personal hygiene or employment, these two groups produced some remarkable signage. My personal favourites being ‘decolonise the curriculum’ and ‘make earth great again’, as well as a number of Palestinian flags that clearly got lost on their way to hound the Israeli Ambassador at the LSE. But the undisputed crème de la crème has to be ‘destroy the patriarchy, not the planet’. I have no doubt that Putin and President Xi Jinping will have taken these messages onboard.

COP will always remain what it always was – a COP out. Instead of tackling the offenders, COP26 has been a pathetic sing-along from the same old hymn sheet. While we continue to flagellate ourselves, Beijing remains entirely immune, despite emitting more CO2 over the past eight years than Britain has since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. COP26 was just as predictable as all those before, a two week holiday for politicians and all their chums. There’s always next year, eh?


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