The Guardian view on climate secrets: leaked documents reveal rising stakes

The Guardian view on climate secrets: leaked documents reveal rising stakes

Lobbying on behalf of fossil fuels should surprise no one. But the world must follow the science

There should be no surprise about leaked documents showing governments lobbying hard against clauses in an upcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that they regard as detrimental to their interests. Ever since the start of the UN process aimed at preventing unchecked global heating (known as Cop, short for Conference of the Parties), countries have sought to protect their own industries, economies and people – particularly the fossil fuel businesses that have powered capitalist development since the Industrial Revolution.

Last time the nations met, in Madrid in 2019, progress was scuppered by a wall of resistance with President Trump perched on top. The hope was that with Trump gone, and a US administration in place that recognises the need for action, such blockages could be overcome. This remains the aim in the run-up to the conference opening in Glasgow next weekend. Given the warnings from scientists, who are unequivocal about the dangers, there is no rational alternative than to persist with the attempt at global climate governance that the Cop represents. As the British Treasury acknowledged in a review published this week, the cost of inaction will be higher than the cost of action.

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