At some point over the next couple of months, Chief Sustainability Officers will be making decisions and recommendations about this year’s CoP in Azerbaijan at the end of the year.

My advice to them: spare yourselves the hassle.  Just don’t send anyone. And then tell the world why your company has decided to call time on the corrupt, preposterous pantomime that the entire CoP process has become.

Some considerations you might like to take into account:

  1. Learn from experience. CoP 28 in Dubai was a disaster. Nothing substantive was agreed (and, please, never confuse verbiage with substance), and the deeply malign influence of the oil and oil and gas industry was fully “out” for all to see.
  2. Baku will be worse than Dubai – as the capital of an even more corrupt, even more misogynistic, and more autocratic petrostate than the UEA.
  3. Think about it carefully: just by being there, your company will be conferring credibility on a process that has comprehensively squandered whatever credibility it might once have had.  “By your presence/absence shall your company be judged” – as it were!
  4. The notional benefits of being there for your own company will be marginal at best, and zero at worst, with a lot of performative blather masking the hydrocarbon horror story that lies behind.
  5. The “networking opportunities” that you’re no doubt factoring into your thoughts about this are just so many ephemeral blips on the road to climate meltdown.

So, do yourself (and your CEO and other Execs lining up for a bit of superficial CoP cred) a favour. You know that the gap between what the science tells us and the policy response to that science is getting wider, not narrower. You know CoP 29 will see that gap widen even further.

Be true to your privileged knowledge. Not many people understand how things really are as well as you do. Give the lie, once and for all, to the absurd proposition that any individual company – even one as “progressive ” and “responsible” as yours surely is – can make a blind bit of difference at this level as the politicians drive us ever closer to the abyss.

Looking forward to a lively debate with all you CSOs out there!