So that's Week 1 of COP26: can we sum up where things stand? (BTW, since I'm about to take the whole Glasgow thing at face value, I invite several of our esteemed BTL crew to switch off now, if they've even got beyond clicking past the very headline itself ...)
Actually, summarising has proved very difficult for the meejah - particularly the Graun and their like. I think we may safely skip "gender" day and "youth" day, if we're taking things seriously. Obviously with the Big Shots (less HMQ & Xi & Putin) only in town Mon-Tues of last week, it was always going to be the showy announcements up front, followed by the long nights of grinding spade-work in arrears. Thus, much of the commentary has been "the devil is in the detail" - pretty lame, but basically true. However, at face value the announcements on coal, methane, deforestation, finance and the like represent genuine steers for business and capital alike. We still have carbon trading to come.
(By the way, as I've been saying here for 2 years, for business purposes there is Absolutely No Point in saying it's all a waste of time. As well say in 1941, we really shouldn't have declared war, it's all getting very costly. Nope: it's quite simply the only game in town. So, face value it is.)
The poor old Graun is left floundering, wanting desperately to say both (a) this is really important Last Chance Saloon stuff & deserves our best efforts & goodwill; but also (b) Boris is a big embarrassment and it's all going badly tits-up. So easy to snipe; but they have to stay optimistic.
So what are we to make of all these declarations with differing lists of signatories each time? Pragmatism, I'd say. Naming and shaming. Putting China on the spot - and India, and Australia - since they are the big absentees from most of the declarations. (Nobody, I think, expects anything of Putin anyhow.) We know that the CPC refuses to acknowledge any higher authority than itself, so they are never going to bind themselves anyway.
OK, so the CPC will always put continued economic growth ahead of anything (expect Taiwan). But they do have a range of foreign policy goals in play, which includes building a voting-bloc of developing nations that can reliably be leaned on to stay with China's line on, well, on anything they dictate. (In return for hard cash, of course.) The Graun's feeble if lengthy effort to write up Week 1 contains this interesting throwaway line:
Joe Biden used his final words to take a swipe at China. The Chinese delegation seemed less perturbed, having its own issues with marshalling smaller developing countries, which are concerned that the 1.5C goal is slipping out of reach.
That's the most interesting thing I've seen written down** over the past 10 days. There's the germ of something big in that. More popcorn for Week 2, please.
**And it's by Fiona Harvey, for whom I have low regard