Cop26 – a tragedy in two acts where the rich nations knife poor countries in the back | John Vidal

Cop26 – a tragedy in two acts where the rich nations knife poor countries in the back  | John Vidal

Despite the fine words and supposed ambition, there is little time left to reach a meaningful finale

If Cop26 were to be staged, it would be as a political drama in two long acts. Act one would see the leaders of wealthy countries such as Britain, the US and Australia smiling broadly as they strut the Glasgow stage with their friends, wring their hands and manage the world’s expectations. Act two would see them knifing each other offstage and kicking poor countries hard before running away.

The climate crisis conference, now halfway through its second week, is well into act two and the final scenes are being rehearsed in late-night talks. In a dramatic early-morning move, Alok Sharma and the UK presidency acting as the protagonist, listened to countries and produced a seven page draft “non-paper” that sets the broad outline of the final agreement that it thinks it may be diplomatically possible to reach.

John Vidal is a former Guardian environment editor

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