It’s an old saw. Every time we approach a major international summit, somebody talks about how we’re “at a crossroads.” As idioms go, this one is old and tired but—as we approach COP27—it feels more apt than usual. We aren’t just at one crossroads but oh, so very many.
At times like this, it’s hard to prioritize what to concentrate on. So many of our democracies are already dealing with considerable internal turmoil. Then there’s open conflict in Europe that threatens to turn into more. There are several other smaller-scale conflicts around the world that deserve more attention than they’re getting. Inflation is out of control. Supply chains are still fragmented by the fallout of COVID-19, which itself is still hanging around.
There’s also the little matter of a climate crisis which isn’t just looming, it’s arrived. It will only get worse.
For much of the world, the climate crisis is largely invisible or its impacts seemingly attributable to other things. Little wonder, then, that political will to make painful changes is so lacking. By and large, we have a pretty good idea of the kinds of things we need to be doing to fight climate change and its worse impacts—but doing the things is expensive, painful, and threatens to be very inequitable in its disruptions (much like the climate crisis itself.)
COP26 got a lot of hype. It was our unique opportunity as we came out of the pandemic to recover sustainably and equitably, building in tenets of sustainability as we did so. The outcomes were, for many, disappointing, and over the months that followed we all got distracted.
Now COP27 is here, and it’s our opportunity to refocus. All of those other cross roads remain important, but the climate crisis is fundamentally different. Climate change is long-term, it builds momentum as we delay taking it seriously, and its threat is existential. The climate crisis is different in another way as well. Unlike most of the other crises we could name, this one isn’t about one state versus another, nor is it about governments looking inward to make their economies more resilient against global shocks.
Combating climate change is about collaboration. There should be hope in that.
This bookazine, Diplomatic Courier’s second annual COP edition, was produced in the spirit of that hope. We’ve curated content carefully, including some of the best articles we’ve published over the year on the climate crisis along with new, original content created with this theme in mind. Our topics are diverse—from geopolitics to agriculture, from mitigation to proactive policy to communications strategies. Yet each piece resonates with one theme that at Diplomatic Courier we hope everybody has at the top of their mind this month and going forward; the climate crisis is unique in its magnitude and long-term immediacy, but if we can embrace a spirit of equitable collaboration we know how to build a future where we thrive.