COP26 was dismal, but Scotland has positives to build on

CEO Earth in Common ~ Evie Murray

My focus has always been on creating solutions outside of the halls of power, as people in official leadership roles with decision-making power often seem stuck in the vicious system. Consequently, I didn't set out with any great faith that the COP26 talks would deliver much good, and there was certainly not enough, considering the scale of the crisis.

Some leaders do make a difference

However, some official leaders can and do make a difference. For example, it was heartening to see language like 'reparation' being used by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. She is quoted as saying:

‘Sparked by The Scottish Government's #COP26 commitment to £2m for climate change loss and damage, a group of philanthropy organisations [has] pledged already a further $3m if negotiators agree a new Glasgow Loss and Damage Facility.

‘The ball [is] now firmly in [the] court of #COP26 negotiators to get this facility agreed and for more countries to start pledging funds to help developing nations deal with the damage climate change, caused by the industrialised world […] – it is reparation, not charity.’

‘I’m proud that [the] leadership the Scottish Government gave this week, in being [the] first country to pledge funds for loss and damage, has seen our £2m become almost £5m already, and put loss and damage firmly on [the] agenda. Whatever else happens, that’s one positive outcome from Glasgow.’

Keep on keeping on!

Keep organising

It was great to see Vicky Allan pick this up in her article about what could be unleashed in Scotland as a result of hosting COP26 (and thanks for the mention, Vicky!) So much in this article encourages us to not give up hope but to keep organising and keep creating!

Fiona Hyslop: listening to the Global South

We'd obviously go further, and remark that our work on #RestorativeClimateJustice, the concept we have been proposing (as defined here: is about supporting Indigenous peoples to revive, restore and maintain their knowledge and wisdom as brilliant custodians of the earth we all have in common, for ALL OUR SAKES. It's about respecting and learning from them, really listening – and listening to the Global South was a central theme of Fiona Hyslop’s forceful speech (Ms Hyslop was until recently the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture) on her motion S6M-01490 (re the publication of the conclusions of the Glasgow Climate Dialogues), in which she said:

‘We must act now, we must act decisively, and we must act in partnership with the Global South... We are one world, with one chance... Listen, and understand the words of those in the Global South.’

We are thrilled to see Ms Sturgeon and Ms Hyslop speak with such conviction on these issues and hold high hopes that other countries will take a lead from their words.

Nicola Sturgeon

Meaningful contrition

Our First Minister's language indicates that she clearly recognises that giving money to the poorer countries which are (so far) the main victims of climate meltdown should not simply be a way to appease our guilt, but that it should be an act of meaningful contrition, and that wealthier countries, corporations and individuals should truly attempt to make amends for the harm they have caused. I would like to believe that she would also happily add, if asked, ‘…and for what they have plundered and continue to siphon away’