The COP26 Climate Conference will be in Glasgow next year. The UK is in trouble for having no woman in the top team and for talking to oil companies about being sponsors.
It’s not great when you remember that female COP President was sacked and replaced days before the launch. For me it boils down to whether the people selected are the best in terms of their skills. If we have 8 world leading male experts then ok if this is purely merit based. However we don’t, arguably only 1 or 2 of the delegation are experts. Why Matt Hancock is there (or has a job at at all) is a mystery. Replacing the original female president with less qualified people is wrong. Perhaps she was sacked so this could happen as she would definitely not have chosen the current group. Since this story broken, a woman has been added, Anne-Marie Trevelyan. Not someone who has a history of action on climate change and someone who is pro fracking. Whilst she may improve the gender balance marginally, she is a pretty awful choice.
BP, Shell and Equinor have had 10+ talks with government about this. Shell say they have no interest in being part of COP and we’re just involved in “normal” policy discussions.
BP want to highlight their renewable credentials and Equinor similarly as they point out they are building the world’s biggest wind farm currently. BP claim to have changed direction and be committed to becoming one of the world’s biggest renewable providers and are (sort of) British. The last COP had a “local” energy company sponsor too so there is a precedent for this and you can see what they are trying.
Energy companies need to be somewhat involved as they will ultimately build the renewables we need or stop the oil production. We are also reliant on them currently so they need to know what is happening. If policies are strong they will have to change.
The danger of course is they are buying influence. Unfortunately you have to think they are and should thus be avoided. They can’t vote on policies but could buy some good will I’m sure.
Ultimately, why does a conference run by government, set to make millions in travel and tourism, need a sponsor? Is it just greed and schmoozing?
It’s like the gender issue, why did the government even expose themselves to this criticism? Why not avoid these predictable incidents with just a little bit of thought?
It’s not a promising start.