If and when COP26 goes sideways, the political blame-shifting will begin. We’ve made four bingo cards to help you see likely excuses in advance.
For months Climate Emergency Manchester’s position on the COP26 spectacle now taking place in Glasgow has been clear and unchanging (though we will admit to a wobble on April 1st). As core group member Adam Peirce wrote in June:
“We as CEM do not and will not prioritise resources towards any initiative related to the global merry-go-round known as UN climate negotiations – we believe this sucks out time, energy, momentum and attention from local issues that have a much greater impact upon our day-to-day lives. Local sources of power and influence then continue to do very little as citizen scrutiny of their actions (of lack of) are diverted elsewhere. “
(Another, more intemperate member, has referred to “environmentalists’ gross dereliction of duty.“)
The COP has already failed in that it was supposed to be the point, five years after the Paris Agreement, when member states turned up with much stronger ambition to meet the increasingly distant 1.5 degrees target. It’s clear that hasn’t happened. So much of the rest is window-dressing, prancing and preening by national – and local – governments. As for Manchester City Council’s shameful display, see here.
More importantly, COPs have never served as the “rallying point”, the “movement-building opportunity” that activists keep saying they can and will act as. But yet we persist… (well, CEM doesn’t!).
The clue with COP 26 is in the name, or at least the number: this is our 26th turn on this rodeo. The moves are well known. The endless excuses and blame-shifting and distraction by rich nations’ politicians is predictable. The original aim of the UNFCCC treaty to avoid dangerous climate change has absolutely not been achieved. Technology transfer and adaptation funding have never been adequate.
In bidding to host COP26 the UK government wants to show the UK still “punches above its weight” diplomatically. Pressure will be on to declare it a success, and explain away any failures (blame shifting).
We do not endorse the excuses, we merely note that they will be made. We do not make light of the enormous suffering already evident for people of colour, the poor in rich countries and countless other species. Instead we recommend clarity and honesty about the failures over the last third of a century.
We recommend people read this recent article: “Three Decades of Climate Mitigation: Why Haven’t We Bent the Global Emissions Curve”
Like most people, we want COP 26 to be a success. But if and when COP26 goes sideways, the political blame-shifting will begin. Deflated hope can be extremely demoralising. We want people to be ready for that. Everyone who cares about the climate emergency will need help to get back up off the floor. Hence, bingo.
For a different tonic to the COP 26 mood, come along to our social on Saturday 6th November, from 5pm at the Sandbar (120 Grosvenor St). We promise NOT to play a game of blame-shift bingo with you. We will, however, introduce you to other people who want to see real action in Manchester, answer your questions if we can, and see if there’s some meaningful activism suitable to your skills and interests.