It's Depressing. I Get It.
The clans are on the move. They're heading for Glasgow. Brace yourselves. You're about to be COPped.
Ordinarily I'd be posting a lot about the upcoming COP26 climate summit that opens in early November, this year in Glasgow. It's not like there's any shortage of materials, new reports, dire warnings, etc. It's just that this year the tone is discernably different, with a more urgent and apocalyptic sense that's, frankly, depressing. They're not pulling punches.
I watched a guy, Rupert Read, some variety of environmental philosopher, addressing an assembly of Cambridge university students. He described the climate crisis as a "here & now" emergency. Then he said that a good many of them could not expect to enjoy old age. "I fear for you. I fear some of you are unlikely to grow old." Dr. Read conveniently sums up his dire prescription in the first few minutes of this address.
YouTube is flooded with interviews of various wonks posted by outfits such as Britain's Extinction Rebellion that continue with this theme. Then there's Canada's homegrown Cassandra and climate geek, Paul Beckwith of Ottawa University.
There was a time, just a few years ago, when the doom merchants, guys like Guy McPhereson (Nature Bats Last), could be considered a fringe element. Well, he's got a lot of company now.
Increasingly they're calling these annual COP climate summits a scam, pointing out that, after 26 of them, more than a quarter century, of earnest thoughts and promises, emissions are still going up. It's been a load of hot air, empty promises, meaningless commitments far into the future. Some come right out and accuse the developed nations of using COPs to thwart action on the climate crisis.
What bothers me most is that I can't say these people are wrong. I can't say they're right but it sure feels like it.