COP a load of this nonsense

| 1st December 2021 |
Watch Jonathan Pie's exclusive inside investigation of COP26 now only with The Ecologist.

It's just puff - dust.

Climate change does't get sexier than COP26. Greta is here. Obama is here. Not that I'm saying Greta is sexy. Or Obama - well Obama is. In any case, I've made this cutting edge documentary so you can see for yourselves what everyone is really thinking.

What is climate change, you ask? Cars burn oil, guff CO2 out of their a-holes, planet heats up, ice caps melt, sea-levels rise, Bangladesh drowns. The end. Yes. There will be some flooding in the UK. But only the nice bits. Posh people with converted basements as games rooms. So it's not going to effect me much. And COP26 is supposed to tell us whether we can keep within 1.5oC of warming, as set down in the Paris Accord at the end of COP21 six years ago.

In the midst of the conference I tracked down David Miliband, the shadow president of COP26 and fan of bacon sandwiches. He told me: "We've got to halve global emissions this decade. Even Paris was a great step forward but also didn't do enough either...the pledges from individual countries added up to three degrees of warming."

Fossil fuel

He went on to say: "The world is moving, it's just not with nothing like the sense of urgency or emergency that is required. Two years ago Boris Johnson should have said the first thing we have to do well in advance of this summit is deliver the promise made in Copenhagen of $100 billion in finance for developing countries. The fact that in the final hours we are still arguing about this blasted $100 billion shows that we have not done the work."

What Boris Johnson has also been saying is the deforestation pledge is not legally binding and so it is the consumer that will be putting pressure on businesses to make sure they meet their business pledges. That's not right. It's not up to me to write a strongly worded email to Tesco Metro to ask them to stop making products with palm oil from the former Brazilian rainforest. So is it about consumers, then?

I found George Monbiot, the environmental campaigner and journalist, skulking in the last chance saloon, told me: "We're missing the bigger picture. We're facing systematic environmental collapse here. The collapse of our life support systems. Everything. Everything you love, everything you hate, everything you fear. All your ambitions. It's just puff - dust."

Diplomacy

He went on. "It's being caused by these massive systemic forces, the economic and political forces, by the fossil fuel industry, the banks. The way governments operate. Here we are responding to this thing, the biggest challenge we are ever likely to face by saying, yes - let's change these cotton buds.

"If the planetary system flips as it has done before in the past when it has been pushed by greenhouse gasses too far as with previous mass extinctions - then yes, if you are alive then it is almost certain to kill you. If things don't change, drastically and suddenly I will see it. I'm 58 and I think I'll see it."

Caroline Lucas, still Britain's only Green Party MP, said Boris "has completely failed. He should have been showing leadership by not going ahead with the oilfield at Cambo, and not cutting our aid budget by £4 billion a year. What kind of credibility and authority do we have in giving other countries lectures about not giving enough money."

What happened at COP26 could be described as a catastrophic failure of international diplomacy. We will continue to pollute our skies and oceans beyond the edge of extinction. And when it comes to fossil fuels business is booming. 

My thanks of course go to pioneering documentary filmmaker Franny Armstrong for making my COP26 film so soon after her hit Rivercide. And also guests George Monbiot, Ed Miliband, Caroline Lucas and Tom Walker without whom my life would not be possible.

This Author

Jonathan Pie is a broadcaster, YouTube sensation and fictional character. He tweets at @JonathanPieNews. 

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