Cash, coal, cars, trees… and choreography: how Britain kept Cop26 alive

Cash, coal, cars, trees… and choreography: how Britain kept Cop26 alive

High-profile initiatives were planned for the crucial summit. But as it went on, the lack of engagement with the toughest issues started to tell

“Cash, coal, cars and trees” to keep the world to 1.5 degrees – that was the catchy mantra coined by Boris Johnson’s spokesperson before the Cop26 conference, summarising the UK’s strategy of attacking the climate crisis on several fronts, to reverse the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and stave off climate breakdown.

That push was expressed in a carefully orchestrated string of initiatives covering those four key elements, and a few more, spread across the two weeks of the conference. The choreography was a key part of the UK’s plan: the Cop talks are dominated by backroom technical discussions over the fine details of the Paris agreement. Slow-moving and impenetrable to outsiders, these can give the (correct) impression of stalling and delay in the face of a global crisis.

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