AsI write this, I’m watching the opening ceremony of the COP26 conference, though the event will be over by the time the issue arrives on shelves and through subscriber letterboxes.
Generally, my thoughts on most events like this align heavily with what Her Majesty the Queen was heard to say on mic a few weeks before the event; that it’s a gathering of world leaders who “talk, but they don’t do.” It will be curious to see how many commitments are made at the conference which must be honoured before the politicians signing them leave office.
Every time a smirking politician announces with fanfare that they are ‘committed’ to getting something done ‘by 2050,’ I groan and roll my eyes. Knowing that the payoff might finally arrive when I’m in my 60s and starting to think about retiring is not going to impress me.
Prime minister Boris Johnson used doomsday clock rhetoric, stating that the climate is at “one minute to midnight.”
His was one of many speeches opening the conference, which also featured several other prime ministers, the Prince of Wales and Sir David Attenborough. If the calibre of the opening speeches themselves had an impact on climate change, we would have nothing to worry about, but talk is cheap. When I was first taught about climate change in primary school, the internet was something most people were unaware of, mobile phones were the size of walkie-talkies and zero emission buses were virtually unheard of. At the time, I assumed older and wiser people than myself would have solved the problem by the time I had grown up.