Countdown to COP

By Andrew Adie

The Road to COP26 was never going to be entirely smooth and this week has seen some significant potholes emerging.

Queues at petrol pumps, panic buying and rising gas prices have on one hand made the case for electrification stronger (including seeing a spike in interest for EV cars) yet have also highlighted how dependant we are still on hydrocarbons and how angry we get when we’re denied our fix.

It highlights that the core public requirements for delivering decarbonisation (moving to EVs, driving less, adopting non-gas fired home heating, insulating homes) requires significant effort to win over the public and get buy-in if we’re to avoid protest and chaos.

Equally on the other side of the protest line, The Guardian has run a story reporting that climate activists are fearful that an ‘influx of officers’ from across the UK will indicate a ‘heavier-handed’ approach to managing protest at the Glasgow UN Conference.

Whether that is the case or not, its an early reminder that COP26 isn’t ‘just’ going to be a gathering of world leaders, diplomats and business people, its also going to see protest and activist groups from across the world converging to organise spectacular stunts and picture-ready protests. The G7 Summit at Carbis Bay gives just a hint at what’s to come.

On a less confrontational level, Pope Francis and 40 religious leaders have presented Alok Sharma with an appeal calling for world leaders to address the climate crisis and deliver on the Paris Agreement Commitments. Further ramping pressure on the world’s politicians, who are already engaged in a frantic diplomatic battle to agree carbon reductions that will avoid catastrophic global warming.

It’s going to get lively in the weeks ahead.