One of the most memorable images from last year’s Cop26 climate conference was provided by Simon Kofe, foreign minister of the island nation of Tuvalu.
Mr. Kofe delivered his address from a desk on the shoreline of an atoll in the south Pacific. His message to the world was simple. “We are sinking,” he said.
The reluctance of the developed world to engage with climate change is rendered more unpalatable by the fact that its burden falls disproportionately onto poorer nations. How are we to look Mr. Kofe in the eye, when we know that the energy policies of our governments may result in the erasure of his country from the map? This is one of those occasions when the limitations of democracy become all too apparent.
While we might not be inclined to take the blame for, say, the creation of new oilfields on the UK mainland, we can accept responsibility for our own homes. If we all manage to put 30cm of insulation in our lofts and retire our gas boilers, it will become a little easier to shake Mr. Kofe’s hand and to wish his compatriots good luck in the coming decades.
Cop27 is a perfect opportunity for action. Watch this space.