I Went to a Marvellous Conference of the Parties

The BBC, in a hard-hitting Question and Answer session with itself

asks: “Does a Climate Summit Need 25,000 People?” And replies to itself: “Yes it does,” because time zones and technological challenges make an online COP impossible for countries with limited resources. You can hardly expect the leader of some small island state threatened with disappearance in some obscure time zone to get up at some unearthly hour to plead for his share of those hundred billion dollars on Zoom, can you?

Well that accounts for the representatives of 150 countries, but what about the other 24,000 odd delegates? Who are they, anyway?

There’s nothing resembling a list of participants at the COP26 site, nor at the UNFCC site, so I googled “COP26” + “Provisional List of Participants,” and turned up a list of PLOPs (as they’re known in UN circles – really) for every COP except COP26. A link temptingly headlined “World Religious Leaders and Scientists Make pre-COP26 Appeal” turned out to date from 1992 – 29 years in advance. The combination of science and religion can clearly perform miracles of prevision unknown to General Circulation Models.

Both Google and Bing publish this message though, right after the PLOP for COP14:

People Also Ask: What was the background of the COP 26? When does the final list of participants come out? The official document containing the final list of participants will be issued on Friday, 13 December 2019.

followed by a link that doesn’t work.

Now, that date was the final day of COP25 in Madrid, so I suspect the provisional list they’re talking about is in fact the Madrid one, which can be found at COP 25_Provisional List of Participants.pdf – known to its friends as COP25PLOP – and very interesting it is, all 1,216 pages of it.

It starts with a list of official national delegations of course. I won’t bore you with all of them, but here are some that caught my eye.

Burundi sent 32 delegates including M. Fidèle Ndikumana, a Church of England Climatologist.
Cape Verde (pop. 480,000 ) sent 27 delegates, of whom 10 were from the Movimento Eco-Feminismo, including Mr Cleber Semedo, the Movimento’s Coordenador do Projecto EmpowerMen

The Maldives sent a modest 13 delegates, 9 of whom were from the Climate Change department of the Ministry of the Environment. This low key presence contrasts with their Copenhagen shenanigans, when they conducted a cabinet meeting in diving suits and chose Mark Lynas as a delegate. He subsequently published a scoop in the Guardian, revealing the confidential discussions with the Chinese, thereby convincing the Middle Empire that western diplomats were no more to be trusted now than Lord Macartney in the 18th century, thus setting back Chinese co-operation on CO2 reduction for decades, which will no doubt cause the deaths of millions of climate victims, according to all the best climate science estimates. Mark Lynas is now a professor at Cornell.

The Marshall Islands (population 58,000, with another 4,300 living in Springdale, Arkansas) on the other hand sent 28 delegates. Successively occupied by the Spanish, Germans, Japanese and Americans the Marshalls are best known for the presence of the Bikini atoll where the first of 67 American atomic bomb tests was conducted. They’re still waiting for the 2 billion dollars compensation promised by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal.

Judging by the names of their delegates, the Marshalls must take the prize for the most racially integrated state on earth. There were Ms Hilda Heine, President, Mr Carlsan Heine, Special Assistant to the President, Ms Angeline Heine-Reimers, Ms Wei Yu Hong, Ms Jane Ishiguro, Mr. Chowdury Jahan-Zeb Shams, Mr. Jahan-Zeb Chowdhury, Mr. Warwick Harris, Ms Doreen Debrum, Ms. Kathy Neien Jetnil Kijiner, Mr Clarence Samuel, and Ms Francesca Mingrone, assistant.

It’s always interesting to check the origins of delegates of small island states. For example while eight of the Kingdom of Tonga‘s 42 delegates came from Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications, others came from all over the place. For example David Sattler, Professor of Psychology, and Mr. Rhys Samuel Logan, Visual Journalist, were from Western Washington University; (Professor Sattler is an expert in post-traumatic stress and coping, or possibly COPing;) there were seven delegates from Yale University, and four from Climateworks Australia, while Ms Jacob and Mr Macfarlane were from Jacob & Macfarlane, architects.

But What about the NGOs? The term is interpreted very widely in COP language, since it includes universities and industrial and commercial organisations of all kinds. Thus, almost anyone who has a job of any kind can become a delegate by belonging to the right kind of association – hence the presence of nine executives or directors of Shell Petroleum scattered among different NGOs.

The Air and Waste Management Association sent three of its directors, Ms Michele Gehring, Mr Jack Broadbent, and Mr Jeffry Muffatt

The Bellona Foundation sent 24 delegates, including their President and Chairman of the Board. You haven’t heard of them, but they’re based in Oslo, employ 57 people, and are big in financing environmental projects. They say: “The Bellona Foundation is an independent non-profit organisation that aims to meet and fight the climate challenges, by identifying and implementing sustainable environmental solutions.” Well, so are we, so is Extinction Rebellion, so was the Una bomber, so is Prince Charles. so what makes you different?

“…the partners we aim to work with in our partnership programs are companies that are strategically placed in relation to (Norwegian) industries.”

R-i-g-h-t. So it’s all about fish. Or oil. Or fish oil. Or concreting over the fjords for hydropower, or some similar way of saving the planet.

Oh, two of their delegates are from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. That’s an American charity originally set up to fight Ebola, help war orphans and children in Africa infected with AIDS etc., which inexplicably started to syphon off some of its billions to fighting climate change. And now they’re in the Norwegian oil business.

The BHP Billiton SaskPower Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Knowledge Centre Inc. doing business as International CCS Knowledge Centre sent two delegates. Since solving the CCS problem would change the face of the world in an instant, it’s only right that they should send their top experts, namely their Vice President for Strategy & Stakeholder Relations and the Head of Communications & Media Relations.

The Brazilian Tree Industry sent two delegates. I bet they got a rapturous welcome.

The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation sent 20 delegates, including the two Mss Ng, Ms Regina Valdez of Scientistswarning.org and Ms Cynthia de Wolf of SharpMarketing. (Again the crossover between religion and science, with marketing thrown in as a bonus.)

Chant du Guépard dans le Désert (Song of the Leopard in the Desert) sent two delegates

Chatham House, 4 delegates. I always thought Chatham house was a gentlemen’s club for planning World War Three. Well, so it is. So it is.

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation sent 2 delegates (plus three others signed on with other NGOs)

Germanwatch sent 10 delegates. I’ve come across them before. They’re not as sinister as they sound, because they only watch other Germans. Not to be confused with Swisswatch.

Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute Ltd sent 7 delegates of whom two were from Shell

Renewable Energy representatives seemed few and far between. I spotted eight delegates from Wind Europe and just one from the World Wind Energy Association, representing Sahara Wind.

Feminist organisations were well represented, however. The Women’s Environment and Development Organisation Sent 51 delegates, while Rural Women Energy Security Ltd/Gte sent Mr Yayha Saleh Ibrahim, Research Coordinator, Mr. Muhammad Tanko, Board Member, Mr. Bassey Gabriel Udofia, Program Manager – oh, and Ms. Nafisat Alimi Abubakar, Head of Secretariat.

I’m not sure where to place the Mom Loves Taiwan Association (10 delegates)

The UK Youth Climate Coalition Limited is back in action I see, with nine delegates. I wrote a couple of articles about them ten years ago, tracing their post-activist careers as far as I could via LinkedIn etc. I might do it again. A Google search can be difficult in the case of e.g. Sarah Dobson, but it should be easy enough to follow the careers of Mr. Thiago Bopp Resnitzky and M. Matsipaya Bepkoti Beppakretjti Waura Txucarramãe. I bet he’s got a good strong password.

Among the tiddlers with a minor presence, suffice to mention the Libyan Wildlife Trust (6 delegates) the Met Office Hadley Center, 15 delegates (shame they can’t spell their own name right) and the University of East Anglia / Tyndall Centre, (six delegates.)

Now we come to the big boys:

Friends of the Earth International sent 55 delegates, Greenpeace 85, and the WWF 80 delegates. (Interestingly, some highly active activist organisation sent very few delegates. The Rockefeller Foundation sent one, and the Sierra Club just five.)

However, delegates from the Green Giants were far outnumbered by the 176 delegates from the International Chamber of Commerce, the 142 from the International Emissions Trading Association, and the 149 from the International Trade Union Confederation. No wonder they’re hopping mad about greenwashing. No matter how big they get, the employers’ organisations and the traders get bigger.

And almost as big is the organisation representing the Workers of the World. What? Didn’t trade unions go out with flat hats and warm beer? Aren’t they happy with the prospect of good jobs sticking plastic cladding on walls and solar panels on roofs? What are they doing coming overseeing our high level negotiations? Get back to your ferrets and backgammon.

Bet they won’t be coming to Glasgow though. They won’t be able to afford the hotels for a start.

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October 29, 2021 at 09:45AM

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