Why the Cop26 summit is just a load of hot air

Though I’m sure some of the world leaders want to at least pretend to care about the environment (not all even want to even pretend) it seems clear that on the whole most of them couldn’t care less.

If they really cared then they would already have made the necessary changes. Incredible things can happen overnight as we saw when everything came to a grinding halt when Covid arrived in a way I was always told was impossible whenever I mentioned how thousands die in Britain ever year due to air pollution.

I was only young but I remember in the early 1980’s knowing about global warming, the vanishing Aral Sea, cars and pollution making my asthma bad., royal family people hunting animals and until Covid, flying everywhere under the sun. Ozone layers, acid rain, richer countries ‘stealing’ water and resources of poorer nations. I vividly remember giving away all my pocket money to help save the seals from the north sea distemper. The destruction of rain forest was on our school curriculum back in the 1980’s.

You don’t need to be as slow off the mark as a 15 year old Greta, it was all common knowledge in 1982 as an 8 year old to myself and many of my classmates and it was widely reported on the television then as now. None of this is new and some people before cared then just as some do now, some pretend to care but don’t really (Hello lying adulterer Boris Johnson) and many more just don’t care at all especially if it means they would have to change their ways a little or make less money.

I’ve always eaten locally sourced foods. If you can’t grow it in England then I don’t eat it and I don’t want ‘summer’ food from thousands of miles away to eat in the winter for several reasons, not least because if you actually don’t drive and walk almost everywhere or use the bus, then you want something warm and filling. I can assure you not once have I walked round London all day in November and dreamed of avocado!

More than 400 private jets landed in the UK for the summit, carrying attendees from around the world. Perhaps they took their lead from fellow participant and climate envoy to America, John Kerry, whose family jet has taken a reported 16 trips this year alone, a case of “do as I say, not as I do” if ever there was one.

Look at the screenshot above, flying 22 miles after all ready flying thousands of miles. 22 miles is what I call a bit of a long walk.

Call me old-fashioned, but doesn’t it seem a bit rich for the world’s elite to be lecturing us athey’ve just clogged up the skies above Scotland with a fleet of multi-million pound Gulfstream jets larger than the air forces of some leading industrial nations?

President Joe Biden also made it to the event, after travelling 45 miles from Edinburgh in a 20-car motorcade that included the Cadillac “Beast” that he travels in, a 20,000lb armoured limousine that generates an estimated 8.75lb of carbon per mile driven – 10 times more than the average car. I haven’t even been in a car for 45 miles in over a year of travel combined and if you work out the carbon then that is more than I have used for travel for about 8 years. There were 20 cars for his entourage alone. I’m sure his car must have Zoom, if so perhaps he could have just dialled in from the Whitehouse driveway.

Major coal economies China, India, the US and Australia all refused to sign the pledge to phase out the use of fossil fuels. The USA is refusing sign a pledge to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars. The halfwit president of Brazil rather than fly half way around the planet to attend summit instead decided to go half way round the planet to go on holiday in Italy whilst China (as indeed has Russia) refused to attend the summit at all as it continues its two faced policy of insisting the rest of the world should show it greater respect for being a great nation whilst refusing any of the obligations that come with it.

Prince William has been making a big show of being environmentally friendly this week despite the fact he has three children. That of course is fine enough but its hard to argue going from two people in a family to five is the best way to save planetary resources!

But it was Amazon man Jeff Bezos who stole the show with his absurd hubris about how “we must all stand together to protect our world,” by which he really means you and I, not him or most of those that shared the stage with him. He is in charge of a company whose delivery vans, planes, and cardboard packaging create more CO2 emissions than some entire countries and who recently caused a huge scandal by the amount of perfectly good produce going straight from their huge warehouses to landfill sights.

As has become abundantly clear, the costs of going green will be disproportionately borne by the poorest in the form of higher energy bills, expensive heat pumps that are ill-equipped to warm many modern homes, and all manner of costly insulation for windows, walls and roofs.

Bezos’s eco-warrior act would be far more convincing if he concentrated on making Amazon a better custodian of the Earth’s resources.

This, after all, is a high-polluting shopping empire consisting of 400,000 drivers worldwide, 40,000 trucks, 30,000 vans, and a fleet of aircraft.

The company delivered 4.2bn parcels in America alone last year, up from 1.9bn the previous year, parcels that are largely made from cardboard and plastic, which contributes to deforestation and the pollution of the world’s oceans. 

And although Amazon has set a target of reaching net zero by 2040, its emissions actually jumped 20pc last year as a result of the pandemic-inspired online shopping boom.

Of course he shouldn’t be there at all as he is not in any government, it’s just more grandstanding, cronyism and corruption… the very things that have caused many of the problems in the first place.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being is usual bag of hot air talking about Green Business after 2 years in which he has left many entirely sustainable green businesses such as my own which is independently Green Certified whilst giving billions in support to some of the very worst offenders.

Ye Olde England Tours Independently Certified Green Tourism Award

As The Queen says, it’s irritating when people talk but don’t do… I’m not sure she intended to include her Grandson in this but even he is a drop in the ocean compared to our glorious global and corporate leaders. If they really wanted to act then they would have done so, this is after all COP 26 and not COP 1.

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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4 Responses to Why the Cop26 summit is just a load of hot air

  1. Ankur Mithal says:

    Like Nike says, “Just Do It.” Nobody needs to go nowhere to say what they are “going to do.”
    Frankly, my dear, “nobody” gives a damn.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. fgsjr2015 says:

    With the unprecedented man-made global-warming-related extreme weather events, wildfires and off-the-chart poor-air-quality advisories (etcetera), I wonder how many fossil-fuel industry CEOs and/or their beloved family members may also be caught in global-warming-related harm’s way?

    Assuming the CEOs are not sufficiently foolish to believe their descendants will somehow always evade the health repercussions related to their industry’s environmentally reckless decisions, I wonder whether the unlimited-profit objective/nature is somehow irresistible to those business people, including the willingness to simultaneously allow an already squeezed consumer base to continue so — or be squeezed even further? (It somewhat brings to mind the allegorical fox stung by the instinct-abiding scorpion while ferrying it across the river, leaving both to drown.)

    In regards to economics and big business morals/ethics, I can see corporate CEOs shrugging their shoulders and defensively saying that their job is to protect shareholders’ bottom-line interests. The shareholders, meanwhile, shrug their shoulders while defensively stating that they just collect the dividends and that the CEOs are the ones to make the moral and/or ethical decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

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