Cop26 leaders blame individuals, while supporting a far more destructive system | Stephen Reicher

Cop26 leaders blame individuals, while supporting a far more destructive system | Stephen Reicher

It suits governments to lecture us on our consumption, but they need to offer systemic change if we are to tackle the climate crisis

  • Stephen Reicher is a member of the Sage subcommittee advising on behavioural science

The protesters gathered in Glasgow for Cop26 are a diverse group – at the demonstration on Saturday I watched everybody file past – from international socialists to Scottish nationalists, healthcare workers to striking refuse workers, from indigenous activists at the very front to cycling enthusiasts at the very back.

But while the groups were all very different, I was struck by the commonality of their message: they all recognise that we cannot solve the climate crisis through the same means that created it. Whether that is the extractive industries destroying indigenous lands, or the carbon-hungry transport systems that crowd out cyclists.

Stephen Reicher is a member of the Sage subcommittee advising on behavioural science. He is a professor of psychology at the University of St Andrews, a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and an authority on crowd psychology

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