Everywhere I turn there are COP stories. Some of these are gloom-filled news items about President X not turning up, or Prime Minister Y. Others are about the likelihood of the commitments / promises / pledges / etc made within the Nationally Determined Contributions – NDCs – not being enough to keep Earth heating below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Well of course they won't be. I gave up on 1.5 degrees in 2015. But what about 2.0 degrees? Will we be on track for that? Probably not. Let's not be tempted just to blame China and Russia.
Other stories relate to strikes in Glasgow by bin-men (aka bin-operatives) and others sensing an opportunity such as the railway workers. Lawyers, too, seem to be saying that they'll not be co-operating with the special courts set up to deal with public disorder offences from the zillions of protesters expected. These "forces of anarchy" were so well described by (ex-Major) Jimmy Anderson in the Reggie Perrin series that they need no further explication here.
A worry has to be about the way that all these meeting are organised is that protests just get in the way. It's a distractive sideshow to the main event. Some are intent on getting in the way though. XR in particular whose mission it seems is to disrupt the city to "highlight the problems". What self indulgence. The 10,000 police on the streets will likely be busy, as will the bars.
Then there are the psychologically disturbed – Insult Britain I think they're called – who take a warped pleasure in gluing their hands to roads and sitting Buddah-like in front of ambulances and people driving to see their dying relatives. They're going to be there, it seems, doing more sitting. They should try coming to the village where I live and see what happens. I suggest blocking the road outside the pub.
Happier news is that if I went to Glasgow by my private jet (currently lying idle) I could park it for free at Prestwick airport thanks to generous Scottish government subsidies and incentives.
Most of the stories I read, of course, relate to educational events and activities in and around the COP. That's because I spend far too much time looking at this sort of thing when I could be reading mind-expanding literature or spending more time "in nature" . It's all very impressive I must say, but I do wonder what it's going to achieve. No head of state is going to change their minds about their inadequate NDC, of course, but educational COP action isn't really about that. Maybe it's more about hearts than minds. Raising awareness, influencing values and attitudes, raising consciousness, and stimulating conscience; that sort of thing. Let it be said, though, that there are lots of Brownie points to be had by being (and being seen) at this COP and we shouldn't underestimate that as a driver for organisations. Very little, if any, educational effort will directly help address the issues that the COP is really all about. How could it?
But I sense an optimism that the DfE will be making a (biggish) policy announcement or two around climate education in England. These will have to be substantial to satisfy the pent-up demand and growing expectation. The DfE strategy launch by the Secretary of State takes place on Sat 06 November. More details when available.