As a first timer to the event, COP26 in Glasgow has, so-far, certainly been enlightening.
On one hand it has been a bit of a let-down. The Conference of Leaders over the first two days is pretty much sealed off from the other 30,000 delegates and, although there are plenty of monitors about the place to watch, the hubbub is such that a viewer watching at home, just about anywhere in the world (for me, home is 16,000km away in Sydney, Australia), probably has a better idea of what is going on at the pointy end. Some cynics may say “not much” but that would be unfair. Although the outcome of the Leaders’ Summit may not have been the touchdown that some would have liked, the ball has definitely advanced a long way and in the right direction.
It is important that we do not devalue the platform that it provides for those with, in the normal course of events, less of a say in world affairs. There were some wonderful speeches from developing countries and from smaller nations. For those of you interested in the arcane art of speechcraft I recommend to you the prose and delivery of the President of the Seychelles. It was a beautifully crafted effort.
The real value of the COP, it was quickly clear to me, was with the other 30,000 delegates. This seething, pulsating organism of humanity, in all its forms, is the real worth of this gathering. Everywhere you look there are people earnestly and passionately discussing ways to protect our collective environment. They are attending thousands of lectures and seminars, debating each other, questioning each other, doing deals, swapping contacts, making plans, making friends. And all with a certain frisson of joy that we can, again, do this in person and not online.
... to continue reading you must be subscribed