Cop26 could go down in history – just not the way the UK hoped

Rarely before has there been a summit where a result has run so much against both proceedings as a whole and all the best efforts of the organisers, says Mary Dejevsky

Friday 03 December 2021 10:15
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<p>Cop26 president Alok Sharma was close to tears on the final day of the summit </p>

Cop26 president Alok Sharma was close to tears on the final day of the summit

All right, so new Covid variants and Christmas parties (past and present) have an immediacy at this time of year that other concerns may lack. It is nonetheless striking, is it not, how fast and how completely the Glasgow climate change summit has sunk from view, given how totally the preparations and the proceedings dominated the news, not just here in the UK, but further afield?

Of course, that dominance was itself deceptive – it was always more appearance than reality, reflecting the host country’s ambition to project itself not just as an effective diplomatic force on climate change, but as Global Britain and “a force for good”, as the former foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, billed it. Nor is it quite true to say that it has vanished – in specialist climate circles and in the think tank world the assessments go on.

Still, the speed with which Cop26 has been consigned to oblivion, not least on its home turf, might suggest – as did some reporting at the time – that these goals were not entirely achieved.

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