Call the climate FOMO. It has reached a critical mass moment, said an unauthorized British official to speak to the media.
Names like Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are envisioned. The UK royal family, led by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles will not miss it. More than 100 national leaders, including President Joe Biden, will attend, along with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, World Bank chief David Malpass and International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva. Pop singer Ellie Goulding will also be there.
For global multinational corporations, COP26 is a time for action and an opportunity for the brand. A group called Glasgow is Our Business, includes top executives from Amazon, McDonald’s, Mars, Starbucks, LinkedIn, Microsoft and United Airlines, and has begun issuing statements such as the future is watching.
Davos-style advertising campaigns promoting green corporate credentials are also set to appear in the coming weeks. A new United Airlines advertising campaign, which refers to its customers as well Sky Huggers based on airline claims that it uses more stable aviation fuel than any other airline is already appearing at airports.
But there is a problem: space for those actually traveling to COP26 is limited, especially given the limitations of Covid-19. There they are some private meeting rooms on the site of the Scottish campus Event, means that the symbols that provide access to politicians and diplomats are precious and rare.
The strategy of the COP26 organizers is to direct most of the VIP interest in public programming, but this is not going well with some executives. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, who has met twice with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in recent weeks, has not yet vowed to attend. JPMorgan, which is one of the world’s largest financiers of fossil fuels and also SIGNING in a new zero-net banking alliance, rejected a POLITICO request for comment.
Right now, we have top executives who do not know if they can travel to Glasgow, or if they should, because they do not know if they will get a permit, said Michael Liebreich, a clean energy expert who is trying pave the way for executives hosting VIP events outside the official conference venue.
Keeping the most famous climate faces out of the blue conference area brings its own challenges. The real nightmare scenario for the organizers is the safety of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist, said a Spanish official involved in organizing the previous COP conference, COP25, which took place in Madrid in 2019. Wherever she went, she was followed by hundreds of people. We tried to get her people to agree on an itinerary so we could protect her. They refused. The Thunbergs team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Green but still VIP
In addition to the official blue zone of the COP (for diplomats) and the green zone (for civil society and corporations), an informal platinum zone is developing around the conference, feeding on the Davos set that is not tempted by bars and kebabs within walking distance of scene.
Liebreich and others have created a side view of the United Nations talks, which, in their minds at least, is more important than what will happen within the walls of the conference center.
Large houses, scattered throughout the Scottish countryside, suddenly pop out, including the 800-year-old Craufurdland Castle property. Property managers for some properties declined to say who had rented the properties during COP26.
A castle on the outskirts of Glasgow has been rented by a consortium of National Grid, Octopus Energy, the US Atlantic Council and Liebreich Expert Group for a two-week program of discussions and dinners, many of which will have a sponsor payer. Liebreich, who would not reveal the location for fear of attracting the attention of activists, said it was a perfectly pleasant place for very serious people to gather.
The Liebreichs collection may be small, but the ambition is huge. He said he was aiming for some sort of Bretton Woods for Glasgow, but on a teenage, teenage scale with 40 people.
COP26 President Alok Sharma’s team, the British minister responsible for the talks, has been flooded with invitations to dinners and private receptions, but is rejecting them so he can focus on diplomatic negotiations.
The team behind Davos House, the most exclusive place of society after hours in the WEF will run a COP26 Goal House in a former steel factory, designed by Henry Royce, of Rolls-Royce fame. Organizers told POLITICO that they plan panel discussions along with an exclusive club space that includes bilateral meeting rooms for CEOs and celebrities who cannot capture them within the official venue.
The World Economic Forum, the organization that takes over Davos every January, is also coming down to Glasgow. We are starting our great First Movers Coalition with Secretary John Kerry. We have a full schedule of discussions and meetings co-designed with our partners and will also broadcast on our website, said WEF spokeswoman Madeleine Hillyer.
The green groups have u ankua that the British government logistical announcements were too focused on details like where private jets would land, rather than how delegates from the Pacific islands would actually arrive in Glasgow amid travel difficulties and prolonged quarantine. Unit COP26, which is paying for quarantine stays and running a vaccination program for delegates, opposes this.
But if you have not booked your accommodation in Glasgow: good luck.
Up to 30,000 people are expected to descend on the Glasgow subway area, though the city has less than 12,000 hotel rooms, and only about 2,335 short-term rental properties, according to Airdna, an accommodation data provider. This is driving Davos style prices for rooms.
One of the three-bedroom townhouses still on offer in central Glasgow will take you back $ 31,639 for 13 nights of COP26. A room in three stars Inn Merchant City is available for $ 14,360. The cheapest options that POLITICO found: a double bed in a six-bed women’s dormitory room with shared bathroom facilities at Tartan Lodge: $ 300 per nightwith
The COP surpasses the UN
The emotion around COP26 reflects more than the global elite wanting to reunite. It is a sign that climate change has gone beyond the international body the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, created just to defeat it.
The UN Climate Convention has met almost every year since 1995 and reached its coronation agreement in 2015 with the Paris Agreement. Since then, negotiators have continued to meet and fight over mysterious rules, while other actors, including city administrations and large companies, have put forward their detailed plans to reduce emissions.
The UN can do what the UN can do, Liebreich said. They can create stores that talk to everyone, it can create a moral framework and some pressure, but we clearly need different platforms.
Until the Paris Agreement, it was mainly left-wing governments that provided those platforms, but now there is a wider group of actors shaping climate action, including city administrations and large companies.
Sharan Burrow, secretary general of the International Trade Union Confederation, thinks this broader climate movement is needed, and largely a sign of progress. This time there are industry days committed to zero-net transition stock, Burrow said.
While wary of fossil fuel companies with a confusing or commonplace approach, she said the broader interest in COP conferences is a step forward from the decade of lobbying it took to get human rights and simply the passage of language in the UN climate statements, starting in Paris in 2015.
The risk of green washing by the big companies in COP26 is real, but with so many governments refusing to meet their commitments, climate change is left to work with what it can.
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