COP 27

I’ve been following the COP27 meeting in Sharm el Sheikh from a distance. I didn’t want to follow the story too closely, being already prone to climate anxiety. I didn’t want to see the world’s most powerful people patting each other on the back and saying what a good job they were all doing to address the climate crisis.

Because they aren’t.

They could barely agree a package to address the impacts of climate change on the poorest and most vulnerable nations (e.g. all those small island nations that will cease to exist within our lifetime unless climate change is addressed).

What agreements were reached were Not Enough.

Alok Sharma, the COP26 President, summed up the failure to conserve warming to 1.5C far better than I could.

“We joined with many Parties to propose a number of measures that would have contributed to this. Emissions peaking before 2025, as the science tells us is necessary. Not in this text.

“Clear follow-through on the phase down of coal. Not in this text.

A clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels. Not in this text.

And the energy text, weakened, in the final minutes.”

He continued: “Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 degrees was weak. Unfortunately, it remains on life support. And all of us need to look ourselves in the mirror, and consider if we have fully risen to that challenge over the past two weeks.”

While you or I might feel guilty for buying vegetables wrapped in plastic, or having a coffee in a disposable instead of reusable cup, let’s remember that our small actions, while important, are drops in the ocean compared to what the combined weight of the world’s governments could achieve if they wanted to.

And to me it doesn’t look like they want to.

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