Pre-dinner drinks

Paradox - a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition.

The COP26 meeting of international leaders in Scotland, has brought in over 400 private jets from around the world. Some of them had to drop off their very important passengers and then fly elsewhere in order to find somewhere to park. Meanwhile, the arrival of this diverse selection of planes has prompted the arrival of a selection of plane spotters. A group of four of these even drove through the night from London to catch this 'once in a lifetime' opportunity to document the variety of aircraft on the runway at Prestwick. No reduction in emissions so far.

I learned to my surprise today that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury used to work as an executive in the oil industry before deciding to be ordained as a result of a calling from God. He was quoted in 2013 as saying that senior bankers often go out of their way not to be given certain information so that they can plead ignorance. He went on to say that he himself might have behaved in the same way and likened naming and shaming  of individual bankers to the behaviour of a lynch mob. Seems like a rather overworked analogy to me. And just in the past couple of days he has had to issue an apology for saying that failure to act at the COP26 summit might be worse than leaders who ignored warnings about the Nazis. I can see where he was going with that but he could perhaps have chosen not to use that particular example, which never goes well for anyone. Undeterred however, when asked if climate change would be worse than allowing a genocide to happen, Mr Welby said: "It will allow a genocide on an infinitely greater scale".

Again I can see his point but the use of the word genocide, apart from being  entirely incorrect, serves only to shock and outrage those whose radars are finely tuned to any word or phrase to which they might be able to react with shock and outrage.

Boris Johnson has kicked off the summit by stating that the world is poised at one minute to midnight, David Attenborough has made an impassioned plea for action, and many other leaders are speaking in similar tones. Those who are there that is. A couple of the biggest are conspicuous by their absence. One gets the feeling that this really is pre-dinner drinks at the last chance saloon.

Meanwhile global atmospheric greenhouse gas levels are at an all time high and rising, and New Zealand is actively mining  coal, with plans, albeit heavily opposed, for new mines. New Zealand has pledged a 50% cut in emissions by 2030, but rather than tackle farming they're doing it with offsets overseas. We are paying other countries to plant trees to absorb carbon and then counting that a reduction in NZ emissions. That's a bit of a COP out isn't it?

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