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COP26 - why not hold it virtually asks Martin Horwood

March 6, 2021 7:36 PM
By Martin Horwood in GLD Challenge magazine 2020-21

GLD President
Martin Horwood
Councillor and ex-MEP

The 26th Conference Of the Parties to the UN climate change process (COP26) will gather in Glasgow in November to scrutinise progress on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), hosted by a British government whose own record is pretty wobbly.

And if thousands of attendees can cast off their masks and fly there in person, no doubt the media will gleefully calculate their carbon footprint and ask why it couldn't all be done on Zoom (or Hopin, or Teams, or Webex or.. etc etc ad infinitum)?

And they'll be right.

Autumn Lib Dem conference on Hopin was a revelation to me - not least our own fringe meeting featuring a remote but brilliant Jane Goodall.

Why did we ever think we had to confine ourselves to speakers who could make it to some wintry seaside resort?

If we revert to business as usual post-Covid, it'll be a missed opportunity to come back better, smarter and greener.

What can we do about this?
Well, start locally.
Council elections really are happening this May and, despite the Orbánesque attempt to ban Focus, we can take a strongly green message to voters that we're really going to do things differently now.

At least the pandemic taught us just how radical we can be in response to a crisis if we put our minds to it.

In my own patch, the Lib Dems have a dynamic new cabinet member with a brief to tackle climate change (see Max's article in this Challenge) .

He's not about to let us stop at a climate emergency motion full of fine words. He wants the whole town, not just the council, signed up to net zero commitments.

Our very own NDC-equivalent! If we could do it for Covid, we can do it for the climate. Stop business as usual. Move from words to action. COP26 take note. Martin Horwood GLD Honorary President