AXC: Uncovering COP - What Do We Want To Happen At COP26?
Updated: Nov 1, 2021
We know what COP26 should be, but what will it actually be…?
Although politicians and leaders make much of what COP26 could achieve, the Cop26 Coalition warn that this could be ‘the most unjust COP ever’. There are significant question marks over who will actually be attending: not only are there doubts over the presence of major polluting economies, such as China and Australia, but the promises that the UK and other governments made to help representatives of the Global South travel to Glasgow have failed to happen.
The reality is that poorer countries are already living with the desperate effects of climate change that is causing biodiversity loss and land damage and therefore human deprivation and destitution. It is vital that voices with this kind of experience are represented at COP26.
However, our country’s ‘hostile environment’ policy (which tries to dissuade migrants from coming to the UK through complex visa systems) together with Covid-19 vaccine inequality (rich countries have failed in their promises to provide vaccines to delegates from countries with low vaccine rates) will seriously limit how many delegates with alternative experiences and visions will be there to influence leaders of richer countries. We should all be concerned about this: whose voices will we actually hear?
What’s more, it is ‘western-style’ capitalist growth (stemming from the Industrial Revolution onwards) that has caused catastrophic rises in global temperatures: we need to let go of our economic models, and learn from communities indigenous to other parts of the globe about better ways to live gently, sustainably, peaceably on our shared planet. We should be cautious of the President, Alok Sharma’s, emphasis on ‘green growth’... that sounds like old-style economics in a shiny new green outfit… (In Greta Thunberg’s terms, ‘blah, blah, blah’.) Growth means ‘more, more, more, up, up, up’, which the planet simply can’t sustain; we need to change the direction to ‘round and round and round’. Reuse, repair, recycle needs to be our present and future, circular economies – such as ours at ApparelXChange – must become the norm.
So… what do we do? We get involved. COP26 shouldn’t only be about people who already have power and influence in the world.. it should be about new voices, young people, marginalised folk, climate dreamers…. We need to be inspired by Greta Thunberg’s reminder, ‘we no longer let the people in power decide what hope is… hope always comes from the people’. There are ways to bring our voices together – and this is where COP26 will be good… it is putting climate change on the table, making it a talking point. We can show Glasgow as a city that cares.
To begin with… sign up for Climate Fringe updates: they will help you make a difference. Check out the COP26 Coalition’s site: they are doing all they can to make unheard voices sound out. Make a note in your diary for the Global Day of Action on November 6th: this is when ordinary people and caring organisations will gather together to start a People’s Summit for Climate Justice from the 7th-10th November. COP26 won’t just be a ‘conference of the parties’.. it can be a conglomeration of the people!