As of today, COP is unashamedly part of the problem, not part of the solution.
The purpose of COP, supposedly, is to limit climate change. Its next president? The CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, responsible for increasing the UAEs oil production capacity by 25% in the next two years.
It’s Dracula and the bloodbank. An anti-vaxxer in charge of vaccine roll-out. A tobacco firm CEO leading a smoking cessation campaign. It’s putting the arsonist in charge of extinguishing the fire.
There’s been increasing discontent with COP, with its over-representation of business and old men, and under-representation of those creating change and leading solutions.
So what’s to do? Well, we can roll our eyes and shake our heads, sharing our disbelief within our echo chamber. Or we can refuse to be complicit in this ecocide.
Scientists, activists, leaders (genuine leaders, not the ones interested in protecting your profits and increasing your oil production) – it’s time to reject COP.
We can play along with the Orwellian charade, legitimising it and giving it credibility. Or we can reject it.
In December, UN chief Antonio Guterres announced a ‘no-nonsense’ climate summit for September 2023. He said:
“No exceptions. No compromises. There will be no room for back-sliders, greenwashers, blameshifters or repackaging of announcements from previous years”.
It’s almost as if he knew something about COP28 that we didn’t. Guterres has offered an alternative. Let’s embrace that.
But scientists, activists, change makers and leaders – we do this ‘no nonsense’ summit on our terms. We have solutions. We have the will. We have the expertise, we have the money. We have the leaders.
There is no place at the no-nonsense table for Business as Usual, for the same old story. For oil and gas, for Big Ag, for the self-proclaimed ‘business sustainability leaders’ who claim surprise when they’re called out for polluting our planet with their plastics and products.
So let’s reject their compromise, back-sliding, greenwashing and blameshifting.
Today is the tipping point when COP lost credibility.
But, like all tipping points, its implications and ripples will go much further.
The point that starts the mass realisation that the old guard don’t have the solutions we need; but that our Indigenous leaders, our youth, our scientists, our small, ethical businesses, and our communities do.
The point when we stop legitimising the old guard and their delays and doubts; and proudly embrace the voices – our voices – that have shown time and again that we not only have the solutions; we can implement them, too.
So let’s use those echo chambers. Let’s spread the word. Let’s have conversations.
COP is dead. But perhaps that’s the most important tipping point there is if we’re to solve this mess.
UAE names oil company chief to lead UN’s COP 28 climate talks
Photo by Eelco Böhtlingk on Unsplash