Environment

Jeremy Corbyn hits out at COP26 'greenwashing'

Jeremy Corbyn said COP26 has seen too much “chat” and not enough concrete commitments, as the climate conference enters its second week.

Jeremy Corbyn at COP26

Jeremy Corbyn in Glasgow for COP26. Photo: Laura Kelly

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has told The Big Issue there is too much greenwashing and “chat” at COP26, and not enough action.

“I’m concerned that there’s an awful lot of greenwash. There’s an awful lot of chat going on, there seems to be very few concrete agreements that have been reached so far. That worries me,” he said.

Corbyn arrived in Glasgow on Monday for the Alternative COP26, a climate conference hosted by the Peace and Justice Project in Glasgow and online.

Held at Websters Theatre in Glasgow’s west end, the four-day conference brings together trade unions and campaigners “to ensure that the voices of workers and under-represented groups are recognised” at global climate talks.

“It worries me that some of the sticking points are on fossil fuel, but also on transfer of technology, and of payments to the poorest countries in the world to cope with the environmental disasters they face,” Corbyn continued.

“I’m thinking here in terms of Pacific islands, I’m thinking Bangladesh, I’m thinking the Caribbean. All those suffering seriously from rising sea levels and unusual weather patterns. They need support.”

Corbyn also criticised politicians for the gap between their aspirations at COP26 and their travel arrangements.

“I think the excessive use of private planes, of underfilled big planes and President Biden and his 40 car motorcade, it’s pretty absurd when you’re here to talk about climate change and talk about air pollution,” he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already faced criticism for flying out of Glasgow on a private plane for a private dinner with his friend, known climate change sceptic and former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore.

COP26, the 2021 United Nations climate change conference, is now in its second week. The talks finish on Friday, when any agreements are expected to be announced.

Glasgow has hosted representatives of 196 countries at the official talks, while the city has thronged with protesters, activists and celebrity visitors, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Emma Watson.

Corbyn said everyone would be needed in the fight against the climate crisis.

“I want to be here to meet trade unions to meet voluntary organisations and meet many other people from other parts of the world,” he said. “So that we’re all better informed, because it is solidarity around the world that’s going to bring change.”

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