• Vanessa Nakate. A Bigger Picture. Education and the Model U.N.

    Read Vanessa’s book in a day as soon as it arrived.

    Plan to write several blog posts about it, but was overtaken by events today.

    A young person I know was just about to set off for college when the bus didn’t turn up. Shortage of drivers due to Covid perhaps?

    So ended up telling them about my blog, becoming an activist (again) and having a discussion about keeping 1.5 alive.

    They are catching the train to college now. Good job since the college is doing a Model U.N. session on Global Warming. Keeping 1.5 alive…

    Needed to get up to date about why the Model U.N. exists and what it is for…

    Here is their website:

    Model UN Portal | UNA-UK

  • A bigger picture. Vanessa Nakate.

    Vanessa Nakate’s new book which arrived a few days ago.

  • John Ashton. Post COP26

    The best and most succinct speaker on what was or was not achieved in COP26 was, in my opinion John Ashton on the BBC Radio 4 today programme early this morning. He is a former U.K. Climate Change Envoy.

    It’s worth listening to. So I’ve transcribed it here:

    ‘Well, it is obviously a relief that a deal was landed…it’s a significant deal. It’s not a game-changer…although it could become one if we all get our act together over the next year…to say it is a game-changer now is a little hubristic…it seems to me…a lot depends on what the U.K. presidency does going forward…

    …I think it’s really important to start with two BUTS however…

    …if I burn your house down I have to make it right. That is natural justice, we are taught that as children. That’s what the frontline vulnerable countries effectively were saying…in Glasgow you saw how upset they were at the end…their anger was justified…and that needs to be sorted out really quickly. They have a legitimate grievance because the rich countries were putting their fingers in their ears and saying la, la, la in effect.

    So nothing is a higher priority over the next year under the U.K. presidency than getting that diplomacy moving forward…

    …a very good start for that for the U.K. would be to say in the next budget or announce NOW that in the next budget we are going to reverse the aid cut, because that would give us a diplomatic platform for that…

    Secondly, I’ve heard a lot of people of my generation saying now that this shows Greta Thunberg is wrong it’s not all blah, blah, blah…and I think they’re wrong actually…they say ‘look how much we’ve done’…

    …I think that’s the wrong response to Greta Thunberg and other inspirational activists like Vanessa Makete for example they say ‘look how far we’ve come’…

    Greta Thunberg can say:

    ‘But it’s taken you thirty years to get this far, that’s far too slow and look how far you’ve got to go now in much less time…’

    …and we should be saying in humility ‘O.K. how do we combine our experience with your moral authority to get the bus moving faster…?’

    TWO quick points on why it is significant…

    …the writing is now on the wall for coal, oil and gas…the cost of capital for those infrastructure investments is going to go up…

    Interviewer: ‘But is the writing really on the wall for those industries when China changed that crucial wording at the last minute to phasing down… ? Given that China is building a coal fired power station one every week?

    John continues:

    I think any wise theologian will tell you that when you face a life and death struggle the key thing, the hardest battle is to put a name to your adversary. We have done that…it has taken us thirty years to do that…is extraordinary but we have put a name to it…it is coal, it is oil, it’s gas…

    and that’s the biggest thing we still have to do…they (these industries) didn’t believe we were serious up until this point..but they had better believe it now, otherwise they are going to end up with a lot of stranded assets…

    …even in China and India that signal is going to get stronger, not weaker…

    Interviewer: And what about President of China’s own position do you think? We hear that he was very much involved in internal politics…? Defenders of him would say has very much a personal commitment to the environment…?

    John continues:

    …there is a lot of politics involved…what is going on in China at the moment…

    Just one other point about the process first…

    We are now in emergency session…we have said we are going to come back next year, implicitly now every year…with stronger plans and pledges…we have to man that very big responsibility for that U.K. presidency…

    It’s reasonable for China to say:

    ‘You can’t say to us that you are going to keep your lights on, but ours are going to go out…’

    But at the same time China can’t say to the most vulnerable countries:

    ‘We are going to cling to coal, even if it means you are going to go under the sea or whatever..’

    …And so really hard questions for China…China has made itself accountable by what it happened at the end in Glasgow…’

    Interviewer: Just one last quick point…You said the U.K. needs to reverse the cut to the aid budget. Anything else we should be doing?


    Yes. We should announce an urgent audit by the office for budget responsibility, independent of the Treasury into our own fossil fuel subsidies…where we’ve said they are going to be phased out globally…we want to put a plan on the table…to phase out ours…with a timetable…we need to no more coal…no more new oil fields…no more Heathrow expansion and climate change at the heart of our future trade deals…

    Six point plan.

  • Last night COP 26 the deal is nearly done.

    Headlines this morning. Last night for me was surreal. I had survived the pandemic thus far relatively intact. Aside from my teeth being neglected and with a throbbing tooth and an abcess due to my dentist being stretched, social distancing and a very small practice where they couldn’t see as many patients as they wanted to.

    So the few hours before my appointment at the local hospital to see the consultant who would eventually take my tooth out I watched the concluding sessions of COP 26 live in Glasgow from the United Nations website. Trying to understand what was going on there.

    As Carl Rogers said ‘The facts are friendly’. Trying to believe this and not to despair I got my brain into gear and listened to the interventions of around ten countries. Some delegates looked as if they would burst into tears at any moment. Some showed photographs on their phones of their children and grandchildren and said they couldn’t possibly walk out ’empty-handed’. That is without a measured and meaningful agreement that was unanimous. All of them thanked the delegates and COP 26 chair for all their hard work. Some pointed out that what we saw there at COP 26 was a fraction of the work done over hours, weeks and years previously. Perhaps lifetimes, I’m sure.

    I felt like it was all on a knife edge. Wished I had listened to the live feed before directly from the U.N. I might have understood better. This is though, the fractured jist of what I understood so far. Through the discomfort of a tooth abscess and whilst being grateful that I had a hospital appointment to tackle it, something which was more than likely lacking for many from the countries whose interventions I was listening to. Basic health care disrupted and ravaged by extremes of weather already and the pandemic in many places.

    The interventions from delegates I heard speaking included Tuvalu, Antigua and Barbuda, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Gabon, Bolivia, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Butan, Australia, Grenada, the U.S. the Maldives, Brasil, Turkey, Brasil and the Phillipines.

    All noteworthy and polished speakers, of course they have to be as everything they said was scrutinised immediately by the rest of the world in an instant in the live internet stream.

    Many speakers referred to needing to ‘get on the Glasgow train’ and to ‘keep 1.5 alive’.

    So the next year will be important and crucial as the ‘Glasgow train’ agreement will be bound for Egypt (COP27) in a year’s time. It will be a year as I understand it in the agreement that has been ratified today will need to be checked on by the general public and organisations alike, to give it the meaning it deserves and ensure that this voluntary agreement is acted on appropriately.

    The 1.5 refers to a minimum rise in temperature for the planet that is precautionary.

    My comments today seem ridiculously simplistic and basic. However I do believe that many of us struggle to understand the complexity of the issues at hand and so I hope in struggling to get my own head around this I may be of some albeit limited service to others who might be trying to do the same.

    My own commitment to myself and to this is that I aim to keep this blog going for a year. The time in which the ‘Glasgow train’ COP26 takes to arrive in Egypt COP27.

    Points that stood out for me in the interventions made by these countries out mentioned in note form here with the country delegate that said them. The comments are obviously selective and with my own bias:


    Urged all countries to ‘board the Glasgow train’.

    ‘We have embarked on the promise of the Glasgow train’.

    ‘Our response should not depend on politics…or (the prospect of) potential re-election’.

    ‘We thank friends…Glasgow ends today…work begins on 1.5’.


    We have a ‘package in front of us’. Acknowledged the immense work and effort that delegates had made getting to Glasgow, some delegates travelling for ‘up to five days’ to get to Glasgow.

    Referred to impact of Climate Change on ‘homes and cultures’ pointed out several aspects in the litigation section that are currently wanting as well as elements of ‘loss and damage’ mitigation that ‘aren’t there’.


    Referred to a ‘consensus’ that ‘needs to be supported’.

    But also that ‘compromises’ had been made in the areas of ‘loss and damage’.


    Referred to challenges of the task holding this work ‘in the middle of a pandemic’

    Asked the question: ‘Can we go back to our communities with nothing?’ Answered that was not an option.

    We cannot afford ‘no progress’.

    1.5 referred to as a ‘lifeline’. Questions about the need to look at fossil fuel subsidies again. Double financing for adaptation.

    Climate change already transforming physical environment.

    GABON – (West coast of Africa)

    Africa risks being ‘destabilised’ by climate change which is already ‘a matter of life and death’ for people on this continent.

    At the same time Africa at the forefront of mitigation measures with it’s ‘nature-based solutions’.

    Emphasised the ‘very significant’ but ‘nonetheless voluntary commitments of COP26’.

    Formulating a ‘collective goal on finance’, including mitigation, loss and damage.

    ‘Africa’s red line ‘ had already been crossed.


    Pointing out that a ‘moral commitment’ was needed.

    ‘The impossibility of ‘achieving 1.5 for developed countries by 2050’

    Due to developed countries continuing to use (more than their fair share) of the globe’s carbon budget.

    ‘They need to reduce emissions now’

    ‘It’s about the life of the people…education…enforcing commitment…in developed world’.

    ‘We refuse to get trapped in the carbon colonialism’.

    ‘Powerful and rich countries…still refusing…to provide financial support…need to address historical responsibilities’.


    We need to ‘raise ambition for adaptation’.


    What was on the table was a ‘possible package’


    Spoke of ‘outcomes of loss and damage’ in Himalayas, Peru, Chile, Columbia

    ‘Keep 1.5 alive’

    Appreciates efforts of chair and all staff to ‘take us over the (finish) line’ on this agreement.


    Referred to Climate Finance directly and ‘100 billion dollar goal’


    ‘the text on the table makes us all uncomfortable…but it should…(the process is) …difficult but necessary’.

    ‘Glasgow was not the destination’. Need to adopt text. ‘Failure is not an option’.

    ‘…continue to fight until the job is done’.


    We ‘can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good’ (meaning we must accept and ratify a joint agreement which reflects shared goal.

    ‘not everyone in public life gets to make decisions about life and death’ (but delegates are doing exactly that here.

    ‘keep 1.5 alive’


    Progress made is not ‘about the lack of science’. The science is there.

    It will be ‘too late for the Maldives’

    We have 98 months to half global emissions.

  • Vanessa Nakate on COP26 and Climate Finance

    Vanessa Nakte appeared on BBC Today programme yesterday. As a speaker, writer and activist she analysed and highlighted the importance of understanding Climate Finance and how it works.

    “We are at a place of commitment, a place of promises” she said.

    She explained the importance of Climate Finance, not least for vulnerable communities and countries at risk of or already experiencing extreme weather events. She explained as things stood yesterday, 100 billion had been promised to be given to vulnerable countries and their communities but that they were still waitng and that this had been delayed to 2022.

    Her words made it crystal clear how important Climate Finance is. A seperate fund for loss and damage and to protect communities through what is known as mitigation and adaptation.

    Uganda is heavily dependent on agriculture. I shall be reading her book and will continue to listen to her.

    As I write her website is temporarily offline. No doubt being updated with latest developments. One of her books is called “A Bigger Picture”.

    This blog is my commitment from where I’m standing Vanessa. Link to her book here:

    A Bigger Picture by Vanessa Nakate – 9781529075687 – Pan Macmillan

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