Telling the truth at COP26
In the afternoon, on Monday 8th a friend mentioned that that a friend of hers was up from England and was with Extinction Rebellion down by the Clyde so a group of us headed across town to find her. We found her across the King George V bridge on the south of the Clyde along with bunch of Extinction Rebellion folk, Scientist Rebellion speakers dressed in white lab coats, police in high viz vests and a scrum of press with long lenses all squeezed into the tiny space left next to the river which had not been fenced off by metal barriers. Across the grey windswept water of the Clyde the official COP programme was in full swing.
Sometimes you need to be reminded of things you already know. One of the speakers was talking about how the IPCC draft report which we all read with horror back in July had been leaked by scientists. The official one, which will have been commented on and reviewed, is due next year. But in the meantime he said, scientists had leaked the draft because amongst those submitting comments are all kinds of fossil fuel lobbyists, corporations and others whose aim is to water it down to a pale shadow of itself. When we get the official version he said, it will be interesting to see what changes have been made.
Afterwards, when I got back home, I went back to the press reports on this and saw that the IPPC had put out an official statement saying that that the final report will be based solely on scientific evidence. But my question then is, ‘Why then are those with vested interests in destroying the planet even invited to comment?’ What about young climate activists? Why does nobody ask for their comments?
I already knew this about the IPCC but it was good to be reminded about it. Tell the truth is the first Extinction Rebellion demand and it is a good one. It seems we are never allowed to have the truth unadulterated. Instead, unless we call it out, money rewrites it until it becomes an anodyne shadow.
The Scientists Rebellion guy also talked about fact that 21 of them had been arrested the previous day for a protest action on King George V bridge, highlighting the failure of COP to agree the urgent action needed to keep us from climate catastrophe. He said as far as they know that was the first ever mass arrest of members of the scientific community. He said it had been a long time coming and it should have been sooner, but now they would no longer remain silent. We all applauded those folks and then the press got us to stand about holding up a bunch of banners. The press must have been disappointed as I’m guessing that they were there on mass hoping for further direct action. Standing around listening to someone telling the truth probably wasn’t what most of them had in mind. Afterwards we headed back over the Clyde again.
I am an artist, activist and author. My artwork is often inspired by, or forms part of activism I am involved in. Recently, I have been talking about the links between environmental and social justice, to call attention the ecological and political crisis we face and talk about some solutions to it.