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Will COP 27 Deliver?

Another year, another Convention of the Parties coming together to fight climate change. But will COP 27 deliver?


It seems unlikely. As the Economist special report about COP 27 and climate change shared, it seems almost certain that the target of restricting warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade will be missed and therefore the world will need to think much more about adaption than mitigation.


So, as the image below, suggests, it seems likely to just be a lot of hot air (the pun is intended…).

Why do these large meetings produce such disappointing results?


Partly, it’s because anything designed by committee tends to be riddled with problems. A whole host of different, often competing, interests need to be negotiated, producing imperfect compromises.


And with climate change, you have the free-rider problem; countries don’t want to spend a lot of money reducing their emissions if other countries won’t follow suit, and without an effective international enforcement capability, it is nigh on impossible to compel countries into action.


Einstein famously stated that insanity was doing the same thing and expecting different results, and it certainly seems the international community is insane by that definition.


What is needed is new thinking.


We’ve started some work in this area, developing a climate change version of our conservation game app, which you can play for free by visiting our Climate Crisis game website.


We use the game to get discussion going about the issue, and then encourage group participants to come up with new solutions to address climate change.


Firstly, to come up with bad ideas – what are the worst things the world could do? That might sound a strange question to ask, but it’s designed to start the session in a fun way and encourage people to contribute – there’s no fear of sharing bad or stupid ideas when that’s the whole point of the exercise!


We then look at policies and equipment that is likely to be useful or obsolete in the future, seeking possible new ideas in the process, and finishing off with appeals for ‘Moonshots’ and blue-sky thinking, big ideas that may seem improbable or even impossible, but which would deliver a major effect.


Interestingly, many of the best ideas come out of the bad ideas brainstorm. Not the bad ideas themselves, mind you!


But those bad ideas often spark interesting discussions, or point towards the solutions needed; how do we stop those bad ideas coming into being, or what is the opposite of the bad idea, for example?