The Green Liberal Democrat COP26 Diary - Prologue
By Keith Melton
Prologue - 31st October 2021
Hello. I am writing this on Sunday 31st October, watching the opening ceremony. I am calling today`s entry into our Diary the Prologue, so that Day 1 will be on the 1st November, otherwise it could become really confusing!
So, after much fanfare, the 26th Conference of the Parties - COP26 - is starting. The United Nations Climate Change Conference. Welcoming delegates from many countries travelling huge distances to be here, to bring about change which must be transformative. Setting limits established at the Paris meeting of 2015, the Spanish President of the previous conference making claims of what has already been done… it all sounds very positive.
But my mind drifts to messages on Facebook this morning from many who are not impressed with what has actually happened. Greta Thunberg and her young friends are right - this conference must progress to ACTION NOW - "…not next year, not next month, but now…"
The former President, Carolina, has now proposed "His Excellency, Mr Alok Sharma," to be elected "by acclamation" so he walks from his seat near the back of the audience onto the stage - hugs the former president before she puts her mask on and shakes a few hands, now stands for pictures and the new team take their seats on the platform. And, so it begins.
There may be other entries to the Diary from me or others during the day. Keep watching and reading.
Keith Melton, Chair of Green Liberal Democrats
.... Just as I was putting this onto the GLD website I was still listening to Alok Sharma and, true to his Tory persona he called for Green Growth as one of the outcomes of the Conference. I sighed. We need to get away from an assumption of GROWTH - we live on a finite planet. Continuous growth is not feasible, and certainly not green!
As this is a diary, I thought I would add an update towards the end of the day. As I am typing I am also listening to the Friends of the Earth meeting. (VoD here) They are being very critical of the "shambolic" arrangements for this COP - more below.
Mostly I have been making preparations to bring our caravan to Glasgow, but I have also had chance to listen to some of the conference sessions (as I was ironing my shirts!) Some of the sessions have simply been formal agenda setting and announcement of meetings of various sub-committees.
The FoE position is that the notion of Net Zero by 2050 is untenable as interpreted by the "Global North" because it seems all to be about Offsetting and the ability for multinationals to escape their obligations by supporting them in spending suspect money, claiming supposed offsetting by "protecting" forests from being cut down. In FACT we need to protect such forests which are in danger AND also to quickly reduce Fossil Fuel use.
Not unsurprisingly we have heard quite a bit, today, about the hypocrisy of the UK Government in claiming World Leadership in Climate Change but still going ahead with the CAMBO oilfield licences. Complaints in the FoE meeting agreeing with a French journalist asking if it was the Whitest, least diverse COP we have ever had. The blame has been on the poor logistics associated with the coronavirus and the very late decisions about red list countries not needing to quarantine. A lot of delegates have decided at very short notice that they could NOT manage to get to Glasgow.
See you again tomorrow.
PS - if you're searching for potentially useful UNFCC documents they are here... https://unfccc.int/documents?search2=&search3=&page=%2C%2C1