• The Low Down

COP26 another government failure

The mostly calm and reassuring narratives that came out of the recent COP26 climate summit unwittingly reveal why we currently find ourselves in this existential crisis. The public’s reliance on the mainstream media for understanding this issue will no doubt reinforce ideas about the need for measured action and cautious optimism when the science demands the opposite, a drastic and radical transformation of society.


In 2019, 11,000 climate scientists warned of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” and “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems. The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.” Whether to trust the 'histrionics' of scientists or the measured thoughts of journalists who work for billionaire corporations is up to the individual to decide.


For those paying close attention to history and the decades-long failures of governments, COP26 is more of the same. “notable achievements” and “progress” aside, the only question that really matters: why emissions continue to rise, remains unanswered/ unexplored. A slew of devastating reports in the last month alone, along with decades of government policy failures, offer strong hints of a different reality and lends credibility to the idea that what came out of COP26 was, as Greta Thunberg so eloquently put it, “Blah, Blah, Blah.”


The World Meteorological Organization’s bulletin days before the meetings began reads, “Greenhouse gas bulletin: Another year another record.” Last week we learnt that deforestation in the Amazon, driven by global demand for cheap beef, reached its highest level in over 15 years. And what are we to make of President Biden’s administration plan to auction off over 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas extraction (days after climate conference ended), the largest-ever sale of drilling leases in the Gulf.


When asked about hope in a recent interview, Thunberg opined, “I don’t find hope in people telling me everything will be fine, we are on the right path, we are making progress, when that, in fact, isn’t true. I find hope is being honest; hope is taking action and facing reality as it is, even though it may be very uncomfortable and scary sometimes”. Hope must be rooted in action and action in awareness. So If you’re looking for hope, hop on the climate justice express and enjoy the ride.


Vagner Casthillo lives in Wakefield.