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Break up or breakthrough?

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19.26

Should we be holding our breath for this morning's briefing from Alok Sharma, concerning the progress of COP 26? The trouble with the whole show is that it involves the wrong people. Alarm bells were rung early in the proceedings when it was discovered that the largest single delegation was from the fossil fuel industry. Great, if they were there to find out what they needed to do, but that seems unlikely. They, along with senior politicians and negotiators from the countries to which they belong (not necessarily those in which they do their business) amount to a mountain of vested interest. The whole show resembles a huge collective of turkeys being asked to plan the mother of all Christmases!

So who should be around the table? For the range and depth of progress necessary to confront the challenge of climate change and reverse the catastrophic damage human beings are inflicting on our home planet, surely representatives of those nations who are least responsible and most affected, together with climate scientists who understanding what is happening, what needs to be done and how to go about it. Even then, we could expect some sharp conflicts of opinion and a good deal of robust debate, which is why the process would benefit from those with the humility, wisdom and faith to recognise that we human beings cannot solve everything on our own. We need to be challenged to think outside of ourselves. For as long as we have be around, homo sapiens has felt what some refer to as an "instinct to worship" - sometimes it is rejected, often it is embraced.

A gathering which is driven by those who are most acutely aware of the urgency and character of the situation supported and, where appropriate, provoked by those whose accountability is divinely oriented, rather than nationally or politically motivated, would be more likely to produce a credible "road-map" out of our predicament. Cynics might appreciate the military dictum that "no plan survives contact with the enemy" which, in this case, constitutes the political and industrial leaders who would be responsible for putting what had been agreed into action. But at least we would all know what was required, rather than being patronised with a flurry of false hopes and inadequate promises, leaving us no better off and getting us no further forward.



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