At present it is difficult to watch the news, or pick up a newspaper without coming across a mention of COP 26, but I had a phone call from a local resident recently asking me if I could explain what it is about. COP in this context, stands for “Conference of the Parties” and the 26 is the 26th time that the countries who were signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was signed in 1994 have met. The conference, which will bring together world leaders, will be taking place in Glasgow, between 31st October and 12th November. Most people now recognise the challenges that the changes in our climate present. In addition to hearing about the very real effect around our world in terms of fires; drought; floods and rising sea levels, excellent programmes by David Attenborough and the Earthshot series have helped our understanding of the urgency to address this crisis. The question is “what to do about it?”
Back in 2015, COP 21 met in Paris and 195 world leaders agreed on a set of objectives, key among which was to “try to limit global temperature increases to below 1.5 degrees”. The actions that are required in order to achieve this will be central to the COP 26 discussions. Simply more talking will not be enough; we have the right to expect world leaders to take this opportunity to agree on collective action. To this end rallies will be taking place around the world to demonstrate the importance of this issue. I am often asked whether such rallies make any difference? I believe that peaceful and reasonable demonstrations to highlight the concerns that citizens have can only help to focus the minds of international politicians, which is why I will be joining the rally at Bankers Corner in Terminus Road at 12.00 on the 6th November. I know that it sounds dramatic, but the future of the planet really is at stake.
The organisers of Eastbourne’s Neighbourhood Watch scheme came to see me this week and explained that since the Covid lockdown, they have been struggling to recruit members. They are especially trying to find people willing to take on the role of ward coordinators. If you are interested in knowing more and possibly getting involved in keeping an eye on your local area, I know that they would like to hear from you. They can be contacted via their website http://www.enwa.org.uk/ward.html