Glasgow City Council bans polluters from public spaces during COP26
Thanks to Glasgow
The critical UN sponsored global climate talks known as the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP 26) take place in Glasgow Scotland in late October and early November 2021. These talks are directly linked to the COP talks in Paris, in 2015, where countries committed to increasing their pledges to reduce global warming by the 26th COP.
At the COP talks, there are formal negotiations between governmental delegates in attempts to arrive at a consensus on how to move forward on tackling climate breakdown. Any formal agreement or action has to be adopted by this body. At the same time, there are meetings inside the COP event organised by delegations from governmental departments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Finally, there are thousands of representatives of civil society organisations and other interested entities from across the world who will stage meetings, talks, demonstrations, protests and possibly direct action to draw attention to climate issues and what is happening inside the COP. This fringe action mostly takes place outside formal UN spaces, and it has often functioned as the annual meeting of the global climate movement.
Then there are, as always, the giant, heavily-funded fossil fuel companies and other big polluters who tend to get free reign to lobby openly and behind closed doors in the side events and corridors of the COP. The lobbying is intended to water down any policy decisions that might infringe on the economic interests of fossil fuel companies.
Since these companies have been the main drivers of climate breakdown, there has always been a significant disconnect between their dark presence and the lofty goals and objective of the COP talks . They are shadows that block out the sunshine that otherwise could penetrate the talks.
The host for the COP 26 is the UK government, with Glasgow serving as the local host for the events around the COP 26.
In an unprecedented action, the Glasgow City Council passed a resolution banning polluting companies from public venues under the City’s control during the COP 26. It is the first example of a host city counteracting the presence of particular vested interests while the talks take place. The motion requires that the Council: “will take steps to ensure that venues and community spaces either owned or operated by the Council are not used for the benefit of those who deny, ignore or wilfully contribute to catastrophic climate change, for the duration of COP26.”
Supporters of the resolution reasoned that it made no sense to allow those who continue to profit from climate breakdown be given any access to try to perpetuate those profits at the expense of the people most affected by the adverse impacts of that breakdown.
To implement the ban, the Council has produced criteria for identifying the climate culprits.
No one is deceived that this ban will stop the monied lobbyists for the fossil fuel interests from doing what they do behind closed doors, and in back alleys. But they will be curtailed from doing it in public spaces. Just as the talks are intended to protect our natural resources from the pollution by fossil fuels, the ban is there to protect our public spaces against the verbal pollution from lobbyists.
One article characterized those subject to the ban as ”climate laggards.” Perhaps the next step is to consider banning those countries that remain “climate laggards” from participating in further talks.
Glasgow Calls Out Polluters, COP26: What’s at Stake? www.gcop.scot/cop26-whats-at-stake/Glasgow
Brendan Montague, “Polluters banned from COP26 public venues,” Ecologist (20 August 2021). bit.ly/3DgIcIU
Sarah George, “Climate laggards to be banned from booking Glasgow’s public venues for COP26,” edie (20 August 2021). bit.ly/3zgDIj5