Good COP/Bad COP

·2-min read
 (West End Final)
(West End Final)

In recent years, when the Labour Party has faced an existential crisis — see 2014 Scottish independence referendum or 2015 leadership election — it has hurriedly pushed the button labelled ‘deploy Gordon’.

The former Prime Minister then makes an intervention — usually an impassioned speech which largely involves hand gestures that make it look like he’s repeatedly picking up boxes and placing them down elsewhere. No, really.

Today, Britain deployed David. 95-year-old David Attenborough delivered a moving presentation to delegates of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, which included a powerful graphic illustrating the changes in the concentration of carbon in our atmosphere.

He said: “If working apart, we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet, surely working together, we are powerful enough to save it.”

That voice... you can watch his speech here.

There were also speeches by Prince Charles, Boris Johnson and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, but perhaps the other most striking moment of the day so far came from Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados.

She noted that while central banks have doled out $25 trillion of quantitative easing since 2008 (that includes $9 trillion since the start of the pandemic), rich nations are not doing more to combat climate change.

For the sake of brevity, if you want to know more about the yawning chasm that still remains between Boris Johnson’s Churchillian rhetoric “one minute to midnight” and hard policy (cuts to domestic aviation tax and leaving a new coal mine up to planning authorities), check out our leader column.

In the comment pages, where is everybody? Philip Collins explores how our country’s workers went missing. Lib Dem leader and former Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey predicts that it is China that will dictate the success of COP26.

Meanwhile, Simon English reflects on the downfall of accident-prone Barclays CEO Jes Staley, who has stepped down following an investigation into his links to Jeffrey Epstein.

And finally, Spurs have sacked their manager Nuno Espirito Santo and are in advanced talks with former Chelsea and Inter boss Antonio Conte. Perhaps nature is healing after all.

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