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Let’s hope COP26’s food is good. The planet’s fate depends on it


Let’s hope COP26’s food is good. The planet’s fate depends on it

Previous talks have run into all sorts of problems. Throw Covid-19 into the mix and the stakes this year are even higher

Jess Shankleman

If you thought figuring out the acceptable social rules for post-lockdown gatherings was a challenge, imagine trying to pull off a high-stakes climate summit with more than 100 world leaders. And no pressure, but any mistake could lower the chances of a planet-saving deal.

Even in a good year there’s an endless list of things that could go wrong at the annual UN-sponsored talks, known as COP26. Past hosts have come under fire for unhealthy food and insensitive artwork. Anything can set off a grumpy negotiator after an exhausting fortnight of poring over the minutiae of international law.

At Copenhagen in 2009, site of COP15, security problems led to lines that lasted for hours. China complained that one of its ministers was blocked from entering the conference three times during crucial talks. At the same summit, diplomats from island nations found their countries missing from a giant globe in the conference centre. The meeting ended without the global deal countries had been aiming for...

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