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United Nations Climate Change Conference

COP26

It’s all about the title

This post started as a question. What does COP26 stand for? And why 26? Well, it started back in 1975 in Berlin with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the only thing I can find about that was, they agreed to meet up the following year in Switzerland. In Switzerland they rejected “harmonized policies” in favour of “flexibility”. This was the general pattern of what was to follow….

In 1997 it was off again, this time to Kyoto where the famous Kyoto Protocol was born and most countries agreed to legally binding reductions in greenhouse gasses to below 1990 levels by 2012. How did that go? Anyone?

Then it was off on the never-ending world tour, 98 Argentina, 99 Germany, 2000 Netherlands, 2001 back to Germany. These guys racked up the Air miles! To prove it they had a second meeting in 2001 in Morocco to get the winter sun. They did agree here on international emissions trading which goes something like, “to cut my emissions, I pay you to plant a tree. Whether you actually plant it or just cut it down later is not up to me…”

They it was back on the exhausting circuit, 2002 India, 2003 Italy in time for Christmas Shopping, 2004 back to Argentina and so forth, Kenya, Bali, Poland, Denmark, Mexico, South Africa, Qatar, Poland, Peru, Paris, Morocco, Germany, Poland, Spain and now finally SCOTLAND!! And in NOVEMBER!!

So, WHAT is COP? COP stands for “Conference of Parties”! Yes, I would never have guessed that either. Apparently, the man who writes the nametags couldn’t be bothered with “The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” so he just called it C.O.P.1, C.O.P.2 etc. I think he meant that to this lot life is one long party.

The BBC reporter Richard Black once called the delegates “climate tourists” . The 25,000 delegates and hangers-on certainly have done a lot of travelling in 26 years!

Certain countries still do not attend and even the Queen does not know who is coming to this one!

COP has never travelled to the USA, Russia, or China. Researching for this article I find no real agreements reached, no real targets met, and nothing yet politically binding.

So don’t think for a moment that COP 26 will be any different. Just words. Or as someone said Blah, Blah, Blah

I would love to hear your comments below on this “tongue in cheek” post and your thoughts on COP26.

Why is it important? What will be decided? What is YOUR view?

This must be a subject we all have an opinion on.

3 Comments

  • I am not optimistic about COP 26 delivering any breakthrough agreements and I don’t trust world leaders to deliver on any commitments they make there. The Climate Change Committee advised the UK Government it is way off course for meeting its own 2035 target, an important milestone for achieving its goal of net zero by 2050. That makes me pessimistic about Stroud’s goal of net zero by 2030 in spite of well-intentioned people working their hardest to get there.

    On the positive side, the belated publicity around COP 26 is doing something to raise awareness about climate change and some of the material appearing in the media is good. I don’t remember previous COPs getting anything like as much attention.

    Nevertheless, I suspect most people still have no concept of how much their lifestyle would have to change for the UK to become carbon neutral. The Government and the Opposition are naturally very squeamish about spelling it out.

    I want to believe that bottom-up pressure for action, especially from the young, and timely technological advances will ultimately make it possible to restrict warming to a level that avoids the worst consequences. Some days I do believe it, other days I’m glad I’ll only be around another two or three decades.

  • I couldn’t agree more with your rather cynical view of the COP meetings as a general opportunity for non-productive tourism.

    At a much lower level I experienced set of meetings with no known outcome, other than what seemed to be a travel opportunity for the delegates……..

    In my twenties I attended a meeting in Utrecht, of a group of computer manufacturers aiming for – or in most cases resisting – standardisation of communication protocols between computers.

    Although it was my first (and only) attendance it was clear that most of the attendees were regulars, attending on behalf of their companies at 6 monthly intervals.

    All very boring and sleepy, with no noticeable productive output, except for the last day when the next venue was discussed, and everyone perked up.

    Olivetti offered to host it in Florence, which was enthusiastically seconded, and received the first unanimous vote of the entire conference.

    Job done!

    John Priestley (sent by email)

  • The basic problem is that nearly everybody is in favour of preventing climate change, as long as it doesn’t have any major changes on their lifestyle and finances. As a domestic example, how many people are prepared to spend upwards of £10k ripping out their gas boilers and installing air or ground source heat pumps? If Biden’s proposed measures hurt the American public, Trump will get back in and cancel them all. We’ll all go to hell in a handcart.

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