Inside this week | Two years after Cop15 – what have we learnt?

Two years ago in this very column I confessed that I lie to my children in an effort to be climate-friendly: “When my daughter leaves a tap running I tell her she’s flooded the downstairs neighbours, who just happen to be Bangladeshi.” These were the words of a man with hope in his heart, because when the climate summit was hosted in Copenhagen, it really felt like we were all involved and really part of something – like this could be it, and we were about to rewrite history.

Or maybe I should have paid more attention as I was too busy (we went daily during Cop15) trying to find events, shops and restaurants for these super important climate delegates to visit during their two weeks here. I didn’t even know it was an annual event. I thought the ‘Cop’ stood for Copenhagen.

If I’d known then what I know now – that these super important climate delegates get their jollies every year in some exotic location (even the local prostitutes were offering it up for free to them – click here for this week’s rather seedy Going Underground) and achieve absolutely nothing – I would have sent them on a wild goose chase. Something like a tour of the biker bars in Amager, a game of chicken on Gammel Kongvej, and a restaurant recommendation on the bottom of the Sound.

Since then Cops 16 and 17 have been two more damp squibs. Let’s face it: continuing financial crisis + fossil fuel dependence + emerging nations = no consensus for 50 years.
But does that mean that we all should give up, like the thousands in this country who feel justified about throwing everything away because it all gets burnt and the generated energy warms our houses. Because two years ago I wrote the following words (“I decided to hold a climate conference of our own, at home. True, we didn’t reach a household consensus, but once we do we’ll meet the neighbours, and then the next apartment building, address by block, street by district etc”) and what have I done?

Nothing! I haven’t had a conflict with a neighbour since 1985. I might recycle, but when am I going to start telling strangers they don’t need to wrap their vegetables in ten plastic bags. But somehow I’ve got to change, because willing the fight against climate change isn’t enough anymore.