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I attended COP 26... for 1 day

To represent Atlas, Andrea &  I went to COP 26 for one day. Here’s a recap of what COP is, why it matters, and some key takeaways:

ABOUT COP 26:

What’s COP26?

In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change compelled every country on earth to “avoid dangerous climate change”. There weren't a lot of details on how to do so, but since then countries met every year to “try” to do just that. 

Does it matter? 

Yes, our survival depends on it. This year, the aim is to keep the increase of temperature to 1.5C.

Will this happen?

  • Right now, many countries didn’t even bother to submit their climate action plans. With the ones that sent it, we are heading toward 2.7C. That’s BAD, like survival bad!
  • Even populist Boris Johnson said it’s “touch & go” whether any deal to adequately curb emission will take place. 

 You can read more about it here 

So why did we go?

  • It’s on us the people to push countries to do better, to behave more equitably and save our planet. It’s on us to push for tougher measures. To show up.
  • At Atlas, we also used this as an opportunity to create key connections & launch an important climate campaign to ban fossil fuel subsidies.  

However, there are a lot of absurdities happening around this climate conference.

  • For one, a huge lack of accessibility.  For eg, We could only stay one day at COP 26. Why? Well, accommodations in Glasgow (where COP26 is taking place) are CRAZY expensive, so we could only stay one day, and we are among the very privileged ones. We slept in Edinburgh the day before and took the 5 am train, and the last train back to London.
  • The communication is a mess. I have been receiving over 4 emails a day with changes. For eg, less than a week ago I was told that on Monday we can only collect our badges to get in from 2 pm onward (with big queues expected)… it means we lose over half of the one day when we are there, with a last-minute announcement.
  • COP didn’t learn from the pandemic to go fully digital: Some 25,000 people travel to Glasgow for it (yes including me, it’s a short train ride away). Many by long flights.



12 hours at COP 26:

Sooo we spent 12 hours in Glasgow.  We decided to use this opportunity to launch our campaign to #BanFossilFuelsSubsidies (take a minute and sign it), meet key partners & champions, understand better the behind the scenes of climate negotiations and come back without paying thousands of £ for the night.

This means we kicked off the day by meeting with some of our partners, like Senator Hanson Young, Kevin Mtai and Anita Soina; to discuss how this campaign would impact their country & prepare some communication material!  We also walked around with t-shirts for people to "scan us" and ban fossil fuel subsidies.

 

We are preparing some cool videos and material out of it, and will post them ASAP. 

Since we are not involved in the negotiations, I honestly don’t think that staying much longer would have been useful. We realized that a lot of people would just be hanging there for two weeks, with no clear aim, were not promoting a specific agenda nor participating in the negotiations. This raised the question for me of the real cost of such a conference: emission and money-wise. 

One of Atlas’ members, Pauline, will represent us there next week and I think her take will be extremely interesting as she will stay longer. For me: I got to see some awesome people trying to do their best, and hoping that after a disastrous G20 summit we finally get the global leadership we deserve, and radical climate action to save the planet.

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