Dubai dog’s dinner is just another global Cop-Out

World of Politics with Harry McGee

I have been to two COP conferences, one in Copenhagen in 2009, the other in Paris in 2015. The first was COP 15, the second was COP 21. The one being held in the United Arab Emirates this week is COP 28.

I first thought of it in the following terms in 2009, fourteen years ago and still think of it today. Cop-out then. Cop-out now.

As Cara Augustenborg, the climate scientist wrote, this week of COP 28. “Holding COP28 in the United Arab Emirates is like hosting a Narcotics Anonymous meeting at a drug dealer’s house. Fossil fuel is the narcotic to which all countries present at the UN summit are addicted and Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, president of this year’s negotiations, is a top international dealer. The likelihood of taking a step toward breaking our fossil fuel addiction at a meeting in Dubai is tiny.”

The question she posed is why attend?

Why attend indeed? Or put in another way, what has changed since the first ever COP, COP 1, in Berlin Germany in 1995.

COP actually stands for “Conference of the Parties” and its basis is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Berlin conference ended like countless others in subsequent years, with some goals and aspirations but no agreement on specific targets, behavioural change to pathways.

And it has gone on ever since. The big powers fiddle while the world burns.

What do I remember about Copenhagen? Like all these conferences, it was held in a massive space on the outskirts of the city with 193 countries represented.

There were also hundreds of NGOs, corporations, lobbyists, and industry personnel. The Berta complex was designed to hold 15,000. Instead there were 45,000. It featured all the dramatic stuff too including walk-outs and symbolic protests and gimmicks.

Pictured: World Heads of State pose for a group photo at Al Wasl during COP28 in Dubai.

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