I feel the obvious need to pen something about COP but really, there's little point to attempting anything analytic. The outright contradictions are so many and so stark, it's just rats in a barrel. If, that is, the rats can actually get to Glasgow with all the transport problems, lack of accommodation, Covid rules, etc etc etc. As Lil said BTL a few days ago, what can go wrong?
It's all a curious mash-up between virtue-signalling and outright desperation. The Chinese and Russian no-show (OK, their sherpas will be there but we all get the Big Message) means it'll be null anyhow. And with the 'leaders' departing after Tuesday of this week, the format is clear: Big Empty Statements up front, followed by days of detailed and ultimately fruitless wrangling. At least in Paris '15 (COP21) it was the other way around so that (in theory) the 'leaders' could knock heads together at the end and contrive a 'breakthrough' (on paper).
Transitioning, therefore, to a vaguely pertinent business story on the matter of 'leaders' doing 'deals' that must then be transacted by their hapless underlings. We were a big player in the North Sea (oil & gas) and one day Pete the commercial director convened a small team: an excellent lawyer, a licensing specialist, an analyst and myself (negotiator). Joe, our fairly dynamic Chairman (American, relatively new in the job, not strong on details) had lunched with his opposite number in another North Sea player (not at all new in the job, ought to have known better) and on their napkins they'd agreed a massive asset swap. "All we had to do" was draw up the contracts. So, Pete, what is the deal? He suppressed all hint of sarcasm and faithfully recounted what had been agreed: a mishmash of part-shares of producing assets, undeveloped discoveries, exploration acreage both prospective and fallow.
Stunned silence. It was obvious to everyone in the room that the 'deal' couldn't be done: for one thing, it would breach our licence terms (itself an absolute killer) and for another, we'd need the approval of various joint venture partners, some of whom had pre-emption rights ... Ladies and gents, we just have to get on with it.
Mercifully, we knew our working-level opposite numbers well, and of course they were in exactly the same bind. With near 100% good will & cooperation, about two months later we came up with something that satisfied honour: the nearest approximation to the napkin-deal we could jointly muster. In the meantime, I'd even taken up smoking again. (To be fair, Joe - there you go, I knew it could be done! - and Pete were deeply appreciative of our efforts.)
The differences between that set-up and COP are pretty clear. Yup, a total lack of good will and cooperation! Not much COP, then (sorry!). Good luck to those sherpas ...
Your related business stories BTL, if you fancy.