An exploration of the highs and lows of COP26 following two weeks in Glasgow covering mountain environments, outdoor industry issues, youth activism, climate justice and how you can help...
Inside a plenary room named 'Cairn Gorm', delegates taking part in the COP26 climate summit eventually came to an agreement — dubbed 'a fragile win' by some and a 'COP-out' or compromise by others — to end deforestation, cut methane emissions, phase-down coal, increase adaptation finance and commit to limit warming to 1.5 degrees by 2030. The meeting rooms named after iconic British peaks weren't the only mention of mountains at COP26; the issues faced by mountain environments and peoples were also addressed in detail at the conference and at a range of side events.
Great article Natalie. I wonder the mentality of climbers will change, will we stop celebrating Himalayan ascents or is it the end for Leo Houlding’s far flung adventures? I wonder how we will deal with the conflict of interests. It does not bode well to see the two biggest coal polluters not giving much of a damn.
It maybe an end of an era for widespread international mountaineering. I know many in the climbing community look towards off-setting trips/expeditions, but I understand there isn't enough suitable land globally to offset all projected emissions. So given the scarcity, not sure expeditions should be high up on the list.
Also listening to indigenous people at the COP describe how their land has been violently grabbed for conservation, it's clearly not the answer. There is nothing to say this injustice will not happen in places like Scotland, where increasingly large companies are buying up swathes of land to plant trees which bring little direct benefit to the communities living there.
I also think it's worth looking closer to home, ie. UK, EU, US governments for not giving much of damn, especially for people in the global south already experiencing the effects of the climate crisis. All 3 blocked climate finance and money to make up for existing loss and damage caused by the historical emissions of richer countries. But India got the blame, and our media ran with it, and people have bought into it.
India was just asking for equity. Instead of singling out coal for phase out, they called for all fossil fuels, including oil and gas to be phased out - which is what's needed. But again US, EU, UK, Aus and Canada heavily dependant on oil and gas, all blocked this, setting India and China up as the fall guys.
While this COP may have been seen by the 'great and good' in the west as a diplomatic success, tragically I think history will show it as huge failure by the richer nations to make any meaningful action, and increase the likelihood of catastrophic climate breakdown.
So it's up to us, the people to get organised and demand more radical action of our government's that's fair, or support/defend those who are demanding radical action. If it's not forthcoming, then governments need to be swept away and replaced.
> But India got the blame, and our media ran with it, and people have bought into it.
> If it's not forthcoming, then governments need to be swept away and replaced.
.....and this is the problem, much of the UK media is hand in hand with the useless government. It's difficult to sweep away a government when the media tell everyone its great.