I’m not sure what’s worse at COP26, the private jets they all flew in on, the hot air they’re spouting, Greta Thunberg doing her usual spit the dummy routine, or Joe Biden living up to his nickname and falling asleep. I mean it’d be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.
UK PM Boris Johnson, having lectured them all on cutting down on travel emissions, then hopped back on his private jet to head back to London. He excused that hypocrisy as being about ‘time constraints’. We get it, you’re so busy saving the planet, you also need to pollute it as you come and go. Ironically, moments before Boris boarded his jet, he told a roundtable of leaders that, “When it comes to tackling climate change, words without action, without deeds, are absolutely pointless.”
Then there’s Sleepy Joe. He dozed off during the first few speeches, again showing us that world leaders are really only interested in talk fests if they’re stimulating and perhaps climate ‘blah blah’ as Greta puts it, just isn’t that scintillating. Which leads me to the teenage activist herself, more celebrity pin-up with expletive rants these days than silent protestor.
She did not mince words as she delivered what was described by the press as a “foul mouthed tirade”, denouncing world leaders for failing to act. She said: 'No more blah blah blah, no more whatever the f*** they are doing inside there'. What a delight she is.
Good to see her protests are evolving from shouting at people to now include swearing at them as well.
They’ve got high hopes for this summit – I mean don’t we all? Wouldn’t it be great to see something tangible come out of the talk fest. This summit is, they say, “poised to be one of the most consequential climate events since the negotiation of the Paris Agreement in 2015.” Organisers are looking for “whole economy transformations.”
But in the bid to build a more sustainable, resilient and zero-carbon future, you need to be taken seriously. And I’m just not sure you’re doing that by whizzing around on private jets, swearing at world leaders for being a waste of time and, in Joe Biden’s case, falling asleep.
Luckily the Queen was beamed in to give a bit of gravitas and deliver a few stern words about aiming for statesmanship over politics. It is all politics though, isn’t it? And the thing I find disingenuous about so much of left-serving politics these days is the champagne socialism aspect of it, exemplified in so many ways here, but also in our own backyard. I mean James Shaw’s going up with an entourage, I’m not sure why he needs the reported 14 people to go up there with him, that’s quite the junket.
To get real traction on anything, anywhere, politicians actually have to do more than just talk. They have to be authentic and they have to have their actions match their words. Staying awake also helps.
So with another week of COP26 still to unfold, let’s hope we see something legit come out of it, rather than just more hot air.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
Breaking Views brings you expert commentary on topical political and policy issues. The views expressed are those of the author alone. The blog is administered by the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, an independent public policy think tank at NZCPR.com - register for the free weekly NZCPR newsletterHERE.