Comment by BVAA CEO Rob Bartlett

COP26

Don’t ‘cop out’

As I may have mentioned before, I’m not a fan of jumping on any bandwagon, but occasionally I do feel prompted to comment on topical issues. Since it’s all over the news in every conceivable outlet, it’s pretty difficult to ignore COP26 this week in Glasgow.

But where to start? The crass hypocrisy of President Biden sending the best part of 85 vehicles across the globe to form his motorcade in Rome – a gem of a city already suffering terribly from pollution? Or perhaps the many hundreds of aeroplanes required to get people from 100+ countries to Glasgow – have they not heard of the internet?

Or perhaps I should comment on the ‘wisdom’ in getting the world’s leaders together for the G20 in Italy, then de-camping the entirety to Glasgow immediately afterwards, with all the cost (cash and environmental) duplicated?  I know eyebrows would have been raised at BVAA if I had not considered putting two consecutive events on in the same place, to save such wanton waste. 

Or perhaps I could start with the world’s richest chap ‘helicopetering’ 30 friends out to a $2m-a-week private yatch the other side of the planet, while continuing to hector everyone else on avoiding a climate disaster. Is that ‘ok’ just because he’s well known and people might listen up?

I don’t think it is.

Good leadership has many facets but leading by example is probably one of the most fundamental ones imaginable.  It’s time it was exercised more.

This morning on BBC radio, there was a report on BP’s latest profits. More importantly, there was a commentator on that - a Nick Butler – who eloquently explained how investment in new energy technologies was very dependent on the money and expertise that companies like BP could bring to bear.  Somewhat uncharacteristically for the BBC, the reporter chose to ask sensible follow-up questions, and a really informative interview ensued.

As for ourselves, time and again articles are featured in this magazine demonstrating how customers can eliminate fugitive emissions, and how site surveys identify valves that are costing the operators considerable sums in lost energy and damage.  They also show how relatively easy it can be to fix the issues. The savings – again in cash and to the environment – can more than pay for themselves.

However, I fear it’s the cash that still makes the most attractive proposition. Such a missed opportunity. For all our sakes, let’s hope COP26 isn’t the same.


Published: 2nd November 2021

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