In just a few weeks, the UK will host the UN’s 26th Climate Change Conference, COP 26, in Glasgow. David Stroud describes the build-up to the conference and what we can expect from the event itself. The full editorial is available to read here.
Psychologists tell us that humanity evolved to focus on immediate threats – the sabre-toothed tiger lurking in a cave – rather than to ‘over the horizon’ challenges that will affect us only at some distant time in the future. That, at least, is the suggested justification for humanity’s failure to address seriously the problem of anthropogenic climate change over the last half-century, despite increasingly definitive evidence of the existential threat it poses. The frequency of extreme weather events in recent years, however, no longer allows lack of immediacy to be used as an excuse: from flooding and wildfire to sea-level rise, the consequences of climate change are apparent here and now and they are part of the lived experience of people across the world.