Floods, fires and droughts show the global urgency. But the prospects are not looking good for the COP26 conference
The global reality of the climate crisis could hardly be more stark. A common theme is clear, from western Germany, where about 200 people perished in floods, to Henan province in central China, where at least 50 have died and about 400,000 have been evacuated after overwhelming downpours, to western Canada and the US, where a blistering set of heatwaves has provided the tinder for wildfires on a growing scale, through to the Middle East, where drought threatens communities from Algeria to Yemen, triggering unrest and regional disputes. On this planet there is no hiding place.
A hundred days now remain before the nations gather in Glasgow at the United Nations Cop26 climate conference on 31 October. More than 190 world leaders are expected. The UK government calls the summit the world’s last best chance. That is true. Yet words are cheaper than actions and sustained effort, especially when Boris Johnson is involved, and the last best chance is at serious risk of being lost. As things currently stand, the governments of the world, the UK included, are heading to Glasgow without having made the ambitious strategic decisions and collective sacrifices that might enable Cop26 to mark a genuine turning point that is needed in the battle to contain and reverse global heating.