We almost know for a fact that Cop26 will fail.

Why? Because there is a terrible silent lie being propagated by the British government and the United Nations: they know we have to ban all new fossil fuel investments as a crucial step to have any hope of staying below a 1.5C rise in temperatures – yet the three key players setting the agenda have refused to table a ban at the conference.

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General; Alok Sharma, UK appointed President of Cop26 and Mark Carney, the UN Special Envoy on climate finance; have all been challenged on their failure to table the ban.

Guterres, in his response to August’s chilling IPCC report on the now unfolding lethal climate impacts of rising carbon emissions, rightly said: “Countries should end all new fossil fuel exploration and production” but gave only a date of the end of 2021 for ending new coal investments. “There must be no new coal plants built after 2021,” he wrote.

At a subsequent UN briefing, I asked if they would table a ban on all new fossil fuel investments at Cop26. A highly-placed UN official literally laughed at the idea – and proceeded to disparage the IEA report. All he seemed to want to talk about was the late delivery in developing world climate finance. While this is important, it will not stop global emissions posing an existential threat to the global south.

I then submitted a media inquiry to the Secretary General’s press office. For weeks, they kindly tried to get an…

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