The much unawaited 28th Conference of the Parties kicks off in just one day. And what a party it will be. There were “only” 10,000 participants at COP3 in 1997 which yielded the famous Kyoto Protocol. The number rose to nearly 30,000 at COP21, which at least yielded the Paris Agreement. This time there will be an astounding 70,000 in attendance, with no expected outcome at all other than a plan to meet again next year. So we’ll ask: What conceivable results would justify holding the conference, let alone flying in that many people to gabble and gobble? What would constitute success, and if you fall as far short as we expect, why do it again next year? Is it like some college prank where you see how many spoiled elitists you can cram into a conference booth?
There are apparently over 200 countries in the world so it works out to about 350 people per country. And possibly all their leaders believe, like Canada’s PM, that they have absolutely vital and original thoughts on every conceivable topic, insights that require them to duck the messy pile of paper in their inboxes and whoosh off to pat one another on the back trailing vast obsequious entourages.
Thus in addition to recently pledging to “redouble our efforts” toward a lasting Mideast peace, as if Canada had the slightest impact on that utterly stalled process or he had even the faintest glimmer of an insight as to how to make a two-state solution palatable to one side, Justin Trudeau just spent two days away from his desk and from the nation’s capital at something called the “Canada-European Union Summit 2023” at which:
“The agenda for today’s Canada-EU Summit was packed – @CharlesMichel, @vonderLeyen, and I spoke about building clean economies, fighting climate change, creating good jobs, and so much more. We wrapped up knowing this: We’ll continue to work together for Canadians and Europeans.”
It’s better than attacking one another for the inhabitants of Mozambique, we suppose. But otherwise it’s just windy drivel in amazing amounts. Indeed one wonders how many staffers were needed to draft statements that declared the participants were oh so pleased with themselves and one another, boasting that “Our common values and principles are why we are positioned to grow circular, nature positive and climate-neutral economies across Canada and Europe that are competitive, inclusive and provide equal opportunities for all, and why we are able to work together to fight the triple crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.” And if you enjoyed that word salad, read on: “The establishment of a Green Alliance will deepen our already close cooperation on climate action and shared work to grow sustainable, competitive economies with good jobs.”
The final joint statement ran to 43 paragraphs that inexplicably did not include the eradication of the heartbreak of psoriasis but did include a ringing cry that “We will continue our close cooperation on the Kiwa Initiative” which if you haven’t heard of it concerns (drum roll please) “climate change resilience”. So why go to Dubai? Well, all the beautiful people will be there and, with these kinds of numbers, a lot of the merely tolerable too.
Oh wait. They’re already there. COP28 starts on Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 12, including the “Summit” or “WCAS” to insiders on Dec. 1 and 2 “when the first part of the high-level segment for Heads of State or Government will also take place” and then:
“The resumed high-level segment of COP 28/CMP 18/CMA 5 will be held from 9 to 10 December to hear national statements from those Parties whose Head of State or Government did not deliver a national statement on 1 or 2 December, and representatives of groups who have registered and confirmed their wish to deliver a statement.”
But “Pre-sessionals will take place from 24 to 29 November.” So even this meeting has a pre-meeting. Do none of these people have real jobs?
Anyway, with 13 days and 70,000 attendees, we calculate there’s time for each participant to speak for 16 seconds assuming things run non-stop. Unless they’re just there to party.
P.S. Remarkably, as of Nov. 24 the official website complete with tension-relieving countdown clock promised that “Schedule of the events during the Summit will be published soon.” They can’t even get the agenda sorted out in an entire year of crucial pre-meetings. But they can fix the weather. Riiight.