Fiddling while Australia burns

Chatham House team calls for more ambitious action from COP26.

The World Today Published 12 February 2020 Updated 28 September 2020 3 minute READ

Since September 2019, hundreds of bush­fires have scorched a huge swath across Australia, driven by a long drought, intense summer temperatures and vicious winds. They have destroyed an estimated 41,000 square miles of forest, an area larger than Scotland and Wales combined. It is the sort of apocalyptic scene that brings to mind some of the more extreme predictions of climate change.

As the fires burnt, 27,000 delegates gath­ered in Madrid in December for the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The conference yielded few tan­gible outcomes. On the contrary, it high­lighted the gap between the action needed to combat climate change and the inability of the international community to take it.

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